The past three days have been packed with lots of fun and travelling. I feel like it’s whizzed by so quickly, I don’t even know where to begin to recount it all. I guess the beginning would be a good place to start…
Thursday night my friends and I went out to dinner, marking our last time doing so as a group. We went to “Il Barone,” a restaurant very close to our apartment. I had a beef stroganoff-like pasta that was delicious – I thoroughly enjoyed it 🙂 The bread at the restaurant was really good too. Afterwards we went to Silvano’s, one of our favorite gelato places. Erika, who was leaving in the morning, said goodbye to Sam, Katie, and Samuel, and then we went home, where she finished packing and we looked at pictures from the trip.
We woke up early Friday morning to send her off to the airport via taxi. As she was driving away, it hit Chloe and me that this was the end of our short stay in Torino. I’d only be able to call that apartment home for a little more than 24 hours. We both went back to bed, and when I woke up again on Friday, it was to the excitement that my mom and Molly would be getting there soon. I cleaned our apartment and then went to pick them up from the train station, where they were being dropped off by a shuttle from the airport.
It was wonderful to see them. They both seemed really tired – they had been traveling for 18 hours or so, and they had been on four airplanes and in five airports to get to Torino (as they didn’t hesitate to tell my friends), but it was nice to see some really familiar places in my new city. I got them settled in their hotel room and then took them to my school, where my teachers had said the day before that they’d wanted to meet them. After watching the presentations of some of my friends for their landscape architecture class, I took them to get gelato and showed them my apartment, which they really liked. Then it was back to their air-conditioned hotel room for nap time, which was something I needed too. When we woke up we felt really well-rested and met my friends at a pizzeria called Amicis for dinner. The food was delicious – we’d been there before for Erika’s birthday – and I think Molly and my mom enjoyed it. Molly got a margherita pizza, which she loved, and my mom ordered “scampi” which turned out to be massive shrimp complete with eyes! We had a cannolo for dessert and then walked home. I made sure my family knew their way back to their hotel before saying goodnight to them and heading home myself. Chloe and I said goodbye to Samuel, Katie, and Sam in the Metro station, which was quite a sad affair. These past five weeks really flew by faster than anything I’ve experienced before. We’d shared such good times, and we promised each other that we’d meet up again soon. Once home I refused to pack, trying to enjoy actually living there for one more night. Nothing really felt different than any of the nights leading up to it, and for that I’m a little grateful.
Saturday morning brought with it the leaving of Chloe too. I helped her carry her bags down the stairs and wished her a safe journey home. Then the apartment was all mine, and it felt really empty. The life was slowly being drawn out of it, and once I left, it would be gone… well, until another group of students moved into it next quarter. I got ready for the day and met my mom and sister at the Metro stop by my apartment. They helped me pack everything really quickly, then I gave them a little tour of places around my apartment. We went to the Lingotto mall and to Eataly and Pam (our grocery store), then to a nearby kebab place for lunch. I showed them how delicious Blood Orange Fanta is – I really wish we had that in America. We went back to school and my mom took a picture of me by it, then we returned to my apartment so I could say my final farewell to it. After locking the door and dropping the massive key in the mailbox, we headed out, and our European travelling adventure began. We brought my bags to their hotel and took another nap – we’re really digging the idea of siestas – then went out to explore the city some more. We tried to catch Mass at one of the two churches in Piazza San Carlo, but when I went there to look at schedules initially I didn’t realize that the church would be taking a vacation for the month of August (which is apparently something not uncommon for Italy – August is the month of taking holidays here). Instead we went to the other church, where Mass was three-quarters of the way over. It was cool to listen in for the last part of it – the whole thing was in Italian, so we wouldn’t have really understood much more of it anyway. We meandered over to Piazza Vittorio afterwards and ate dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Torino. It was delicious, and I think Molly and my mom enjoyed themselves too. We got gelato on the way back to the hotel, then drank moscato (which we got from Eataly) in our room before turning in for the night.
We woke up early on Sunday to catch our train to Rome. After quickly eating breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and headed outside into the rain. Upon arriving at the train station, we were informed that the train wasn’t going to stop there after all, so we got on a bus and went to the station that the train was going to be at. After this hustle and bustle, we made it onto our train safely and headed for Rome. And what a nice train it was! It was air-conditioned and had comfy seats and a table that we used to play cards on. However, after our stop in Milan, a family got on next to us, and the kids were not very well behaved… one of the girls (who looked to be about four years old) kept screaming at her parents, who didn’t do anything to quiet her. It makes me sad to see parents like this sometimes. I know I’ve never been a parent before and that it is more work than I can even fathom right now, but I hope my children will be better behaved than these ones were. We got off the train in Rome and wandered around for a little while, trying to find our hotel. I asked a police officer for help, but he stared at me like I was an idiot and told me to follow the poorly-written directions on a paper I already had to find the hotel. Luckily, there was a man who was selling tours that was very kind and helpful and gave us great instructions for getting us there. We checked in and again took a nap (they’re widely accepted here, and quite nice!), then went out and explored the city. My mom was missing food from home a little, so we ate dinner at possibly the least-Italian place we could have gone: Hard Rock Cafe. I hadn’t eaten a hamburger at all while being here, so having one was quite delicious! It didn’t taste as fresh as most of the food I’ve eaten recently, but it was still pretty good. We went for a huge walk of the city and saw the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon, both of which were beautiful! We’re going back again to both today to take more pictures and throw our coins into the fountain.
Whew! That’s really all I got for now! We’re going to be starting our “hop-on-hop-off” bus pass and are planning on going to the Colosseum and on a trip down the Tevere River today… what fun! Ciao for now!