Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We came, we saw, we conquered.. Italy!

Friday morning we left for the train station only to find out our train had been delayed one hour. That gave us time to run back to the apartment and get the few things we left behind. Our train took us about 3 hours until we got to Tampere where we would eventually catch our flight. Ryanair is a low cost flight and there airports definitely showed this, after she checked us in by crossing our name off a piece of paper. I have to say I was a huge fan, with the lines being so short and quick. Since nobody has assigned seats everyone just lines up, obviously we would get in the line last, but we managed to get seats close by to each other. 

When we arrived in Rome, Brooke’s cousin Ambrogio and his friend Christiano were there to pick us up. They took us on a quick tour of Rome and then we decided to check out a pub in the city. It is crazy how many people come up trying to sell you stuff. In the hour or so we were there, at least 6 different people came to harass us. On Saturday morning we got up and headed off to the beach. The beach was really nice and surrounded by ruins. We saw kids jumping off the ruins so we decided to give it a shot. The jump was about 7 meters and the water was only about 1.5 meters deep. After scaling the rock to get to the top, which I might add was a bit scary and difficult we started second guessing this decision. The kids jumping assured us we would be fine and just to pick up our feet. We all jumped and each of us hit the sand pretty hard, not our best idea of the day, but we were all ok after a couple minutes. Saturday night we decided to make dinner together. We had tomatoes with mozzarella and basil, pasta with pesto sauce, ice-cream with strawberries, wine and mojitos. It was really good and everyone helped although Ambrogio was the head chef! After dinner we got ready and headed into the city to go out for the night. There were small little roads with tons of different bars and the place was packed. Afterwards we left and went to the club. It was outside and they played American music, everyone was dancing and we had a lot of fun. Sunday afternoon we took off for the pool nearby. We got to spend the day with Ambrogio’s daughter Martina. She didn’t speak much English but we communicated just fine! After the pool we experienced our first gelato! I think the gelato may have been my favorite.

On Monday and Tuesday morning we got up and headed into Rome by train. When we got there we decided to do the on and off bus tour so we didn’t have to walk as much. The temperature was 100 degree f! First we went inside the Coliseum. It was built over 2000 years ago and took ten years to build. We took a tour of the Vatican and Sistine chapel. We decided to pay extra to do the tour and “skip the lines.” Boy did they fool us. The tour guy spoke for about 45 min outside and then gave a 30 min bathroom break before we could go inside. When we finally got in, he spoke for 45 minutes about the first picture. While it might have been interesting he lost my attention after the 2nd minute. Finally after about 2 hours we ditched the tour and saw the rest on our own. The details inside were immaculate, everything was so beautiful.   Afterwards we jumped on the metro and stopped at the Spanish steps.  There were so many different sites we visited and each of them was unique in their own way. I don’t even remember the names of everything we saw.

Wednesday we relaxed in the morning then headed off for the pool in Parma. We only lasted 2 hours or so because it was so hot and humid. Brooke’s cousin Kathy took us into Parma to see a castle. It is one of only two castles surrounded by water in Italy. We went back to the house and had a delicious dinner. We had pasta with a mushroom sauce, chicken, and some of Brooke’s aunts’ homemade wine. She has a small vineyard in her back yard where she makes her own.

Thursday we got up early and caught the train into Milan. First we went to the Duomo. This cathedral took over 500 years to build and is the largest in Italy. Around the Duomo there were many nice shops and restaurants. Next we went to San Siro, the stadium that hosts Inter and AC Milan’s home games. The field was under construction because they are testing out new grass/turf surface. The stadium is a UEFA four standard. The stadium holds about 80,000 spectators.  After the tour we took the metro to the canals and had a late lunch outside before catching the train back to Parma. The one thing Kathy told us for the train was to not forget to get it stamped; obviously we were running to catch the train and forgot. We thought we would be ok since on the way there they never checked, but one stop away from home we got in trouble! The ticket lady tried to charge us a 60 euro fee for not getting it stamped but we managed to settle on a 5 euro fee instead. We got pretty lucky and were so stupid for forgetting this.

Friday we woke up at 3 am to drive back to Parma. We went and had one last lasagna, pizza and gelato before Ambrogio and Christiano took us to the airport. We had a lot of fun and got to see so much on our trip. Brooke’s family was awesome and took care of us so well! I can’t say that I am mad to be back enjoying the 18 degree C weather and now it’s back to practice for the week before our next game on Saturday!