It’s time to recap the second week of my Rome program. By this point, we were already getting into the swing of things: buying groceries and cooking lots and lots of pasta in order to save money (pasta from the restaurant ain’t cheap, y’all). I’m basically a pasta professional now!
Early during the second week, our program went to the Roman Forum, a.k.a. lots of ruins + the Colosseum. It was particularly hot that day, and there was no shade anywhere, and few water fountains. I was amazed at our tour guide, who didn’t have one bead of sweat dripping down her face. I’m sure almost everyone on the program was about to pass out from heat stroke. There was a lot of good views though and the ruins are always stunning to look at, especially when couples with some historical facts. We made our way to the Colosseum afterward, which felt so surreal. It still hasn’t hit me yet that I’ve seen such cool and amazing things this summer!
On our walk home that day, we passed the piazza next to our building and it’s a routine thing that at night, the market is put away so that the piazza is empty. But that’s when the musicians come out and play their cellos, violas, guitars, you name it. It’s probably one of my favorite parts about Rome: the music playing in the streets (and it is always good music, too).
Weirdly enough about Rome? I thought my mosquito bites were bad in Greece, but my bites in Rome were like no other. No one warned me about the bug bites! It seemed like I woke up with at least one new bit every day. By this second week, I had two on my knuckles that swelled up so badly that I literally had a chubby fist. It was quite hilarious, to be honest. The class workload was getting heavier already on the second week as well – I was surprised at how much I already needed to study and work on group projects.
At our group dinner in the Jewish ghetto, we didn’t get served dessert at the restaurant and we were all a little bummed. However, right when we walked out of the restaurant and turned the street corner, we saw a gelato shop with tons of balloons. Out of curiosity, we all approached the shop, only to realize that it was their grand opening and they were free scooping! It was truly a dream come true: free gelato in Roma! My go-to flavors are limon and fragola (lemon and strawberry). They gave all 20 of us free gelato and the guys were super sweet (and cute, I might add). I’ll never forget the obsession everyone had with one worker in particular, Stefano (#liveloveStefano). We got a group selfie with the gelato guys and free balloons. It’s one of my favorite memories from this trip!
The next day, we were off on our trip to the Amalfi Coast! We took a really nice train: it was incredibly smooth, air-conditioned, and had fold-out desks. I went with a group of ~8 people and we were all pretty productive, doing our management readings and finishing up operations management homework. Unfortunately, we booked an Airbnb in Salerno prior and the host cancelled on us as we were training there. It was pretty stressful to figure out where we would stay that night but we did it! We got to Salerno just fine, where we stayed at an international youth hostel. Not the best, but just enough for the price we paid. Funnily enough that night, we were all craving burgers and managed to find a place called Burger Bar. Too much Italian food gets to ya, my friends!
In the morning, we all got cornettos (croissants) and coffee for breakfast and took literally the most crammed bus (in the style of a charter bus, #tbt to Greece’s public transit system!) to the Amalfi Coast. It was so crammed that I was standing on the steps by the front door. It was fun at first, but when the roads started twisting and turning, I got quite nauseous and light-headed. It had to be one of most sickening transportation rides for me. Amalfi was so beautiful though, and very, very hot. We explored the little town itself and ate pizza for lunch, and of course, hung out at the beach! Amalfi’s known for their lemons, so every touristy gift shop’s souvenirs were lemon-related.
The next day, we took a ferry to Positano, another city on the coast that we heard was great. We had wanted to make it to Capri and Sorrento too, but we only had so much time and Positano was the easiest and closest to get to. I have to say that I liked Positano a bit more than Amalfi, but both have beautiful colored buildings on the side of the cliffs and turquoise-blue water. The lemon theme was the same though!
We got back to Salerno and ended up eating some Greek food. Afterward, we shopped around on the strip since Italy has the July saldi (sale), which is kind of like Black Friday in the states but all month long.
The Amalfi Coast was a fantastic trip, albeit a rough start. Next up is Milan!