As of Wednesday, March 30th I have been traveling solo. For personal reasons Jay has decided to go back to the states and I decided to continue on with my travels. I really have not been alone though. While in Barcelona I met some guys from California who are doing study abroad in Rome and have been hanging out with them. Well actually, more like staying with them. They have been very grateful and have let me sleep on their extra bed while I await for my new debit card to arrive so that I can actually afford to move on to my next destination.
While in Madrid my purse was stolen (which included my wallet with everything in it and my camera) so thankfully the hostel we were staying at was nice enough to let me phone my bank to cancel my card and order another one, and they even helped me file a police report. Amazing people! My bank sent a new card to my house in Atlanta and then once my dad got it he had to wait till I had an address in Rome to send it to, and well, I am still waiting on it! It finally arrived Friday according to the tracking system but the hostel never received it, so now I will be spending Monday tracking down my card between the hostel and the post office. Once I get my card the first thing I am going to do is book a very nice room to spend my 25th birthday in and invite the amazing people that I have been staying with to have one hell of a birthday bash!
Rome is amazing. The first day here I was walking around getting lost and I take a left and out of nowhere I am like oh shit! There is the Coliseum right there! It was insane! Around this busy road and somewhat modern buildings you have this piece of history that was built around 80AD. I just stood there and starred at it in complete awe. After walking around it all I could think about is how much I wanted to watch Gladiator.
My all time favorite place in Rome though is the Vatican City. It is by far the best place in the world to people watch. When I first got there, and after visiting St. Peters Church, which is the largest and most amazing church in the world by the way (seriously, thats a fact, look it up), I just sat by a monument in front of St. Peters for over an hour just listening to my iPod, enjoying the warm sun, and people watching. The Vatican brings in all kinds of people and it is so fascinating to observe such a thing. I even went to a mass in St. Peters today with some friends. I am not Catholic, nor am I religious person, but I can appreciate certain aspects to religion and I felt that going to a mass at the Vatican seemed like a thing to do while in Rome. It only lasted 45 minutes and the entire thing was in Italian so obviously my mind wondered, but so did my eyes as it was hard for them not to constantly look around at the beautiful architecture that encompasses such a place. Michelangelo's artwork around me, statues of over 17ft are on the walls, an organ five times the size of me is playing to my right and a nun is praying in front of me. The sights and sounds are so unbelievable, and what it comes down to, which is always such an awe for me, that right now at this moment I am not only in Italy, but in Rome, and in the Vatican, participating in a mass at the most famous and holy church in the world. Just that thought alone gives my body the tingles and it is hard to not smile knowing what I am experiencing at that moment.
Other than walking past the place where Caesar was stabbed, throwing a coin in the Trevi Fountain, eating more gelato than my body can handle, I have been enjoying the relaxed party life at the same time. Since I am now crashing at a college dorm room my evenings have been replaced with the usual relaxing and an early to bed with instead a bottle of wine and bedtime at 4am. I have not met a person yet that I have not enjoyed talking to and I take time in getting to know everyone's story, especially with the people that I am staying with. It is fascinating to hear where they have been, what they have done, and what they plane on doing later in life. More so than ever in my life before I am so intrigued by people and I would rather listen and ask them questions then talk about me. And plus, I have told the same ole same ole story about me to dozens of people over the course of the past few months and I am tired of it. It is refreshing to hear about new stories and learn new things about new people.
Europe is wicked expensive and I want to try and move on to Asia as I really do miss that place, but unfortunately it is expensive to get back there and then back to Europe again in June, so I am not sure where my adventure will lead me, but right now I am looking into Croatia. The Balkin area of Europe tends to be much cheaper and I am dying for a beach right now, which is why Croatia is number one on the list. I am looking into Hvar Island and I can take a ferry there from the east coast of Italy. I have also seriously been considering finding a place I like a lot, renting an apartment for a month, and just hanging in one location for a while. One thing I have found that I really do miss and do enjoy since staying with these boys is having a place to come home to. It is nice to come back to a place and just be able to just sit on the couch and read, or cook food, or take a siesta without random people coming through the room. I would like to find a small little place in the middle of nowhere on a beach and just relax and do things I have been wanting to do for years such as take a cooking class and practice what I learn, read books all day long, do puzzles, meet the locals and learn their culture, and at the same time being alone and living in solitude for a while. That is what I really want, now it is just a matter of finding it, if I can.