mardi 13 mai 2008

Roma: Day 10. Our last day.

Roma: Day 10

Sunday. Our last day in Roma. The Vatican is free on the last Sunday of the month too. We were really lucky. We got there pretty early, but found the line to be really long. We couldn't even see where the entrance was. We were stopped by another tour guide guy. He wanted each of us to pay 20 euros for a guided tour, and we'd get to go to the front of the line. The bargaining went down something like this:

Vendor for Vatican tour: 60 euros for the tour. That's 20 each.
Lucia. 50 euros.
Vendor: 40 euros. I'll be right back. (He goes to talk to a couple who is interested in the tour.)
Lucia: Did he just say 40?
Me: I think I heard 15. Maybe he thought 15 each?
Lucia: LET'S TAKE THIS! (Vendor comes back.)
Vendor: 40 euros and she's (pointing to me) free.
Me: YES!

So I got in "free" again, but of course I reimbursed Keisha and Lucia. I love how I get the "free". I think it's because I'm like a child, very short.

Got to the front of our line. Our guide was an archaeological student from Serbia. I thought he was Italian because he spoke Italian well when he was trying to persuade the guards to let us pass through the short cut to the Sistine chapel (I semi-understand Italian with my French and Spanish background. Woot!). He was really, super cute and smart. He was very funny as well. He wasn't like those other tour guides that drone on and on. He'd ask us questions about stuff, and what we thought about a certain tapestry or sculpture. He was amazing. Me and Lucia shadowed him closely, haha. At one point, he grabbed my arm and pulled me towards him to let a group of Germans pass by in a crowded hallway. It was lovely.We finally arrived at the Sistine chapel. It was super crowded, but we got hear a lot about parts of the fresco. When he ended the tour, he said we could ask him any questions, so Lucia asked him for his recommendations about Florence, our next city. He used my fountain pen and wrote down what we should see in Lucia's notebook. He said lastly, "In Florence, don't be afraid to get lost."After the Vatican, we went to St. Peter's Basilica, and then the Pantheon which was pretty cool. Then after that Bocca della Verita, or the Mouth of Truth. I really wanted to go there because of Roman Holiday. There, Andrea picked us up. He took us to this orange grove that had an amazing view of the city, and then, he parked in this empty lot, and said, pointing to a wooden door across the street, "Look in that keyhole. There is a little surprise!"

We had no idea what he meant, so we got out of the car and looked into the keyhole of the massive door. Framed perfectly through that keyhole was a tree lined path and the dome of St. Peter's right in the middle. It was magical. After we all got a peek, we looked at each other, speechless. We then turned towards the car, and Andrea was standing there, smiling. He's so full of little surprises.He then took us to the train station to get our tickets to Pisa the next day. I love how they have this schedule of trains always running to cities and that we didn't have to plan too much ahead. A ticket to Pisa was 17 euros. Afterwards, we got dinner.

He took us to this amazing meat place. We got fillets, sausages, a hunk of grilled meat, potatoes, bread, and this plate of hot cheese to share. All of it was really good. Then we got gelato down the street. We went home to rest up early since our train leaves 7 in the morning the next day, but it was a perfect end to our Roman holiday.I don't think I can thank Keisha enough for making all this possible. Without her and her connections, Sicilia would probably be too crazy and Rome too expensive. We really saved by staying with her friends. And our hosts were awesome. Adriano and his family treated us like, well, family, and Andrea was so fun and spontaneous. He'd lead us around the city at night and we'd end up at Fontana di Trevi or the Spanish Steps. And he wouldn't even tell us that we were going there. And he didn't coddle us. He didn't tell us how the metro worked or how to get to his house. I think he wanted us to be independent, for us to figure stuff out for ourselves. And it's nice, you know? He's definitely not like any other guy I've ever met. He wouldn't rave about how amazing something was or bring our hopes up. He'd say something was "good", and we'd find that it was actually amazing.

He's very...European. I like that. Anyway, more on this later, I have a post coming up dedicated to, you guessed it, European boys.