Bounjourno from Roma!
After playing our clock buddies ice breaker game to familiarize ourselves with each other’s names and pastimes, we hit the Roman and made our way to the Borghese Gardens for some ice breakers and to take in the city skyline over Rome. From our lookout, we gazed at Piazza Del Popolo and had our first creamy gelato. We then journeyed to the Spanish Steps where we strolled along the streets lined with shops and vendors. Our Trip Members tried several types of true Italian pizza as we window-shopped and people watched. That night we all enjoyed our first true Italian dinner at Papa Rex where we all got to wear togas and were serenaded by two Italian opera singers. It was definitely a great first meal together.
Our second day began with a stop at the Trevi Fountain, where many Trip members guaranteed their return trip to Rome by throwing their coins into the fountain, as per tradition. From there, we had our first real navigation adventure when trip member Halle helped navigate our group to the Pantheon. True to backpacking form, we stumbled upon a monument, nicknamed the Wedding Cake on our way over. At the Pantheon, our trip members were able to take in the domed architectural feat and view a perfectly timed ray of light as it shone into the dome. Grace then took over the navigation reigns and led us to Campo de’ Fiori where our trip members enjoyed a lunch with their newly formed friends. After lunch, we made our way to Trastevere, a small neighbourhood on the other side of the Tiber river, where we found unique pieces of jewellery, purses made of Italian handmade goods and had dinner under the Roman stars. Our trip members got into groups and searched for items for our photo scavenger hunt. Crazy gelato flavors, men dressed as gladiators and street performers all were up for points in our trip member game. Congrats to Jess, Grace, Halle, Julie and Abby for winning the hunt! After dinner, we made our way to Gianicolo Hill and saw a sweeping view of the domed skyline of Rome by the star lit sky. Once returning to the hotel, we gathered for a game of “Bang!” (a Westcoast Connection favourite) and had so much fun, we had to play it twice!
Our final day in Rome, our trip members took in the sites of Vatican City and saw the beautiful works of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel first hand while learning about the historical significance of the Vatican’s vast art collection. Following lunch, our trip members traveled to Rome’s most famous site -The Colosseum. There we navigated through the giant archways and imagined the gladiators and wild animals fighting to their deaths. This powerful experience was capped off by a visit to the Roman Forum where our trip members saw the ruins of the most important buildings of the Roman Empire. We finished our day at Piazza Navona where we saw street performers perform magic tricks and breakdancing and ate dinner in Rome’s most famous Piazza!
It’s been an amazing time in Rome and a great start to our adventure here in Italy. We are looking forward to our next stop in Perugia!
The Westcoast Blogger
Do you want to join us on this adventure? Check out our Greece trips for students that includes visiting the Acropolis, Santorini & more.