Jan 29-Feb2 2014—Emma travels Italy!

Well, in my last post I talked about my itinerary a little for the trip, and pretty much everything went as planned.  We had a lot of luck finding everything and getting everywhere really well.  I took a ton of pictures!!! I loved my time in Italy, I definitely want to go back some day and spend more time there.  I do feel, however, that I did get to see a lot for the short amount of time that I had.

Ok, so putting them in actual order is a lot of effort, so I will do them by days and try to explain it as I go.  When we first got to Rome, we found our hostel right away and then went out to eat at a pizzeria/pasta restaurant near our hostel.  It was pretty good!! So, the following are the pictures from the first day in Rome, last Thursday.

Trevi Fountain


 Mini umbrellas over each seat at a restaurant 🙂



 Tossing a coin into Trevi Fountain.









 Pantheon–A roman structure of some sort..



 The Spanish Steps.


 View from the top of the Spanish Steps at the church.










 This is the restaurant we ate at right when we got there.  The food was amazing!! The waiters came up to us after our meal and asked if they could have pictures of us…..so we said why not?  They took us back behind the bar and got pictures of us with the workers/owners…I’ll try to find a copy to post.  It was pretty funny.

















 More of the Pantheon.














So…that was day one.  Basically we just got settled and did some wandering around the city and stumbled across many of the sights, many churches, monuments, water fountains, etc.  It was a really nice evening!!


The next day we got up early and headed to Naples and Pompeii.  We signed up for a day long excursion that picked us up right from our hostel bright and early.  It was down pouring in Rome so we were very happy to leave for the day.  Again, sorry but some of the pictures are out of order.  Bear with me.

So, this is in Pompeii, in front of where the gladiators would fight and train.

 This is the lookout in Naples that we stopped at.  Mt. Vesuvius is in the background, the volcano that destroyed the city of Pompeii in 79 AD.  A few interesting details about the destruction.  17 years before the eruption, Pompeii was actually hit with a really bad earthquake (on Feb 5th the day before my bday..), and a lot of the wreckage is from that and not the volcano.  The lava from the volcano didn’t go anywhere near Pompeii either, as it’s over 6 miles away, the city was just buried in 20-23 feet of ash.  Half of the city is still buried right now, they are still excavating it.  It was large enough for 30,000 people to live.  When the volcano erupted, however, only 3,000 more or less people were caught and the rest were able to flee.  Anyway, I found the whole thing fascinating, as it was preserved in time from almost 2,000 years ago.






 This is where they kept they’re loved ones who passed away.  They would cremate them and store their urns here. 







 Their theater



 The stones they used for their roads were actually constructed with basalt, or hardened lava from previous eruptions of Mt. Vesuvius.  Mt. Vesuvius is still active today, it’s last eruption was during WWII.  It was relatively small, so scientists think that the next one will be pretty large.  There are soooo many people who live in the area, so hopefully it isn’t anytime soon!






 You can see the raised stones.  They used those to walk on, as they got a lot of rain that ran down the streets.  This way they could stay dry.  They had standardized sizes for their carts and such so they could fit.



 This is a phallus, or erect male genitalia. Apparently it represented strength and power and some of the houses and such were marked with them around the city.   Our tour guide made sure to point them all out.

 The following are images of the whore house.  There is no better way to put it.  They had some rather crude images painted on the walls, so I of course took a couple pictures.  

 A stone bed in one of the rooms of the fun house.



 “Every ending has a new beginning.”




 Another phallus.

 This is where they had a bakery.





Another phallus.























 As the archeologists uncovered human remains, they used them and some other synthetic material to make casts of the bodies.  They had a few of them on display.









 This is in the bath house, which was a “gift” from the Romans when they took over the city.







 The cast of a pregnant woman.

 This is one of the more tragic casts, a young man hiding his face from the fumes of the ash.


 This was a dog, and the archeologists were able to tell that it was actually still tied up when it died.









 The group: Emily, Marie, Jana, me, Megan




 Some of these are from Naples.










 Before we went into the ruins of Pompeii, we had a delicious meal in the modern city of Pompeii.







 More from the ruins.







 Before we went into the ruins, we were all given a headset/radio so that we could all hear the tour guide without having to be right next to him, so we could do a little wandering on our own.




We ended the day with a good meal back in Rome. 


 Poor Jana…she ordered a grilled cheese…and she literally got a plate of grilled cheese…she wasn’t extremely excited about it.  The waiters laughed a lot at us and gave her tiramisu.




So, Pompeii and Naples were a blast, but we still had a lot of Rome to see.  The next day, we did a hop on hop off bus tour which took us to all of the main stops.  We saw the Colosseum, many of the ancient ruins, some of the Vatican, and more of the city.  Also, we ate more good food.


So, in the Vatican, we were unfortunately only able to see St. Peter’s Basilica, because the museums and Sistine Chapel closed super early.  I was bummed out, but the Basilica was still really awesome.  We ended up climbing about a million steps to the very top of the dome, and it was absolutely amazing.  We could see so much of Rome from there.  Any of the following pictures that look like they’re from up high are taken from the dome.  


 The Colosseum!


 Some of the ruins. 







 This white building is newer, but it is very massive and beautiful.  It is the heritage and culture center, and it also has the tomb of the unknown soldier.  












The river from the bus…a little muddy!






 This is the Vatican!








 Inside the dome of the Basilica.


 The entire inside was done with mosaics…it was amazing.

 Going up to the very top was a little difficult…it got very narrow at times and claustrophobia began to kick in a little…but we kept trecking!

 Are we there yet?

 The views were amazing.  Absolutely breathtaking.



 The very very top knob of the larger dome is where we climbed up to in order to take the pictures.






 Colosseum at night.











 This is the Vatican City from the top of the dome.  It was sooo green and pretty!






















Basically, it was one of the most amazing trips ever.  Of course it would have been better with my family and Jake of course, but I still had an amazing time.  I loved Rome!!!!!  We saw soo much in soo little time, I was extremely tired when we returned to Spain.  Of course, the pub crawl Megan and I did on our last night in Italy didn’t help, but we sure had a blast!! I am so excited to see more of the world on this trip, but I don’t know if anything will top what I saw in Italy.  

Anyway, I am back home now and starting my actual semester classes.  So far, they are going pretty well.  Only time will tell!!!  It is my birthday this Thursday, and it is Anissa’s, another girl from the program, on Friday, so Thursday night we are going to go out and have a great time! We don’t have school on Friday’s so it works out rather nicely, because Saturday we have to get up nice and early to go to Sevilla and Cordoba for the weekend.

Well, I need to go to bed.  I’m still exhausted.

Until later,

Hasta luego!! 

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