Sunday, September 13, 2009

Starting Classes Tomorrow

I'm a full week into Italian classes, but the semester doesn't officially begin until tomorrow. I've had a great couple of weeks of sightseeing, hanging out with new friends, and getting to know the city, but tomorrow I'll go from being an American tourist to a full-time student.

I've been to the Trevi Fountain twice, once during the day and again at night. It's beautiful whether it's topped by the sun or stars (although, come to think of it, I haven't actually looked at the night sky here and determined whether stars are visible).

The fountain isn't far from the Spanish Steps, which Nina and I stumbled across while we were looking for it last week.

Roman streets are like tunnels with the top opened up. They're impossible to navigate; I pity anyone who has to learn to drive in this city.

Inside Santa Maria in Trastevere, a church blocks from my apartment building. Piazza Santa Maria is alive at night; yesterday, in the wee hours of the morning, I was surprised to see a couple pushing a baby in its stroller in the piazza.

This statue, and several like it, overlooks the bridge that crosses the Tiber, going from the IES Center to Castel Sant'Angelo.

A view of St. Peter's Square in the heart of Vatican City that includes the famous Basilica San Pietro.

Inside the Basilica. It's an incredible, overwhelming experience: the crowds lit with camera flashes, as if fireflies winked throughout the space; guards at the chapel areas, only allowing in those who are there to pray rather than sightsee; tourist groups in matching shirts, each with a unique language rattling between them; awestruck faces looking up and taking in the magnificence; and below, in the tombs of the popes, a group gathered to pray at the grave of Pope John Paul II, and loudspeaker announcements telling tourists to pause, reflect, and keep quiet, as they are walking through a sacred space.

It rained this morning, so I didn't go to the Porta Portese Flea Market; I still haven't bought an umbrella, and I didn't want to get soaked. But I had an excellent weekend that included another trip to the beach, and I'm eager to plunge into academics tomorrow with the freshness and excitement that summer bestows.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, sounds like you're having an amazing time! If you have some left over, you should read the Pope's new Ten Commandments for Drivers in Rome. See if you notice any of them actually happening!! And be careful of car mirrors :(