Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February Fun!

I failed to mention that my cousin Lauren is studying abroad in Rome from February to May. If you're my friend on Facebook you might have picked up on this, as I've pretty much been counting down the days! We'll, it's finally come! I have a piece of my family only two hours away! Yay!

Just a week after Lauren arrived in Rome, James and I took the train up for a day visit... and we didn't go empty handed. Being spoiled by the Commissary on base, we often don't realize that certain items are hard to find, such as peanut butter. So, by request, we brought two huge jars of good ol' Skippy with us! Though we do miss some things like Sour Patch Kids, Hot Tamales (the candy) and UTZ Salt N' Vinegar chips (yes, specifically UTZ), but that's besides the point.

We met Lauren at her place, then walked and "tram"ed around a bit where we first saw The Cat Sanctuary. The official name is The Torre Argentina- it's where Ceasar was murdered. And as I'm starting to notice a trend- I don't have pics, oops. But you can use your imagination as you read; it's old ruins that you can't go in, you can only look down on and there are lots of cats running around, and the Italian Government provides food for them.
Side note: There are ridiculous amounts of stray cats and dogs roaming this country!

Then we walked around the Trastevere area, which was really cute. To me it was kind of like the Italy you might imagine.

Those were little stops was on our way to Piazza Navona!

The Romans used this as a gaming area (surprise, surprise), so it was once known as Circus Agonalis.
There is a really cool fountain in the middle of the Piazza; Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or Fountain of the Four Rivers

Lauren, me, Melissa (Lauren's Rome roommate) in front of the fontana
There are also two other fountains, one on each of the two sides of the Piazza...
*This Piazza was used in the filming of Angels and Demons*

Next we happened across the Pantheon which was built in the second century AD as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome...

Gods? They clearly didn't listen to Peter very well, just sayin...

And Lauren decided to take pictures of the pigeon on the fountain in front of the Pantheon.

OK, not really, but that's kind of what it looks like ;-)

James and I were glad we passed by there because that was our third time in Rome and we had yet to see it.

Now off to the Colosseum!

James and I had been in the Colosseum once before, but we followed an audio guide and a Rick Steve's book, which was very helpful, but this time, the four of us decided to take a human guided tour (who would also guide us through Palatine Hill).

The tour guide was humorous and interesting, and I'm glad we joined it.

He had a picture book with him which helped us to fill in the gaps that you can't see because the Colosseum obviously looks nothing like it once did.

Love my cousin!

Next, the tour guides switched and we followed the new one just down the road to Palatine Hill.

This is pretty much a "neighorhood" on the top of a hill where the rich and famous Romans lived- the White House/Beverly Hills of the BC era Romans.

Palatine Hill overlooks the Roman Forum (formerly Forum Magnum)

Which is ruins of Ancient Rome government buildings. It was the center of the Roman public life (wikipedia).

I don't remember the details of each building, but this one has the original door, lock and key- which is over 1500 years old. Pretty sweet.

However, there was a dead bolt on it as well- I guess just because it's there, doesn't mean it's fully funtioning!

This is the Arco di Costantino, built to celebrate a won battle in the 300s.

Taking a quick snap in the Roman Forum before getting the boot.

It was closing time... for the Roman Forum and us. The Super Bowl was on at midnight, so we got on our way!
I had a blast with my cousin, as usual, and can't wait to see more of her before she heads back to the motherland this summer.

In other news-
James had his first homemade OJ...

Valentines Day falling on a weeknight was a little complicated to work with, so we tried to make it fun in our own random way :-)

The following weekend GALLAGHER did a show on base, which was a blast!!!

Our new bff ;-p

I had never heard of him, but James had.
He's a comedian

who specializes in smashes random things to go with his act.

I felt bad for the clean-up crew- whoops!

With that... Stay tuned... More fun to come!