When in Rome...

After a morning filled with travel, we arrived at the hotel in Rome at about noon. Our rooms were not ready (they never are on this trip) so we put our bags in the bar. At this point, we were free until out historic walking tour of the city. A group of us decided to visit the Coliseum early (still on the "Gladiator" fix). After "being a tourist" I decided to separate from the group for sketching and alone time. When the group met for the tour, we found that we were smarter than the tour guide. He was not completely wrong, but he put some buildings in the wrong period and skipped over things that the students were quite interested in. Overall, the tour was okay, but I guess the students are spoiled with a guide like Paolo. A number of them were VERY disappointed about not being able to enter the Coliseum. I know that was one of the best parts our our tour in 2002. The tourist scene has changed a great deal in Italy.

Nothing special really happened that evening. I didn't really care where I ate, but my group (the usuals) wanted to eat at Hard Rock. However, it was not possible tonight because the "A" line closed early. Instead we went to a shady pizzeria not on the "B" line. The waitress was cute, but the place was empty and service took a long time. After dinner, we decided to revisit the Coliseum at night. It was a great way to end our first night in Roma.

Today began with an audience with the Pope. It was pretty cool to actually get to sit this time around, however it was not as amazing as my audience with John Paul II. It was really hot and at times boring. But once again, I was happy to be their because I know there are many that wish they could have been in my seat. I spent most of the day on the phone with Peter trying to make arrangements for the group that evening. We were going to a museum opening so they wanted to look nice. This meant they had to "sit out" a tour that they were going to have before in order to get ready. I know this is going to come back and bite them all. That afternoon, Paolo gave us a great tour of St. Peter's. He still talks about the Pieta with the same passion and mystique.

The museum opening was nice, but not what I had expected. I was thinking there were going to be more architects and more discussion. It was nothing like architectural gatherings I have attended in Dallas. I suppose AIA and Corgan are better at entertaining. I was able to have a few discussions with the students, but it wasn't the same. After the exhibition, we all split for dinner. I wasn't with the group that I had intended, but I was with an okay group. Dinner was not great, but we had an adventure getting home.

Tonight was the first time we experienced every form of transportation that Rome had to offer. Dinner took so long, that the "A" line was already closed by the time we were ready to go. We decided to take a bus to the "B" line. However, the line closed by the time a bus arrived. Instead, we rode a bus to the area of the hotel and walked the rest of the way. I think it took about two or three hours to get back. It was ok. I was too tired to do anything that evening.

It doesn't hurt to remember that everything you are given, you eventually pay for. Well, then again... sometimes it can hurt. The students missed a few sites yesterday because they wanted to get ready. In turn, all of the sites were crammed into one day of extensive walking. We walked an entire region of Rome. Then, we walked to another region to catch a bus. I found it hilarious because I saw this journey coming a mile away. What I did not find funny was losing my pictures. I had been having trouble with battery power already. When I finally got the problem solved, I accidently formatted my memory card and lost the numerous pictures I had taken the previous day. They are irreplacable. This did, however, happen before we visited Renzo Piano's Parco della Musica. I think this visit will do wonders for my research.

What was interesting was the final region that we visited. It was the home of the gypsies. Typically, society sees these people as trouble makers and theives. However, Peter and his group of Stalkers have taken time to understand these people in an attempt to give them an accepted place in society. Gypsies are human, thus they deserve to be treated accordingly.

After the tour, Peter let the students decide to come back another time to finish the tours of Rome. I think he was not feeling well and could not go on much longer. That evening, we went to eat at Hard Rock Cafe. I wasn't excited about it, but I wasn't opposed to the idea either. I simply went along with the flow. I had a plate of nachos and the drink(s) I had been deprived of the night before. I then went back to the hotel to sleep the night away. Other students went to see sites for one last time. I felt I needed to conserve my energy for our trip to Capri tomorrow morning.

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