Thursday, August 12, 2010

last day in madrid, first half of roma

Last day in Madrid: The last day in Madrid was a Sunday, so I tried to be really careful with the things I did. Katelyn, Annie, and I went to a market. I didn’t want to buy anything, so I just watched the people so I could get an idea of the culture. I find the Spaniard to be very kind and fun people unless you are trying to move in a similar direction as one. There was a lot of shoving and pushing going on. I took many pictures so that my mom could see what it’s like.
After the market, we went home and got ready for church and packed up our stuff for check out. We checked out, hauled our 100,000,000 lb backpacks, and hobbled over to the metro. We finally came to our stop after a couple of changes and about a half hour. And then after another half hour of walking through a pretty sketchy neighborhood, we saw in the distance a man wearing a white shirt and tie. Bingo! We followed him the rest of the way to the mustard yellow church and sat in the back of the congregation. During the second song, some investigators came in with the sister missionaries and sat in front of us. Because Annie was translating the Spanish talks for me into English, the sister missionaries became interested in us and would give us half glances every 10 minutes or so. At the end, we talked to them and found out they were from Nevada and Utah and one of them knows Katelyn’s friend. It’s a small world. J
After church, we had time to kill before checking in at the airport. We talked for awhile in a local McDonalds (I was craving a burger and we didn’t have any food) and then we took a nice walk in a nearby park. It was beautiful and put all of England’s parks to shame. I wish we had parks like England’s or Spain’s in the US. After that, we walked for quite awhile to find a metro that would take us to the airport. We got there, found our left luggage, and camped out.

Airport Stay/Ride

When we arrived in the airport, it was very quiet. Hardly anybody was there. We camped out by a couple of outlets to plug our computers in, arranged the carts and sleeping positions so that we could guard our stuff, and fell asleep. I woke up at about 2 am to find the whole of the airport populated with Italians and Spaniards. Families and people were camped out all over the place either sleeping or talking. The floor was cold, so I pulled out a sweatshirt and put it underneath me and fell asleep again. I woke up at about 5 am and the crowds were thinning. People had started checking in to the terminals (no one was allowed to check in until two hours before their flight). A couple of ladies came up to me and started speaking to me in a language I didn’t understand and kept pointing toward Katelyn and Annie. Being hardly awake, I managed to say, “Mis amigas?” One of them replied with, “Si, si!” I woke Katelyn up and the lady talked to her for a second and then made a motion with her fingers and eyes that meant “wake-up.” As they strolled away, I asked Katelyn what they said. She didn’t know. They were speaking Italian. We gathered our stuff together and got ready to check in.
After we checked in, we found the line for security. A few people piled up behind us and then these Spanish ladies decided that they would cut in right behind me and as we moved up the queue, they began to try to pass me. Being an American and liking the no-cuts rule, I tried to spread all of my stuff pretty wide so they couldn't pass me. I realize in retrospect that if I had let them pass me earlier on, I wouldn’t have had to worry the whole time. They eventually got around me and I gave them the meanest, nastiest glare I could muster. It was 5:30 am, mind you, and I hadn’t slept very well all night. My manners were not very good. Besides, they didn’t even notice and pressed on. Eventually I saw them no more and I went through security.
The flight was pretty uneventful except for the man who would push on and shake my chair randomly for long periods of time. It wasn’t that big of a deal. I had calmed down from earlier, so I just fell asleep. I woke up to see a few islands below the plane and a curve in the continent. We started to descend and I continued to look out the window at the beautiful sea and landscape. For those who don’t know me, I am a very, very big fan of the ocean. I love looking at it and playing in it and walking by it. J People tell me cruises are all about eating. If I ever go on one, I don’t know that I would eat very much, because I would be on the deck watching the ocean.
We finally arrived in the FCO airport. Annie was the first to leave and I followed her over to where the passport check was and the luggage claim. After we had gotten through and walked the area over three times, we realized that they had let us in to the wrong area. After talking to four security guards, we were finally about to leave the area and go to our luggage claim. It was stressful, but I had a good laugh about it. We found Katelyn and Rhiannon, who had been so kind as to grab my luggage and we set off to purchase a ticket on the express train.
We arrived in the Termini Station in Roma at about 11:20 am and walked the long, hot way around to our hostel. The man who greeted us was friendly and provided us with a map and things to do.

First Night in Italy

We crashed in the room and the three girls fell asleep while I sat up and internet-ed. I have trouble sleeping at midday. Eventually I did take a short nap though. When we were all up and ready to go, it was evening time. We walked over to St. Mary’s church and just looked at it and talked for about 10-15 minutes. It was still warm, but not hot and there were a few kids playing on the steps. We eventually got up, found an awesome pizza ristorante, ate, and then purchased some gelato. I got chocolate. Gelato here is nothing like you have experienced in the US, particularly in my state. It’s wonderful and creamy, but not too creamy and it’s refreshing in the best way. The chocolate looked like frosting and tasted like million dollar goodness. Right before we went to bed, we were serenaded with accordion and violin music while a man sang. It was beautiful.

Second Day in Italy

Katelyn and I took a trip around the Colosseum, the buildings around that area, the Pantheon, etc and went through piazza after piazza. We ate gelato near the Trevi Fountain and talked. It was a good day and pretty uneventful. Around 3 pm, we made it back to the hostel and decided to sleep. It was hot and we weren’t feeling very well. I had a cheeseburger and chatted with Brandon online throughout the evening and then I made a very exciting, important decision and went to bed smiling and happy.

Third Day in Italy

On this third day, Katelyn and I decided to go opposite the route we took the day before and head up toward the Piazza Navano. There were painters all over the piazza and I am thinking of going back and getting my mom one of the paintings. We then walked along the river, saw some pretty neat buildings and statues and ate Nutella lunches in a marketplace. We left to meet Annie at the hostel at 3:30 pm so that we would be in for the hottest part of the day and take our siesta. On the way back, we stopped at a couple of touristy shops (we’re trying to buy presents for you guys). In one of the shops, this Indian man noticed we were looking at some earrings and he tried to sell them to us, but we decided against buying them. He continued to speak to us and asked us where we were from. When he found out we are American, he began repeating over and over again, “I like Americans. Americans are good people.” He continued talking about how President Obama is a good man and we just kind of nodded our heads and said, “Thank you” repeatedly. I’m not sure about President Obama because I don’t know him personally, but I sure hope he’s trying his best to help our country. We asked him where he is from and like all Indians I have met, he is from Bangladesh. I am not sure what Bangladesh is like, but I am wondering why there are so many Indians in Italy and England. It’s something I should research.
We got back and napped/computed until about 6:30 pm when Rhiannon got back. Then we went to the That’s Amore ristorante and to a gelato place (it was the third time I had gelato that day). I think my favorite gelato flavor so far is black cherry. Reaching back into my memory, I think that Brandon’s dad said that was the best flavor as well… I can’t be sure though.
We came back and watched the Lizzie McGuire Movie. After that I was up until about 3 am trying to sleep and having a hard time because it was so hot. I ended up on the tile floor underneath the fan for about an hour until I was cooled off enough to go back to bed.
Oh, I forgot to mention this. When Katelyn and I were heading back, we noticed a fountain that people were putting their feet in or walking under the water. I was so hot that I got excited about this fountain that reminded me a lot of my childhood fountain in the Bethany Centre in Beaverton, Oregon. I asked Katelyn to watch my stuff, took off my shoes, and ran right into a bursting fountain water spout thing. Everyone else had been reluctantly getting wet, so when I jumped right in, the people around laughed and smiled. I turned around to Katelyn, put my arms up in the air and yelled, “Yeah!” And then I looked at this Indian lady who was smiling at me and I said, “Yeah!” again. She smiled and said something positive. I went in one more time and got pretty soaked. After we left, we noticed a sign that said to not get in the fountain and we would be fined if we were caught. I’m glad we weren’t caught.

Fourth Day in Italy

Today we are planning on going to more marketplaces and a swimming pool next to the river that is only 6 Euro after 3 pm. Yay! Earlier this morning, I walked over to the train station and tried to use the pay phone to call Brandon. Didn’t work, but I did find a grocery store and bought the sweetest, best peach in the world. Yum! Good breakfast. 

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