And back to the European adventure...
After exploring Florence, we took a day trip to Rome to meet up with Amanda, who is like a sister to me, and who is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (our church). Each week she has a day to prepare for life as a missionary, which usually includes grocery shopping, laundry, emails and the like. Marcos and I planned our trip to Rome for Amanda's preparation day so that we could take her and her companion out to lunch, visit a few famous places, and generally enjoy each other's company. It was incredible to see her in action, speaking Italian, and leading us deftly through a country that was recently foreign to her.
Our first stop was the Colosseum, which is a very impressive structure. We debated paying the loads of money and standing in the endless line that would allow us to see the inside, but Marcos tipped the scales with this comment: "Nah. I've already seen all of the movies that show the inside, so I can imagine it perfectly". (Can I opt out of child birth like that? You know, just skip through the painful part because I've already seen movies and I can imagine it pretty well?).
One of the things that we found rather inconvenient about Rome was it's lack of public transport. There were only three subway lines, and as you can imagine, three lines don't really do the job in a huge city. Supposedly the bus system was decent, but for tourists without a command of the language, buses are much less user friendly than a subway system with a good map.
I held a grudge against Rome for about half an hour until I noticed something peculiar as we made our way across town on foot: it was not unusual to see things like the scene below. And it got me thinking: How would I like to try and build a metro system through a city with three hundred layers of ancient ruins to plow through? No thanks.
When in Rome, eat pizza and pasta. With tuna on top. Apparently, it is all the rage to put tuna fish on everything.
Amanda asked a passerby for a restaurant recommendation, and we found ourselves at a place in a narrow street with amazing food. I feel famished all of a sudden, just looking at these photos again...
At Trevi Fountain, we threw coins in over our shoulders to assure that we would return again some day to Rome, and posed for a shot worthy to be hung on the MTC walls. Being with Amanda again after her nine or so months in Italy reminded me of the awesome things that happen to missionaries. Being constantly engaged in the Lord's work and thinking of people outside of myself and my own interests inspired a lot of change in me when I was in Tokyo as a missionary three years ago, and I could see the same miracles working in her. She has become ultra radiant, confident and capable through serving other people.
Not surprisingly, we also saw loads of nuns on the streets of Rome. I couldn't bring myself to take pictures of them, but I felt good about photographing the windows of the shops where these very fancy priest robes and accessories were being sold. We didn't make it to the Vatican City this trip (it was on one of the other two inconvenient subway lines and a bit too far away), but if that coin we threw in the Trevi Fountain works its magic and we are able to return to Rome someday, I will be very interested to see the center of the Roman Catholic church.
After laughing over a massive gelato and hugging and kissing Amanda and her companion good-bye, our last stop of the day was the Pantheon. Meaning "all Gods", we expected that it would feature the Gods of Roman mythology, but it doesn't anymore. The Catholic Church has long since taken over and made it - frankly - a rather uninteresting place to visit...
And that about wraps up the Italian leg of the journey. Stay tuned next time for Metta's Dream Fulfilled: Swiss Alps, a train, and a bag of chips...
AHHHH!!! I so want to go RIGHT NOW!! Thanks for all the details. I kinda feel like I was there with you.
You have done such an amazing job with these posts! I really feel like I was there! Thank you so much. (I'm missing Mammy all over again, but I think it's just the Holidays rolling in.) Love you!
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