It just keeps getting better here in Rome. This first weekend was unforgettable! I was able to experience 3 different landscapes Italy has to offer this weekend, Sea, City, and County.
When people think of Rome the first thing that comes to mind is usually the city, however there is a beach that is still considered in Rome. On Saturday our entire program [29 of us] decide to go to Ostia for a day on the beach. We spent the day swimming in the warm sea water, playing some beach volleyball, and relaxing in the sun. It was a perfect day after such a busy first week here.
It still gets better…on Saturday evening Pope Francis was holding a Vigil Prayer for Peace in Syria [and World Peace] in St. Peter’s Square. This was something we decided we had to see. A group of us decided to go to Vatican City and see the Pope in Person. We knew there would be an amazingly large crowd [supposedly 100,000 people] but we couldn’t miss a chance to see the Pope! There were seven of us standing at a gate that held us out of the actual square but we could see the altar. Luckily, a guard decided to open this gate and start letting more people into the square from this unmarked spot. We quickly made a move to get in slowly making our way into the square. We were unsure of where exactly we were allowed to be so we just kept walking smiled at some guards and policemen. We actually made our way up to the front seating section in front of the steps to the altar, it was incredible to be so close to the Pope and actually see him sitting there praying for World Peace. Even though I couldn’t understand the service, I felt very moved. I had chills the whole time and all I could feel was hope; hope that this could help all those that are suffering. This is truly an experience that I will never forget.
It doesn’t get much better than that, but on Sunday we did have an enjoyable day in the Countryside with everyone. Aside from the horrible bus driver and getting lost, it was a fun day! We had a delicious lunch with some Italian students that will be taking classes with us. I sat with 2 and they were so fun to talk to, they spoke English very well and it was great to hear about their life as Romans as we told them what it was like to live in America. After this long lunch there was 2 activities you could chose from to do: Yoga or learn about sustainable farming, I chose yoga. Let me tell you, it was not normal yoga, not the stretching and poses exercise-type we think of. It was actually the weirdest yoga I have ever done and we couldn’t stop laughing at how ridiculous the things the instructor was telling us to do were. However bizarre it was I have to say it was pretty relaxing.
It was a very eventful and exciting first weekend here in Roma! So much has happened already it doesn’t feel like only a week has gone by. I’m already in awe at this beautiful city and I think that it will just keep getting better.