Leg 1 - Roma

Ciao peeps. I'm painstakingly gonna try to blog with this Italian keyboard which is kinda confusing. In an internet rental place now ran by some people from Africa I think. Waiting for my train to Firenze which is leaving in like 1 hour plus. Nervous nervous but I think I should be alright?? Err ... the people here inside this internet rental place are kinda scary but at least there's a white girl on my left so I hope she is not leaving before me. Alrighty, here are the summary.

Arrived in Amsterdam early Sunday at 6. Schiphol Airport is kinda strange because there's an immigration line before you get to your connecting flight and the line was long and lucky me, I got flagged!!! Damn it! So the immigration officer had to escort me to one side and check all my documents and bookings and even counted my cash! When I asked why I got flagged, they printed out a generic statement saying that they needed to check my documents. It didn't really answered the question. I just saw that the person at the counter looked at my passport many times then called his colleague.

In the end, they let me pass but I miss my flight! The girl at the gate said that this happens a lot and I believe her because as I was waiting for my next flight, I heard the information calling for this person and that to go to the gate immediately otherwise their luggage will be offload. I'm sure they called my name as well. Anyway, so I got booked to another flight, didn't have to pay a thing, which is good.

Then arrived in Rome. Got confused because there was no immigration check. You kinda just got out and get your luggage. I hope I didn't miss a thing. First impression was that the airport was like Soekarno-Hatta airport in Jakarta!!! I kid you not. Got my luggage. Tried to figure out where the train to the city center here. I walked here and there and found it. Got the ticket at the tabacchiaio and also got it validated, I managed to stop at the yellow machine though I was running and dragging my luggage :P The train was full but managed to get a seat and saw Roma and again my impression is like Jakarta!!! The sceneries kinda reminded me of the drive to the airport in Jakarta, yeah they don't have paddy fields here but all the fields and such was kinda similar. Dropped down at the Termini station, got the wrong exit and don't know here my hotel is. Asked direction in embarrasing Italian but I got direction and I got it. Praise the Lord!!!

I think I got to my room at 3 something so decided to walk around. Decided to see the Circus Maximus which up until now I don't know which one it is actually. Walked guided by my own intuition (I don't have a map in all my times in Rome) and somehow got into the Colosseum!!! Didn't get in because I wanted to do it on Monday. Did see the Rose Garden which was by right should be near the Circus Maximus. Went in, take pictures of the flowers and that was it.

Next day Monday, had my half day city tour which was booked as part of this trip. Went by foot to the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, and Piazza Navona. You would think that I memorize the way but I didn't as explained later. Walking with the guide, everything seemed so near. Pantheon was kinda cool simply because I saw it in Angels and Demons. There's where Raphael's tomb is located by the way. He died of a young age because of TBC. There were other tombs, one of which was Queen Margherita which I think the queen that came out with the margherita pizza name. After which we went to St Peter Basilica. Big place. The scale of it is amazing for me. The statues are big and the artistry and craftmanship that went into these things are just amazing! After that finished day tour, I chose to be dropped at the Colosseum. Had lunch nearby and as guided by my research of Rome, proceeded to the Palatine Hill to get the ticket for it + Roman Forums + Colosseum and wiktravel was right. The queue was much shorter there while at the Colosseum is very long. I like the Palatine Hill + Roman forums more. So much things to see and the air was nice. So much nice view and yes they are just ruins but it's kinda very cool. Stupid me never get any audio guides for all the places that I visited that I didn't get to learn the history :$ After that I went to the Colosseum. Well perhaps since I didn't have the audio guide, I was just walking around without much meaning. It was still a cool place.

Second day, which was yesterday, started early at the Vatican. Wanted to go the Vatican museum and arrived there at 9 something, thinking darn the queue must be long. But it wasn't! Maybe it's not the peak season. Again didn't get the audio guide but did buy the guide book which was useful. Did the complete route and I think I visited all the places that can be visited there. Though perhaps my eyes didn't see everything. I bought a postcard of a painting that I didn't notice was there! :$ I am most impressed of all the marbles statues. So many of them, so big, and again the craftmanship was awesome. Oh yeah, saw a mummy at the Egyptian museum, of an old lady. I thought my thought was funny because I thought the lady is not much different than us, with 5 fingers and toes. Anyway, the Raphael Rooms and the Sistine Chapel was a bit anti climatic for me. Raphael rooms were still amazing because the paintings are humongous but somehow the Sistine Chapel wasn't as grand as I expected. I expected it to be bigger, brighter, and more grand. I didn't know why I'm suprised when it was similar to the one they showed at Angels and Demons. There were so many people there and though you have to maintain silence and no photo taking, the whole place was just abuzz with tourist and people snapping away, even with flash! All and all I spent around 4 hours at the Vatican Museum.

Then lunch at the Vatican museum and then went inside St Peter Basilica again. Wanted to make sure I took everything in. Did went to pray inside the sanctuary. I really prayed! I didn't just pretend to pray to see what it looks like :P then went to get ticket to get on the cupola! Carl suggested to take the stairs but I was too tired and saw that there were actually more stairs to take after the lift. So I chose the lift. Proceeded to climb the claustrophobic staircases to cupola but man there were just so many of them. There was a window at steps 309 and I decided to rest. At this point there were around 20 more steps to go and I thought I can do it but my hear was beating faster and my palm got cold and I did try but I couldn't and I stayed there for 15 mins or so with people passing me by including people older than me with grey hairs and fatter than me and I decided to just, no, I'm not gonna do this. I couldn't see the end light and I was scared that there wouldn't be anymore window to rest at and I just didn't want to collapse there! So I chickened out and went down and even going down got me dizzy. I am disappointed but oh well. Wanted to see Pope John Paul's tomb but darn it was closed when I reached it. Hope to do it today but couldn't :(

After the Vatican, I decided to walked around Rome and see the Trevi fountain again and here I got lost badly. Wanted to see Trevi Fountain and yet saw Piazza di Spagna first. Went to the church at the hill there. Then saw another piazza, then got back to Pantheon again and after lost here and there did find the Trevi Fountain. As I was lost, Carl sms me and said the beauty of being lost you get to see unexpected things and yet I did. See many nice buildings and all. Tired though walking on a cobble stone. Then came the a bit panicky moment of wanting to get to the nearest train station and somehow I just got lost. It was around 7 pm and the sun is setting at 8.30 something here, so I got a bit panic. Decided to get on a bus after noticing that 3 stops from where I board, I will get to the Metro station. Inside the bus an Italian told this Australian couple to stop at the next stop for train station. I foolishly got down with them and of course we were wrong. So here is where I met LeAnn and Fred and I don't know if it's my luck to meet them or their luck to meet me. Anyway, I told them to just take the bus we were on again and now stop at the correct place. We did and we stopped at the correct place and got to our metro. Kinda nice to talk with a human now. LeAnn was nice and told me to just stay together. Fred was I think tired with all the part about being lost. They're middle age parents who leave their teenagers kids for an European escapade. Kinda nice. The next time I go to Italy, I will have someone with me :P I promise. Kinda lonely being alone.

Then today, went to the Vatican again to get a glimpse of the Pope during his papal audience. Did see him a bit. He passed by in his pope mobile and yet I was busy with my camera so didn't really see him waving. Stupid me!!! Wanted to go see the tombs but the whole basilica is closed during Papal Audience. Disappointed but that means I have to go here again next time :)

Alright, long story. Gotta go soon. Rome is chaotic and kinda remind me of Jakarta actually. Do sms me peeps if you want to. I welcome all the unexpected sms and I have gotten a few :) even one when I was in Sistine Chapel ;) Haven't been speaking Italian much here, kinda too shy to do that :$ Food is okay, saw MacDonalds but haven't gone there :P Had pasta and pizza but haven't had anything that blow me away. To answer to your dying questions of the Italian boys and girls, yes they are a beautiful bunch that I think God is a bit unfair to give them with such good luck :P though I notice that many Italian men get bald! There is justice in this world? :D Okay gotta go. Ciao ciao.

ps: don't have time to do spelling, sentence, and grammar check, I hope you understand what I am saying :P

:) eKa @ 6:22:00 PM •

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