Make that a vintage jet plane. A few hours ago, the One O'Clock said goodbye to the wonderful country of the Netherlands and boarded a plane for Rome. We also said goodbye to a few people who have been traveling with us since we arrived in Zurich. Phil Bulla (our sound engineer) and his wife Renee are returning to New York-- they happen to live less than an hour from where I will be moving in 2 weeks! We also parted ways with our tour guide Padta (we will miss her early morning musings) and our slightly eccentric bus driver, Pierre Luigi.
As I write now, I am aboard what seems to be a particularly old MD-80 jet. The seats and UNT-green and many of the warning lights in the cabin don't actually work. The weirdest and most annoying part of this flight (all ninety minutes!) is the cabin beep-- you know, that beep that happens when you've reached your cruising altitude or when someone calls a flight attendant? It is about 10 times louder than any other cabin beep that I've heard and is blasted through speakers that sound fuzzy and broken-- but on a side note, I did just get a great sandwich as a snack-- and for free! Meh, its not that bad-- at least my seat it attached to the floor.
Later that day....
Wow, Rome is quite amazing. I mentioned earlier that we split ways with our old tour guide; we met up with a new tour guide today, Bobby-- he is very knowledgeable and is a great guy. Our first experience of the city included a guided bus tour of Rome. We saw such sites as the ancient city wall, the pyramid at the gate to the city, and the Colosseum. This sights are truly awe inspiring! After the bus tour, we were given a few hours of free time to explore and grab some food. I ended up near the Spanish Steps eating some Italian pizza-- this was surprisingly cheap and quite a humongous portion. We also purchased some gelato: I, being my paranoid self, made sure to ask exactly how much what cost-- others were not so lucky and some ended up with cones of gelato that cost 20 Euro!!
First impressions of Rome:
1. What a beautiful city-- full of so much history. I can't even fathom how the Italian people live amongst these ancient ruins without become distracted by the age, beauty and ingenuity of each piece.
2. If I said that Amsterdam and Rotterdam were crowded and crazy, I don't know how to describe Rome-- There don't seem to be as many locals roaming the streets, but the traffic makes up for it. I'm pretty certain that there aren't any traffic laws-- as it seems like nobody follows them (I couldn't imagine driving). Crossing the street isn't like a game of Frogger, it is more akin to Chicken. The houses are built on top of each other-- and on top of old ruins/ what i would consider as an American, to be ancient.
3. The Italian people are beautiful. Period.
4. Can I mention, once again, the amount of history in this city?
I can't wait for our free day, tomorrow, in Rome.