No, I have not been to an amusement park, and the past 24 hours have been anything but amusing! I am leaving this wonderful flat that Andrew has graciously offered to me.
After packing up everything in Zürich and catching the train to Venice, I considered the challenge ahead of me: find a place to sleep in The Floating City. I had tried to book a place the night before but everything was out of my price range or completely booked, but I thought to myself "I can do this, I have a hammock!" So, as a good traveler, I busted out the food to help my thinking. This I have brought along with me incase I can't find food. Water, French cherries, bananas, Swiss chocolate, dried mangos, sour gummy circles, and two loaves of bread. Well, don't let me be the first to tell you there is not an abundance of trees on this concrete island.
There may have been a few more on the outer islands, but I did not have the time nor patients to venture out that far. Instead, I cruised blindly through the small backstreets, getting lost a time or two, and finally working my way back to the train station.
What I had meandered through seemed to be the residential side of town (I forgot, people actually live here!) so I continued on about through the tourist section with countless restaurants, gelati stands and hotels. Still no vacancies within my price range. I even ran into a group of Brazilian gents who were in the same situation I was, except they had the ability to split costs, and with my attempt, didn't seem interested in adding outsider to lower the cost. I was out of options, hungry, and the sun was now gone. I could have spent the night homeless in Venice, but that was not an appealing option. Instead I headed back to the train station and checked the boards for departing trains. Rome. I had planned on going to Rome on Wednesday, but I 'm flexible. The only Rome-bound train left was the sleeper train leaving at 23:30 and arriving at 6:30; not a bad option. So I boarded and took a seat in the lowest class car, hoping no one had purchased that seat. Well, of course someone had, and not just that particular seat, but every other seat on the train. The TrenItalia ticket checker informed me that I was allowed to take the train, but I would have to stand or sit on the floor the entire trip. Oh boy. As you can see in the photo, there were luckily numerous fold out chairs where I and several others in the same position sat anxiously.
About an hour into the journey I could not sit any longer so I laid myself down on the floor. I pushed my body as close to the wall as possible, as it was likely I would get stepped or kicked if I was to liberal with my body positioning. I was able to some decent shut eye before arriving early morning in Rome. It was a gloomy day; cold, cloudy and about to rain. I decided to stay inside and visit a cathedral.
I walked around, trying to find internet and a place to stay the night. I finally found a hostel right next to the train station that was cheap. When I went into my room, I was relieved to find another person in the room. Finally, someone to talk to! Natasha, from New Zealand, and I talked for a bit before I headed out to meet Sophia at the Pantheon. Sophia is a good friend of mine from Longhorn Band at The University of Texas. She had told me “meet me at the Pantheon at 4!”...that’s not something you hear coming from a Texan’s mouth everyday!
I waited at the fountain in front of the Pantheon with my orange UT hat and finally I received a massive hug from a familiar face, Sophia!
She was with one of her study abroad friends also from UT, Joanna (right), who apparently when to Grapevine High School but graduated a year before I did! Who knew? She is also keeping a blog of here travel and study here in Rome! By this time, the weather had completely turned around and it was now a beautiful day with breezy winds and sunshine! The Pantheon was spectacular. The dome is massive with the spectacular hole in the roof.
As with most maintained structures in Rome, the ornaments and details are incredible.
The doors are massive!
Afterwards, we headed to the Palazzo Navona and later to the Trevi Fountain.
Sophia took me to see her school where there were statues covering the walls. If only UT looked like this!
Sophia had to depart in order to make dinner at her host grandmother’s house. On the way home I stopped at the Colesseum to get a few quick photos!
I came back to the hostel and met up with Natasha, Ofer from Israel, and Lila from Connecticut when we went to the cafe downstairs for dinner and internet. It’s amazing how things can turn around in a few hours.