Roma – pope watch 2014 and the gnocchi harassment incident

So I can’t contain my excitement long enough to wait till the correct chronological point in this post to say this, so here it goes

I got to see Pope Francis today!

We listened to him address all of the people in St. Peter’s Square. This has probably been the greatest day of my life this far. It is definitely the most memorable. I started off the day by waking up on the wrong side of the bed, but how can you not be in a better mood after hearing the Pope talk about how as Christians, we must be a light for the test of the world. it was a very inspiring and uplifting moment, seeing as how Pope Francis’ ideological views and open-mindedness has restored my faith in the Catholic religion.

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In other less exciting news, 95% of the trip to Rome did not involve me crying in excitement over seeing Papa Francesco – I guess I should tell you about that too.

I feel these posts getting shorter and shorter as the trip goes on.  I am just so exhausted from all this traveling, so excuse me for being more brief than usual.  Everyone said you will be more than ready to come home at the end of the nine days – and they weren’t kidding!

On our first day in Rome, we visited the Colosseum, the Roman forum and the Pantheon.  I had been to the Colosseum and Pantheon before but never the Forum, so it was really exciting to explore the ruins.  It’s also very interesting to travel to places I have been before, but this time as a student of architecture.  Studying architecture for three years now really brings a new perspective to looking at things like this.  Sketching also helps understand buildings in a way you can’t get from taking photos.  I think this trip has really made me realize the value of sketching.  Even though I know my sketches look terrible, I can tell I understand something better after I have sketched it.

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On day two we saw a selection of Baroque churches in Rome.

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Day three we were supposed to go to St. Peter’s and then the Vatican museum then after lunch visit the EUR district. When we got to the Vatican we were told that we could not enter St. Peter’s because we were not Sri Lankan. Apparently they had reserved the entire Basilica for a mass for 15,000 people. Instead we went straight to the museum and the Sistine Chapel. It was great to walk through parts of the museum with Giudi, especially the Sistine Chapel. I could just stare at paintings and frescos for hours and try to analyze all the symbolism and meanings within them.

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While walking through the streets of Rome with Josh, Emily, Bryan and Allie on our way to see the Trevi Fountain lit up at night, Josh and Bryan were casually talking about gnocchi when they passed one of those people who stand outside restaurants and try to get tourists to come inside.  When he heard then say gnocchi he yelled to us, “oh, you like-a da gnocchi?! We have-a da best gnocchi in all a Roma!” (please excuse my poor phonetic spelling in an Italian accent)  We all died laughing and this has basically become a running joke between all of us.

Day four we went to St. Peter’s first thing in the morning. Then we went to the Renzo Piano auditorium project and had a private tour. We ended our 9 day adventure at Zaha Hadid’s Maxxi Museum (Giudi’s favorite building and architect ever…not).

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After an eventful last day we went back to the hotel to collect our luggage and then hurried to the station to catch our train to Genoa.  I have had so much fun these past nine days, but man am I glad to be headed home.