I can’t believe I have only one full day left here in Rome! I nearly started choking up as I passed St. Peter’s on the way to school today. All I could think is, “I can’t believe I only get to pass St. Peter’s on the way to school one more time!” I’ll probably be a sobbing mess as I walk to school tomorrow.
Speaking of school, we have a test tomorrow. Should be interesting as I only seem capable of doing my assignments with my notes in hand.
After class today, my young Russian friend and I met up with three other girls for lunch. One girl is from Russia, one is from Serbia, and the other was originally from Russia but now lives in England and speaks English beautifully. The waiter came up to us and asked (in English) where we are from.
I responded, “Tutti il mondo,” which I overhead someone else say once, and I think means “All of the world.” (I mean, really, what was I going to tell the guy? Well, she’s from Serbia, I’m from the U.S., and these three girls are from Russia, but this one really lives in England now and doesn’t consider herself so much Russian anymore.)
Then he asked something like, “Oh you speak Italian?”
I responded, “Studiamo italiano.” (We are studying Italian.)
Now the one Russian girl was really good in Italian, so she just started asking all sorts of questions in Italian, which I think gave the guy the impression we spoke more Italian than we do; or at least, most of us do.
Anyway, we had a nice lunch with free glasses of Prosecco. The waiter was calling it champagne for us, but he did use the word prosecco once, which is fine because I really prefer it to actual champagne.
After lunch, the very fluent Russian girl tried to find a place for us to “take a coffee and have some dolce.” (It was interesting to talk with her as she often flipped between English, Italian, and Russian. She gave me a funny look at first when I said I was from the U.S. When I added Chicago, she brightened a bit. “Oh, that is a nice city. I wish to go there someday, but the relations between our countries are not so good right now.” How do you say “awkward” in Italian?)
Unfortunately, we couldn’t find the right kind of pasticceria. One would have pastries but not coffee; another place would have coffee but no desserts. Eventually, my young Russian friend and I had to break off to go to the museum since our tickets were timed for 3:00.
This time we took the bus up to the Villa Borghese gardens instead of walking (Thank you, Jesus). The Galleria Borghese is a lovely art museum with beautiful paintings and statues. Lots of the statues are of Greek/Roman mythology and will come in handy in my classes.
There was also a lot of Christian art, including Caravaggio paintings.
This next little statue cracked me up. I looked at him and thought, “Yep, that’s how I feel after nearly two weeks of walking around Rome. Like I’ve got to sit down and take care of the blisters on my feet.”
After our two-hour visit, we enjoyed some time talking and sitting in the gardens. The weather was perfect today, about 80 degrees and sunny with a few light clouds.
Then we walked back to the school neighborhood and visited another gelato spot called Gelateria del Teatro. It’s highly recommended by a lot of websites, but I found my experience to be slightly disappointing, mostly due to price and quantity. I paid 3.00 Euros for a very small cone. (At Giolitti’s, I only pay 2.50 Euros and get a much bigger scoop of gelato.)
On the plus side, this gelateria had some interesting flavor choices, so I had Cioccolato Bianco al basilico (White Chocolate and Basil) and Salvia e Lamponi (Garden Sage and Raspberry). They were tasty flavors, but the portions were tiny.
The young Russian and I took our cones to a nearby piazza and sat and talked for a long time. She asked a lot about American culture, and in return, I was treated to a Russian explanation of the whole Ukrainian-Crimean-Russian situation. She’s a smart enough girl to know her country sensors the news on television, but she explained how people feel about the situation.
I think meeting so many people from different countries has been one of the unexpected highlights of this trip. Talking with them and getting to know about their cultures is something I’ll always remember.
On the way home, I made a brief stop at St. Peter’s, just because I could. 🙂
Bracing myself for an emotional day tomorrow. If I don’t post again for a while, it’s only because I’m making the most of my last day in Rome!