July 20, 2006
When I started this whole Italy recap thing, I swear I didn’t intend for it to take TWO FREAKING MONTHS. But it has. Life happens, what can I say?
So. Our last full day in Italy. We got to sleep in again (which was good because the day-long trip to Florence was pretty tiring!) We spent the morning shopping for last minute souvenirs. Which was really just wine and food at the little grocery store on the corner. I’m not a big souvenir buyer- I usually just get something little. One of the things we try to get everywhere we go is a shot glass. Trashy? Possibly. But someday I think it might be nice to line them all up on a shelf and say, “Look at all the awesome places we’ve been together.’ and then… ‘Let’s have a drink!”
We did regret later not buying the Statue of David apron we saw in Florence. We were in a hurry and though, oh they’ll have that in Rome, I’m sure. But no, they didn’t. I would have LOVED to see Dan grilling on our deck wearing it. (We could by it online now, but where’s the fun in that? It’s not the same as buying a cheesy souvenir based on a naked statue!)
Amusing story about my shot-glass buying in Rome: We stopped at one of the street vendors to poke around his stuff, see what he had. I found a glass I liked, but no price. I knew that meant it was open for haggling and bargaining, which I am HORRIBLE at in English, let alone Italian.
I held up the glass to the man and said ‘Quanto costa?’ (‘How much?’)
He looked me up and down and said ‘Four euro’.
I made my best ‘HMMMM, that’s too much’ face, and said ‘Tre euro?’
He grabbed the glass from me, tapped it with his finger and said ‘It’s glass!’ Like that made it sooooo much more valuable. Like glass was this incredibly rare commodity or something. Like it was made of GOLD or FAIRY DUST or something.
But I would not be intimidated! I said again, ‘Tre euro?’
He nodded and shrugged. All I had was a 20-Euro bill and when I handed it to him, he said he didn’t have change. All Dan had were two 1-Euro coins. Apparently that was just fine for the man, because he exchanged the shot glass gladly for 2 Euro, half what he originally said and 1 Euro less than what I offered. Heh.
After souvenir shopping, we had our last lunch alone in Rome. It was a bit sad, knowing that in 24 hours we’d be on a plane headed home.
We spent the afternoon on our last tour, the Roman Catacombs (Basilica of St Sebastian) and St. Paul’s Outside the walls. It was a nice, laid-back day (a little creepy climbing down into the catacombs though!) I don’t have any pictures of the catacombs because we weren’t allowed, but I do have some shots of inside the Basilica.
And I have a bunch of pictures from St. Paul’s. It is a really gorgeous church, huge columns inside and outside and a beautiful courtyard in the front.
After our tour for the day, we met our group for a ‘Goodbye’ drink and snacks on the roof at the bar. (Yes. A bar. On the roof!) But before I get to that… let me share one last oh-so-graceful moment from the trip.
Along with the rooftop bar, there was a pool up there as well. It was still early in the year though, so it didn’t open until our last day there (which was this day) We decided we didn’t need to go in, but we did walk over and check it out. I walked down the little walkway to the pool area and took a left. Most of the floor was red tile but the part I was walking over was this tiny little black and white patterned tile, about 3 or 4 feet across, and I vaguely remember thinking as I stepped onto it, ‘Gee, this kind of looks like a shower floor or something.’
It was an outside shower that you could rinse off in before or after swimming. And the floor? PRESSURE SENSITIVE. So as I stepped onto it, the shower turned on and my back got wet. And naturally there were 2 women up there from our tour group reading and sunbathing who saw the whole thing. One of whom witnessed the many classy moments of me tripping on the buses.
I felt so freaking awesome.
So anyway, the rooftop bar! Dan and I looking cozy and relaxed and maybe a little sad to be leaving tomorrow. But mostly relaxed and having a great time.
After the rooftop bar mini-party, we piled into a bus one last time and went to ‘Dinner with the Tenors’ where we had a delicious 6-course Italian meal while opera singers performed in between courses. It certainly wasn’t something we are normally interested in, but being in Rome and all that, it was quite enjoyable. Even Dan had a nice time, I think. And the food was very yummy!
The next morning we had to be downstairs by 6:30 to catch our ride to the airport. Our plane didn’t leave until 10:30, but other groups were leaving earlier. So we hung out at the airport for a while before our 9 1/2 hour flight to New York. The flight was pretty uneventful, other than I think we flew over the Alps (though it might have been the Appenines) and we got a nice bird’s eye view of the snowcaps. And we also saw some little islands off the coast of Italy right after we took off.
We had another (shorter) layover in New York at JFK. While we were waiting for our flight to board, we saw John Kerry walking out of a terminal. He’s very tall.
Our trip was over. It very well could have been a Once In A Lifetime Trip. I certainly hope not.. but it’s at least going to be a Not Again For A Very Long Time kind of trip. It’s hard for me to believe that it’s only been 2 months.. but at the same time, it feels like ages ago. Almost like a dream or something. Luckily I have lots of pictures to remind me of everything :)
As much fun as it was, I have to admit: it was truly a beautiful site to see this after the long day of traveling: