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Day 2
Monday, 31st of July

I woke up at about 7:00 AM or so. I went to take my breakfast. Anna came and had her breakfast with me. She told me that they plan to go to Rome for 2 days on their own. My plan was visiting Rome on the 2 days, but to go and come back on the same day, and not to spend the night there..because simply I do not know where to stay!
I went with her at about 8:00 AM to the train station in Civitavecchia, where I found an offer, which was similar to the offers I had in Austria. You pay about 13,000 Liras (6.5 US$) for a one day, two way ticket to Rome, which includes all the transportation in Rome, including trams, buses, subway, etc..

In the train, I met Dr. Daniel Dobrowski (?) who teaches philosophy. I spent the way from Civitavecchia chatting with him, his wife and his son. It was a one hour trip, but it really passed quickly and I had such a nice company. We chatted about everything, from my study, to his speciality...everything! They left me in Rome Saint Pietro (the Vatican train station), where I had to go to Stazioni Termini.

So.. I like adventure! I just came out of the train (10:00 AM), and went to the information desk and took from them a map for Rome. I must say that Rome is not such an easy city..! The map was so difficult! For me, Vienna was easier. I walked out of the station, and spent sometime believing that the distances on the map are shorter than what they look like! I actually wanted to go from termini to the colloseum on foot!! :) Anyway, after a 20 minutes walk, I went to the first tram station, and asked them for the tram that goes to the colloseum!!

There is something I really liked in Italy..I do not look like a foreigner at all there..except for the map in my hand!! In Austria, as Nina of Carinthia, a girl I met in the streets of Leoben, told me that I look like somebody who has non-Austrian parents..but still has been living in Austria! What I noticed in the Italians that they share with us the Mediterranean feelings..they are friendly and you can just spend some time talking to your neighbor in the tram..no problem while in Austria, it is totally different!!

A funny thing happened in the tram. I sat beside an Italian lady--something like 40 years old. So, that lady started to speak to me, feeling that I am Italian! I replied with my well-known phrase, which I actually derived from French in fact, saying "No porlo Italiano!" :) The lady was impressed, and she asked whether I am Greek or Spanish, but I said no I am Egyptian! Out of her surprise, she said something that I managed to get out of it two words: "Visago blanco!"...which is pretty close to what means in French :"You got a light face!" :)) I was glad to change the strong belief that an Egyptian means something similar to what they have seen with Michael Jackson in "You remember the time" song, where we are all look like Magic Johnson, Eddy Murphy, or Naomi! :)

My first stop was the coloseum. I was glad to be there, because that was a place I always dreamt of passing by! :) It is a cool biig old place!

It was about 11:00 AM when I was there actually. I do not know for sure what happened, but I went and passed by Altar, and the museum of Rome until it was 12:00. "This is lunch time", my stomach said! So, after taking some photos, I went to to the city center, or what they call Venice Square (Piazza Venezia).

As some of my American or Austrian friends know or said, my English is a quick New-Yorker American English with an Egyptian accent (in SAS, some said it looks like an Israeli accent!). When I speak slowly, and stress the pronunciation the way it is said in Oxford dictionary!, people think that I am from the UK--which is totally wrong!! Anyway, I found a policeman, and I asked him about the closest McDonald's!

People I know will say what a stupid! Yeah..you are in Rome...the city of Pizza and Pasta..or Italian Gilati (Ice Cream)..and you go to eat McDonald's and McFlurry!!!
Well, because I preferred to avoid the difficulty of asking about pork in the food, or alcohol in ice cream, I preferred to hit for what I know!!

Anyway, I took a long road to that "closest" McDonald's! For my surprise, I found an Egyptian obelisk in front of it, a big fountain, and the biiig pantheon of Rome! So, I was surprised that the pantheon is in front of McDonald's! ..modernization!!! :))

This is it. Just from where the guy took that photo, this is where McDonald's is! I took couple of photos there, with this fountain and the obelisk! I got McDonald's McFish, and sat there under the column enjoying the lunch! :) I entered after that inside it, and took a photo inside the pantheon.
That is how it looks from inside...but this is not my photo! That was my last photo, so I mounted a new film under the columns again! I started my long way to the Vatican now..that was the new destination!

The Vatican
So..which way leads to the Vatican??!! They say that all the roads lead to Rome, but do they lead to the Vatican!! I started my way back to one of the important points I know about in Rome, which is nothing but the colloseum! It was about 1:00 PM. I went to the nearest bus station, and I found a man who had nothing to present to me except to pointing at some street as the way to the Vatican!!

In Rome, the situation is different from what is in Vienna. In Vienna, all the buses and tram lines follow a strict time schedule. It has never been the case that a bus did it late! Anyway, I kept on walking where the man pointed at, and I found a big sign for the metro of Rome, the metropolitan as they call it. I went to the information desk, and the man there was really friendly and he indicated the direction to the Vatican--Saint Pietero!
And..it was it..saint Pietro!
This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest churches ever! Yet, I could not get it because I had my shorts..and you are supposed to be dressed in long jeans or trousers to visit it. So, I just took some photos in its square.

I took couple of photos showing the obelisk. The guy who helped me in taking them came out to be an Irani-American..imagine this!!

So..since they did not allow me to visit Saint Pietro. So, the next logic step is the Sistine Chapel, to see what Michealangelo did in the ceiling!! That was the so-called Vatican Museum. In fact, I went there to visit the WC!! :) because I thought they would not allow me to visit it because of my shorts..but after using the WC, I discovered that they do not have problems here!! :)) So..cool..I did it anyway! :)

I skimmed through the halls quickly, because it closes at 4:30, and it was about 3:00 PM at that time. So, I passed by all the drawings of Rafeal, Donatello, Michealangelo..but Leonardo was not there (so that the 4 Ninja Turtles..u know!! :)) The museum had an Egyptian section, which was closed (oh....shXXX!!!)..this also happened in the fine arts museum of Vienna by the way!!! :))

Lots of people found taking such a photo interesting..this is the staircase when you leave the vatican museum! I did not leave until it was 4:30 PM! Then, my next destination was to Spagna..or the Spanish steps. I took the metro and made it to Termini (the train station) to check the times of the trains. I decided to take the one that leaves at about 7:00 PM. So, I had some time to go to Spagna. In fact, I wanted to visit fontana de Trevi..the very famous fountain that is well known for the rumor of throwing a coin in it to return back to Italy!
I took the subway. Yet, the subway had a problem and they were fixing it. So, it stayed in Termini station for about 15 minutes, and the Italian guy announced in the mic that there is a major problem and they cannot move without fixing it!! So, I took the bus no. 492! :) So, when I went up, a pretty Italian young lady went up and the bus was crowded and she could not find a place to stand. So, I gave her my place, and she was really contented for that! :)) I was also because in fact I gave her my place in purpose of asking her about Trevi!! :)) So, she told me where to leave and how to go there.
I followed her description but, I found myself in the Spanish steps (Spagna) and not in Trevi. Anyway...!! It was a cool place. Here, I took two photos also..one on the stairs showing up to the church, and showing the Egyptian Obelisk, as well as one near the fountain. At that time, it was almost 7:00 PM and I was really exhausted..so I took the subway back to Termini.

I spent some time waiting for the train, and I took the new one..two levels train! :) In front of me, sat an Italian gentleman. He was helpful in telling me when Civitavecchia appeared.

It was dark..almost 9:15 PM. and I was really tired..sort of searching for my room, the shower and the bed!! :)) I made it, and was in bed something like 11:00 PM!!


Day 3
7 Days with SAS