It has been one crazy week and a half for me, crazier than usual even. Sunday morning my parents arrived in Rome, after a little bit of travel troubles they made it to their hotel around the corner from my apartment, I couldn’t wait to get over there and see them. I was so happy when my dad opened the door to their hotel room, I could not wait to give him a hug. I missed my parents but I haven’t had much time to think about since getting to Rome because I’m always so busy doing a hundred different things. I was excited to see mom too of course, she was pretty out of it from the flight and getting bit by some weird bug or something, I knew she was tired. We went out to Trastevere for dinner one of the best pizza places I’ve been to here called Dar Poeta. We didn’t do much else because they were tired.
Monday they met me for coffee at the Bar I go to every morning before work (and they have every morning since) Dad loved the place and said it has everything you would ever need! They explored some, went to the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and Forum; I got a selfie from Trevi and met up with them after work and class for dinner. I took them to Monti, we found a cute restaurant where we all squeezed into the table and after we went to the AMAZING cannoli place.
Tuesday was gross and rainy so it was lucky we had our Vatican tour booked for then. We started in the Vatican Museum, went to the Sisiten Chapel and made our way into Saint Peter’s Basilica which I hadn’t actually been inside until Tuesday. We had a great tour guide, Niccolo, who was a historian and had an incredible amount to tell us over the 3 hours. He told us a lot about the history, obviously, but there were also some more interesting stories that he told us that other tour guides may not have known. One of the first was that Pope Pio (Pious) (IX or X, I forget ) went around to the statues collected by all the previous Popes and cut off their genitals (and kept them all in jars) because it wasn’t the place to have nakedness. He said this is where the saying “don’t be so pious” comes from. He showed us all the illusions of the museum and the Rafael rooms. One of the coolest things he showed us was the Van Gogh painting that was sitting in the room of Borges before the Sistine Chapel. He said no one really knows it’s there, it’s just sitting on the wall with no attention drawn to it, it was amazing to see! I loved the Sistine, it was so massive and Niccolo gave a great introduction for what to look for in the massive masterpiece of this room. Then we went into the Vatican which was just striking it was immense, I really felt so small inside there, Niccolo told us that the Statue of Liberty could fit under the Dome inside there. I couldn’t even absorb all that was there, I don’t know if I’ve seen anything that could even come close to the majesty of the Basilica.
Wednesday we went to the Papal Audience which I think they enjoyed! We also went to Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and the church where Michelangelo’s statue that you can touch is. It was fun to be their little tour guide and show them some cool things I have seen in Rome. I left them to do some shopping while I had class, and we later met up for apertivo at Doppiozeroo. Early night because we had a long weekend ahead: Barcelona!
We left Thursday morning for the airport at 5am (joy) and arrived in Barcelona with the whole day to explore! Before we could get into the hotel room we walked around a nearby square with the Cathedral of Barcelona which we went into it was very beautiful. After we walked around the side streets and did some shopping! We went into one store called le coq sportif which was mom’s favorite tennis brand that they don’t carry in the states anymore. By the end of the trip we had gone there multiple times and the people working there knew who we were (embarrassing haha). We walked to La Rambla one of the main streets in Barcelona and they had Dunkin’ there! It was exciting but we didn’t get any :(. After checking into the hotel we walked about a half hour to the beach Barceloneta. It was a little chilly but the sun was out, it was gorgeous. I stuck my feet in the water, it was too chilly to actually go swimming, but I have now been in the Mediterranean Sea from both east and west coasts! After relaxing by the beach we later went to the Picasso museum which was very interesting. It traces his artwork from when he started very young to his work as an older artist. We then went to dinner; a woman mom works with is from Barcelona and told us to go to a tapas place near the museum. It was called El Xampanyet and it was SO GOOD. It was intimidating at first because it seemed like no one spoke English, and there wasn’t a menu you just told the waiter what you wanted. We were a little hesitant to go in, but I went in and found someone who spoke English so we could order. We ate at a standup table and the guy brought us a bunch of little plates that we pointed to that looked good. The place was so busy and crazed, it was a lively atmosphere and a really delicious and unique experience! After we went back to the hotel and had a drink at the bar, mom and I wanted to try churros, so dad and I went on a hunt for them but everywhere was sold out! Dad noticed an ice cream place that had a special “gelato canna bis” we didn’t go in but we wondered if it was real or not!
Friday we went to Segrada Famailia, which is a Church designed by Antoni Gaudí. Construction started in 1882 and they are hoping to finish by 2026! The line to get in was long but it was worth the wait. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. The stain glass windows had the entire place illuminated in color it was brilliant! We did the audio guides tour which was interesting there is so much symbolism within the structure and statues, it was absolutely breathtaking. After we spent some time there, we went to Park Guell which was also designed by Gaudí. The guy who sold us the ticket told us the actress from the show Castle, Stana Katic just went in (unfortunately we didn’t see her). Later that night we went to dinner and got churros finally! Before leaving for the airport Saturday afternoon it was rainy so we went to the Palau de la Música, a famous concert hall. We went on a short tour, I didn’t find it all the interesting it was a beautiful building though.
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I only was able to meet up with mom and dad for dinners because of work, class, and doing schoolwork but there was a lot of togetherness in Barcelona haha. We had some really nice meals in one at their hotel, in Testaccio, and Campo…we were able to just enjoy spending time together!
Tuesday after work was our last day together. I got caught in a torrential down pour walking from work to their hotel so that was fun (as soon as I got to the hotel it got sunny). We walked all over town in Trastevere, Jewish Ghetto, Piazza Navona, Campo doing our fair share of shopping on the way :). We got caught in the rain on the way to dinner by the Pantheon that night. We had some wine and some laughs, it was a great way to end our loooong 10 days together haha.
I loved having Mom and Dad here it was so much fun showing them around (it was also exhausting). We have some amazing memories that I’ll never forget. It was so special having them here, showing them the city that I’ve called home for the past 3 months. Thanks for coming Mom and Dad and for giving me the opportunity to be here in Rome, LOVE YOU!