Deutschland and beyond

Living in Germany

When in Rome…

I’m starting this tendency to update after I’ve left the city I’m describing, but it works. (For curious minds, Becky and I are now in Barcelona.) Rome was absolutely amazing. I feel I’ve said this about every city, but each place is different and amazing in its own way. Florence was much more a cultural and artistic city. Rome was definitely a modern city, judging by all the government buildings we passed lined with Alfa Romeos, but it has remnants of strong culture all throughout it. I cannot even begin to list what we saw; I think we actually saw everything. Rome wasn’t built in a day but we came pretty darn close to seeing the entire thing in one day.

We arrived Tuesday to rainy weather (our first bad weather day!) but actually welcomed it with open arms since we were actually exhausted from traveling and hadn’t really rested. Wednesday we were ready to go. Our hostel was by the train station, on the very east side of the city. We walked north, got lost a lot, but saw tons of interesting things in the process. Fountains, government buildings, and piazzas were everywhere. Yet again proving my inadvertent taste for expensive things, my favorite part of the city was the Villa de Medici. It is at the top of the Spanish steps, near the Trevi Fountain, with an incredible view of the entire city and absolutely gorgeous, complete with gardens to walk through. Directly below it is the Piazza del Popolo which was another one of my favorite places. We made our way over the river to the Vatican and stayed for Ash Wednesday mass in St. Peter’s Basilica. Countless cardinals, bishops, and priests were there for a packed audience. We also walked through the graves of the Popes, and it caught me off guard that Pope John Paul II was down there. That was definitely a surprisingly emotional moment. On our way out of the Vatican, walking along the river, Becky and I (along with four other girls) were held up at a crosswalk for no less than twelve minutes. Our frustration was building as to why we couldn’t cross the street since he was ushering in all the traffic from across the bridge. We soon heard police sirens and it dawned on me that the Pope was coming back from the service he had conducted in Rome for Ash Wednesday. Seconds later, police cars fly by along with a black car sporting yellow flags with a red symbol and Pope Benedict himself was in the backseat!!! Becky and I stood there, jaws to the ground, then squealing with excitement. I know I’ll definitely never forget that Ash Wednesday.

We continued to walk around and see more of history including the Colosseum at night, which was astounding. Thursday, we backtracked to a few places we had missed and couldn’t afford to- specifically St. Ignatius of Loyola’s church (being Jesuit students, we’d never get away with that) and the Church of the Gesu (Jesuits) where Ignatius and Pedro Arrupe are buried. We also returned all the way to the Vatican to walk through the museum- where everything is super detailed- and see the Sistine Chapel. I cannot even begin to describe Rafael’s frescos or Michelangelo’s seemingly impossible work inside there- it’s something everyone should see for themselves. You would think it was painted no less than ten years ago, based on how bright the colors are. We met up with our friend Kari, from BC (and Barrington, IL!) in front of the Pantheon for dinner and gelato after (still unbelievable). Finally, today after checking out of our hostel, going to a market, and buying delicious dried fruit, we flew to Barcelona. Our hostel here is really nice and we can even do laundry! Nightlife doesn’t start until after midnight here and goes until 6 or 7 am. We’re actually staying in tonight in order to get an early start tomorrow since that’s our only full day here. It’s much bigger than Rome, where we walked literally everywhere, so we’re hoping to get a one-day Metro pass and see as much as possible.

Sorry for the lack of pictures now, I definitely have lots to share. But the wireless costs money and is pretty slow in terms of uploading so I’ll post them later!

Oh and I’ve also put a link to my friend Chris Izant’s blog. He’s studying in Jordan this semester so if you’re bored or interested in that at all, see the right hand side and read away!


February 28, 2009 - Posted by | Travel


  1. Hey CC,

    Love your blog! Aunt Reeny and I were in Barcelona about a year and a half ago. Brings back great memories. We also visited the Vatican and I still can’t imagine how wonderful it was for you to be there on Ash Wednesday. Sounds like you’re having a great time. Keep safe and enjoy! Miss you!

    Comment by Aunt Tee Tee | February 28, 2009

  2. Col, WOW! Your details of each place you have visited are very descriptive and make it easy to picture them in my mind. Sounds like you are having a WONDERFUL time. You did catch me off guard with your beverage of choice…..Red Wine? How fun it will be to compare when you get back. Thanks for all the updates, it let’s me know your safe. I know you’ll continue having great times as you continue your journeys. Say “hi” to Becky. We’ll “skype” soon:)

    Comment by Mom | March 1, 2009

  3. Colleen,

    Nice blog, great pictures! I like it! Just trying out your blob posting. I sent an email earlier. Ciao!

    Comment by Dr. C | March 4, 2009

  4. Enjoying your blog immensely (and Becky’s contribution as well). Very interesting. When you arrive back in Munich I trust treatment for cirrhosis of the liver will be available to students!! Love You.

    Comment by Omi | March 7, 2009

  5. Hi Coll,

    You’ve got to love Omi’s sense of humor. Have you checked out the inside of a jail cell yet? Sounds like you are having quite a few unique experiences. Can’t wait to see all those wonderful pictures. Be good and take care of yourself. I should of warned you about the little thieves. Aunt Reeny had an incident also. Keep your valuables close at hand. Love Ya, Aunt Tee Tee

    Comment by Aunt Tee Tee | March 7, 2009

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