Ciao! Over the last two weeks I’ve been in Rome, Athens again, and spent time running around Thessaloniki. I’ll primarily talk about Rome and the Vatican City here, but I’ve been crazy busy running around as of late. Back in the USA, many schools were on their spring break and my girlfriend, Jenna, took advantage of her time off to come visit me in Greece. But, we also were able to explore some new places for both of us, so onto Rome.
We flew to Athens then to Rome last Saturday, and took the train/metro to the apartment we got an AirBnB for the weekend. It was a very nice place with a huge bedroom, living room, and kitchen. It was a little overkill since we spent most of our time running around the city, but it was a cool place. It was also located just north of the Vatican City and about 15-20 minutes from the city center, so definitely in walking distance.
Rome is a crazy beautiful city that has a mix of ancient, renaissance, and more modern architecture. I personally liked the ancient Roman architecture the most, because I have learned a LOT about the history behind it. I’ve been listening to the 200+ podcast episodes of “The History of Rome” by Mike Duncan for quite some time now and it was cool to see some of these places I’ve only been listening about. Some highlights that come to the top of my head were Saint Angelo’s Castle, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps. One thing I didn’t expect was just how many people visit Rome and how many sketchy street vendors are there catering to their selfie stick and laser pointer needs.
The next day was spent exploring more of the true ancient part of the city. Jenna and I walked through the Roman Agora, up Capitoline Hill, and on over to the Colosseum. Even though it is mostly ruins today, you could imagine just how wealthy and powerful the Romans were 2,000 years ago.
Vittorio Emanuele II
On our 3rd and last day, we headed on down to the Vatican City. We opted to get a tour guide to help explain the significance of various buildings, objects, and paintings that we saw inside. The tour was about 2 hours and we saw some of the Vatican Museums with a large amount of paintings, statues, and lots of art in general. The highlight at the end of the tour was easily being in the Sistine Chapel. It was amazing and honestly difficult to even see and comprehend every scene on the ceiling with our limited time. If I were to ever go back to Rome, I think I would need a lot more time at the Vatican City than 2-3 hours.
Last but not least was the food! I am not exaggerating that every meal I ate had pizza, pasta, or gelato included somehow. And wow, it was hard to find food that didn’t taste good there! I would recommend going to Rome just for the food, eating with views of the Colosseum and Vatican City are just nice additions.
Jenna and I outside the Colosseum
We had a few issues at the airport in Rome, unfortunately. Our flight was delayed by about four hours due to a strike by the airport workers. We finally made it to Athens for our connecting flight, but that flight back to Thessaloniki had left an hour before we got back. Fortunately, we were flying with Aegean Airlines and not a budget airline. Aegean set us up with a complimentary hotel room in the luxury hotel across the road from the airport and gave each of us a free Aegean flight to be used in the upcoming year. This worked out pretty nicely for us, so we used the free flight to visit Athens this past Saturday. Overall, not too bad of an experience.
The Ancient Colosseum
What I’ve been up to besides all this traveling you ask? Well, I managed to get a haircut from a lady who spoke absolutely no English and it worked out alright. I learned how to treat mastitis on cows and been working on some papers. This week I’ll be helping AFS with their broiler processing and visit a cattle finishing operation. Stay tuned for my last few weeks in Greece!