After my trip to Assisi (Very long and Very cold) all of the kids in my program got together and decided to go out to the bars in our Campo. It was a pretty fun night. The boys in our program were awesome and a couple of times had to act as our "boyfriends" so that the 'oh so forward' Italian Stallions would leave us alone-- I tell you these Italian boys are very persistent and don't hold much back!
Sunday we went to the flea market by our house-- I bought a pair of, my friends call them "mary-kate", sunglasses. It was a necessary purchase as the weather was GORGEOUS here and has been holding up pretty well- Cold but sunny. I also went on a very necessary jog with my girlfriend Maya. On Sundays they close off a lot of the roads in downtown Rome so we were able to run along the streets around the Colosseum, Pantheon, River, etc. all the way down to the Vatican-- talk about a scenic run!
Monday and Tuesday we really had to buckle down as our first major paper was due in my history class. It was quite the experience as I've never written a history paper; somehow I managed to come up with something... But don't worry, we all went out celebrating our success Tuesday night. My girlfriends and I found this bar online called 'Ice Club Roma' it was SO cool (pun intended). It's one of 5 ice bars in Europe, except this is the only ice bar without a time limit. The bar was freezing cold-- I mean what was I expecting? it's called Ice Club-- but they gave us all cool ponchos and gloves. Everything in the bar was made out of ice, including the cups, the chairs, the walls and the toilets (not really!). After we headed back to the Pantheon-area and ended up at a crazy Irish pub called Scholars.. it's the one our teachers always suggest we 'avoid'.. but it was fun and they played a lot of great American sing-a-longs.
This post makes it sound like I'm crazy party girl gone Roman, but really we do a lot of sight seeing during the day and sit in the class room and do infinity hours of reading upon reading. We had to bring 7 paperback books over, 2 bible sized reading packets-- and yet, somehow my teachers manage to print off more reading packs for us to conquer in our "spare time". The girls and I try to spend the 2 hour break between our classes at coffee shops reading. One of the only times I miss America is when we're sitting at the coffee shops and they don't bring you refills on the coffee. I really do miss studying with a large cup of black coffee, not just tiny espresso shots-- okay that's my only complaint for the rest of the trip!
Last week we saw more than 10 churches... probably closer to the 20s realm. It's a bit much for me, and they all start to look the same and blend together. But at least I know the big man is giving me Kudos according to ancient Roman Christian beliefs! The more pious you were (1300s definition of pious: going to church, giving all your money to the church, restoring a religious monument etc.) the higher levels of heaven you would reach.
Oh and now for the best part-- Why my weekend was better than you weekend-- as my post is titled.
Early Friday morning, Maya, Carly and I took a taxi to the Rome airport and took-off for sunny Spain. Carla Homedes, our Spanish friend, picked us up from the airport and dropped us off in our hostel located directly off La Ramblas-- and in the center of the middle eastern immigrant-area! There were prostitutes all around at every hour of the day, and on every street corner some creepy-sketchy little middle eastern men offered us beer, weed or drugs.. haha very safe! But really it wasn't as bad as I make it sound.. I never feel unsafe in any of the European cities I've been to-- night or day.
Our first day in Barcelona we walked around the city for 3 hours-- and did our own sight-seeing. Then we had a very tourist lunch in the middle of La Ramblas with a set menu for 9Euro which included 1 drink, Tapas, and Paella. Then we walked around for another 4 hours-- down to the marina, into the 1992 olympic village, and all the way to the end of the pier. It was so gorgeous. We walked all along the boardwalk which sits above the beach, so in order to go down to the beach you have to walk down a flight of stairs.
That night we (usually when I say we it's referring to my girlfriends Maya and Carly) went to dinner at 9:45pm with Marta Homedes (Carla's sister-in-law) she took us to an awesome authentic Spanish restaurant called Mamacafe. We finished dinner around 12:30, the girls and I headed to the hostel to get ready to go out for the night. I love Barcelona-- no one goes out until 1am in the morning! We met up with the boys who were there from our program and headed down to a really Modern, Exclusive & Swanky club on the pier (Guest List only or 50Euro cover charge)-- Opium del Mar. Somehow, in my Spanish (which all came rushing back to me) I snuck past the bouncer and found a manger inside the club whom I convinced to let my friends into the club through a secret backdoor entrance. We ended up dancing until 6am in the morning... needless to say my legs were sore the next day from all of our walking and dancing.
Saturday we woke up at 11 and headed out onto La Ramblas for shopping and breakfast at the La Bocaria. The Homedes invited us to lunch with them at Carla's sister's restaurant right down on the water by the club we'd been to the night before. It was fantastic! The entire family showed up including aunts and uncles and all of their kids. We had such a fantastic time and were there from 2:30-5:30. Carla and Carlos were so sweet and hospitable towards us, and drove us all over town and let us even shower at their house. That night Carlo's brother, Dani, invited us to come out with him and his buddies. We went to the "more ritzy" Opium club called Del Cinema and then on to another just as beautiful club called Sutton. The girls and I were in way over our heads at the most fun, ritzy, awesome club I'd ever seen. Dani took us into all of the VIP ares, got us special wrist bands, and took us to the front of every line-- we didn't have to pay a cover or be on any guest lists. I can't even explain how much fun it was, I think our time in Barcelona will be tough to beat.
Sunday Carla took us to see Segrada Familia before we went to the airport and she treated us all to Starbucks. It was the best weekend of my life! I am definitely going to move to Barcelona the instant I graduate. I love Europe! Sunday night was Superbowl and all the kids in my program went to Hard Rock Cafe Roma to watch-- pretty fun, but we were all so tired we left at half.
Tomorrow we leave for Florence, and we're going to Cinque Terre for the weekend.
Ciao for now from Roma!