Tag Archives: Vatican

Winter Wrap

So, winter quarter has ended and it’s now starting to feel a bit like spring in Rome, which both exciting and terrifying. I love Rome when it’s sunny, but I hate Rome when it’s hot. Sadly, these things often come hand in hand. Anyway, this is how winter quarter ended!

Damon picked me up from the train station and then we took his friend Bjorn to Bar Trilussa, an establishment that has been featured in my blog many a time. (I should be getting some sort of kick-back.) I have to say, however, that Bjorn appreciated the giraffa far more than any other guest I’ve taken to Trilussa.

Damon and Bjorn at Bar Trilussa with the infamous giraffe

The next day the three of us went to Abbey Theatre (kick-back?) to see a live rockabilly band, the Da Silva Trio. To be honest, my expectations were quite low. I mean think about it: Italians playing rockabilly. Uh, yeah… To my surprise, I was completely blown away! They were amazing. i knew almost every song and the three of us were very enthusiastic throughout their entire performance. Here’s a video I recorded of a Johnny Cash cover in which you can witness some of Bjorn’s excitement:

On Friday I took Bjorn to the Capuchin crypt. That’s the one where it looks like they used the grim reaper as an interior decorator. I’ll never forget Bjorn’s face when he first walked in. I didn’t know anyone’s eyes could get that huge. I’ve sort of forgotten how creepy that place is when you first visit. I’ve taken so many people there that I seem to be desensitized to its, um, subject matter.

Anyway, Bjorn left on Saturday and it was free Sunday at the Vatican Museums the next day. So, Damon and I drug ourselves out of bed way too early and waited in line. Despite attempts at being cut in line by nuns (that’s right, NUNS!), we made it in early and Damon saw all the things he missed when he went with his class. I also did a bit of research in the Sala dei rotundi (see below). I hope to make it to another four free Sundays before I say arrivaderci to Roma!

Vatican Museums

It was a short work week after that because I was invited on the Communications program field trip to Pompeii on Friday. After the field trip, Damon and I stayed in Naples for the weekend, but you can read about that in my next blog post.

It was only a few short days after we said goodbye to Bjorn that it was time to say hello to Josh, another one of Damon’s friends. He joined us on the field trip to Pompeii on Friday. We also managed to do the obligatory trip to the Capuchin crypt and Bar Trilussa con giraffa. On Monday Josh and I accompanied Damon to Abbey Theatre to support him at open mic night. After our rockabilly experience, I only had positive feelings toward the pub. Unfortunately, this night Abbey Theatre was filled with annoying girls who would not shut up. I could barely hear Damon and he had a microphone. Argh. As frustrating as it was, Damon still put on a great show. 🙂

The weekend after our trip south, Jocelyn came to Rome to visit me. She has been living and working in southern Spain, so it wasn’t too long of a trip for her. She arrived late Thursday night and we only had time for a few drinks before bedtime. On Friday Jocelyn visited the Vatican while I was at work. We met up later for a bit of shopping mixed with sightseeing. We managed to see the Spanish Steps before meeting up with Josh and Damon at a restaurant we found while Bjorn was in town. It was very chill the first time around, but this time it was filled with a huge group of tourists celebrating someone’s birthday. They may have had a lot to drink and they were certainly enjoying the atmosphere. I think this put us in a goofy mood as we mowed down with tambourine baby watching over us.

Dinner Party with Tambourine Baby: Jocelyn, Josh, Damon and me

Saturday morning Damon and Josh left for England. (Don’t worry! Damon’s coming back to Rome tomorrow before he heads back to Seattle for good.) In the afternoon I took Jocelyn on a tour of the Campidoglio, the forum, the colosseum, Trajan’s Forum and other goodies. It was sunny, so we were in a good mood. It was a wonderful day for sightseeing.

Jocelyn and the Arch of Constantine

On Sunday night I took Jocelyn to aperitivo jazz at Charity Cafe (another kick-back, please). However, it didn’t really turn out to be jazz. The band had a singer, drummer, bassist (with both standard and upright bass) and pianist, but they played a cover of Norah Jones and Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror. Weird. Anyway, it was good food and drinks and there was music. I can’t really complain.

The next morning it was time to say goodbye to Jocelyn and she hopped on a plane headed back to Spain. Hopefully my mom and I will be able to visit her in Cadiz in May. Here’s hopin!

The last few days I’ve just been relaxing and getting things ready for the conference, which starts next week. After that it’s time for spring quarter to start. A fresh batch of kids (including the art history group), a fresh batch of visitors (including, but not limited to Paige and Momma) and fresh, spring weather! I have good feelings about next quarter.

In conclusion, I am fond of parenthetical statements. Thank you.

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“Non vedo l’ora di vedere Julia Roberts.”

Well, this post has quite the story, but it will have to wait until I’ve covered the lame stuff.

Leisha arrived on Friday and we had a wonderful time crashing some free dinners. At the Law, Societies and Justice Program Dinner we sat next to a law professor and an art historical guide discussing their educations. One had gone to Yale and Harvard and the other went to Stanford and Harvard. WOW.

Sunday was another free day at the Vatican Museums, so Leisha and I woke up early and waited in line. This time we had a game plan. As soon as we were let in, we rushed through the museum, taking all the short cuts and got to the Sistine Chapel before it got crowded. There were about 25 people there when we arrived and over 100 when we left. I think my favorite part of the Sistine ceiling is the large figures of the prophets and sibyls. We spent an hour and a half enjoying the chapel and then we headed home and lounged all day.

Julia Roberts on set, which also happens to be my front yard.

Julia Roberts on set, which also happens to be my front yard.

Now what you’ve all been waiting for:
While studying Italian in our apartment, Leisha and I learned a new phrase: “Non vedo l’ora di…” It means “I can’t wait to…”. So, when Sabrina walked by, we asked her to give us an example of how to use it and she said, “I can’t wait to see Julia Roberts.” AND, I kid you not, less than five minutes later we heard the girls in the next apartment screaming, “Did you see her?” Leisha asked who and they said, “Julia Roberts!” NO JOKE. Sabrina is prophetic. As it turns out, Julia is in Rome filming scenes for her new movie based on the book Eat, Pray, Love. It just so happens that three of the scenes take place right in front of my building. The film crew blocked off the whole piazza and all of the students and office staff and I spent the better part of the day staring out of our third-floor-windows down at the top of Julia Robert’s head. She filmed one scene walking through the piazza, one eating in the Restaurant on the ground floor of my building and one dialogue scene walking past my front door. In the evening when I left to go to Federica’s house for dinner, the were still filming the last scene. When I came down to the front door, I asked a crew man if I could leave and he shushed me. I didn’t realize they were filming a scene right in front of me. So, I watched Julia Roberts complete a scene of dialogue and then the crew man said I could go. In the confusion of trying to get out, I ended up smack dab in front of Julia’s gigantic body guard. I asked him if I could get by and he moved to the side while I passed between Julia Roberts and the guard. I was within twelve inches of her! My mom is so proud. The next day Leisha and I walked through the piazza and got “souvenirs”, remnants of the fake flowers they used in the restaurant scene. Ah, what a wonderful conclusion to my first celebrity siting.

Anyway, Wednesday was quite an adventure as well. Leish and I decided to go to the British School library so that I could check out books for my research project. It started off well; we found an international grocery store and bought the ingredients for burritos, enchiladas and sushi. Success! However, the address I had for the library was wrong. Failure. But we wandered around for hours and eventually found it. Success! But when I tried to check out books, the stuffy British librarian denied me because I’m an undergraduate. Failure. But we found a bus and didn’t have to walk home. Success! But it was the wrong bus and we had to transfer. Failure. But we finally made it to the AutoGrill for lunch. Success! In our irritated, post-lunch coma we made it all the way home for some well-deserved naps before hosting a film screening for UW and RISD students. We screened Caterina va in cittá (Caterina in the Big City). It was a very cute, coming-of-age story about a girl who moves from a small Italian town to Rome, the “big city”. Kind of like me. Except that I’m not Italian. And I’m not 12.

Anyway, it’s been an exciting week now that Leisha is back. It promises to get even more exciting; I am going with the Law, Societies and Justice program on their field trip to Orvieto on Friday.

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Joey sarà Giovanni, un romano.

On Sunday I woke up bright and early because the Vatican Museums are free on the last Sunday of every month. A few boys living across the hall, Brian, Chris and Tye from the U of O Architecture Program, joined me for their first trip ever to the museums. I kept trying to explain to them how large the museums actually were and if we expected to finish any time today, we would need to speed up, but it didn’t really hit them until we reached what I like to call the “halls of no return”. There’s a point in the Vatican were you can no longer roam around at leisure, but you have to follow a one-way-only track with a group of delusional, exhausted tourists packed in like sardines. My dad equated it to being driven like cattle when we visited two years ago. It also doesn’t help that there’s no AC. By the time we got to the Sistine Chapel, the boys were ready to leave. We snapped a few photos, Chris yelled, “NEXT!” and we were on our way.

The Sistine Ceiling

The Sistine Ceiling

On Monday morning, I finally had to address my sprained ankle from Greece. The swelling had simply not stopped, so Jennifer, my boss, made a doctor’s appointment for me. After running all over town and spending too much money getting meds and xrays, I now have to wear a brace for a month, a MONTH!

That afternoon, Joey flew into Rome and I met him at the airport. He said he wanted a “decadent night”, so I took him to get gelato (of course), which we ate by the Pantheon. Then I took him to Piazza Navona where an Estate Romana (festival called Roman Summer)  event was taking place. We saw a group of opera singers performing on a stage in front of one of the smaller fountains. After the opera singers, a group of dancers came on stage.

On Wednesday Joey and I took a short walk to the Trevi Fountain and ate the best gelato of our lives–San Crispino. In the evening Leisha and Jenn, the new library intern at the UW Rome Center, met up with Joey and I to go to Letture d’Estate at Castel Sant’Angelo. It was a book fair that surrounded the castle with vendors selling new and old books alike. I didn’t bring money on purpose.

On Thursday, I had the morning off, so Joey became the tourist and I became the guide. First I took him to the Campidoglio, designed by Michelangelo. Then we walked out the back to see the beautiful view of the Forum from the Capitoline hill. We walked along the Forum (you have to pay to get in now) all the way to the Colosseum. We sat up on a hill there, looking at the Arch of Constantine. On our walk back to the apartment, we saw Augustus’ Forum and Trajan’s Forum. What a full morning! After work, Leisha, Jenn, Joey and I went to Scholar’s Lounge, an Irish Pub to see a Beatles cover band play. Italians faking Liverpool accents. Wonderful.

Arch of Constantine (note the ankle brace)

Arch of Constantine (note the ankle brace)

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