Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

Rome: An Easter to Remember

Who would have thought at the beginning of this adventure that I would be spending Easter in Rome? Not me! Opting for cheaper flights we had a pretty long layover in the Athens airport. This unfortunately ate away majority of our Saturday, but that’s the trade off when traveling on a budget! By the time we arrived in Rome and got to the hostels it was 7 pm- we had been traveling since 5:30 that morning so we were tired to say the least.

We checked my friend ,Danielle, in at her hostel first and then headed to mine. Initially I knew I would be meeting friends in Rome so I had booked where they had before Danielle and I made our spring break plans. However, the friends I was planning to meet at my hostel were placed in a different hostel by the owner. At first I was a little nervous about what I had gotten into. The hostel was difficult to recognize at first and was not like the other hostels we had been to before-it was much more of an apartment/home-stay style than a hostel. Because Danielle and I would have a really early trek to the airport Monday morning and I tend to be a chronic over-sleeper, I canceled my second night at my initial hostel and booked a bed at Danielle’s. Luckily the owner was super understanding of our situation and allowed me to do so. Plus, we both felt a lot more comfortable that we didn’t have to send the other alone in Rome to get to their hostel-even though it was only about a 5 minute walk.

That Saturday night we headed to the Vatican for the Saturday night service. I swear our metro ride must have taken us to a different world because when we got on it was overcast and just turning dusk, but when we got off it was definitely night and a torrential downpour was ensuing. Inevitably we had to get an umbrella to at least try and shield ourselves from the sheets and sheets of rain that were coming down. I even bought one of those super cheap ponchos in hopes that it’s thin layer would keep me even a little bit more dry.

We arrived at the Vatican awestruck by the fact that we had made it and enamored by its beauty. We hopped in line to try and get into the church but just missed it by about five people as the security repeated “The church is full.” So, instead, we headed to the square where we were able to stand in the rain and watch the service on some large screens. I couldn’t help but laugh various times as I realized A) we were absolutely crazy to be out there in the rain and B) we were beyond fortunate to have such an unreal, unique and memorable adventure. By the time we left, the roads had turned into rivers and my pants and shoes were completely drenched-and when I say drenched I mean drenched! So much so that with every step I felt as if I was trekking through a marsh.

Luckily, the following day’s weather was absolutely perfect. I spent the morning taking a hair dryer to my stuff in an attempt to dry it off to a manageable amount, but my shoes were a lost cause at that point. We had decided to head to the Vatican around 8 hoping that maybe we would be able to get in for the 10 am service. As we approached the Vatican and saw the mobs of people I figured our chances were slim since majority of people I had talked with had tickets for the service. Thankfully this was not the case! As we entered St. Peter’s Square it was impossible to not be overcome by the fact that we were at the Vatican for Easter. Again, I had to laugh at what a crazy experience this is. The service was absolutely incredible and did not disappoint- I was even able to receive communion! It wasn’t until the end of the service that Danielle and I turned around to see the sea of people behind- it was only then that we realized just how close we were. Again I had to laugh; we were only about an hour or so early to the service and managed to end up in the square, while an hour early at my church back home on Easter barely secures a seat!

After the service we had our day of exploring to tackle. We walked the area to find the Plaza de Popolo, Trevi Fountain where we were able to make a wish and the Colosseum. Naturally we had to get some real Italian pizza and gelato throughout the day (so delicious!). After hitting up all of the main attractions and exploring the town we headed back to the hostel to prepare for our early morning departure.

Like Athens, although the trip was short, it was completely packed with unbelievable experiences. Now begins my solo trek of the mini amazing race! Although a little intimidating, I am beyond excited to go to Spain and Portugal – first stop Barcelona!

Chao!
Elise

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