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Our second day in Roma was quite eventful. We met up with Kathleen’s friend, Matthew, who is a seminarian at the North American College – one of the seminaries in Rome.

We met up at Piazza Navona, and from there we went to the Pantheon, a Roman Temple to all of the gods. It was raining and we were able to see the rain coming down through the hole in the roof. The Romans, even though there were master architects, were not able to figure out how to complete the dome without it caving in. It has since been converted into a Catholic Church and the tomb of the great painter Raphael lies there.
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Tomb of painter Rafael
We then stopped into Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, a basilica made to show that the Virgin Mary is much greater than the Roman goddess Minerva. This church is absolutely magnificent, a splendid example of gothic architecture. The body of St. Catherine of Siena is there, although her head is kept in Siena. We were able to pray in front of the main alter where her body is kept. It was amazing to be so close to such a great saint and pray for her to grace the rest of our journey as well as for our many intentions that we carry with us to every church.

Next, we went to lunch, a glorious Italian lunch. For our appetizer we had mozzarella de bufala with prosciutto. This is a small ball of fresh mozzarella with lovely, salty Italian smoked ham. For our main course we shared three different pasta dishes. The first, Macichano, Matthew’s favorite, is a meaty sauce over homemade spaghetti noodles. The second, Bolognaise, is another red sauce over thick linguini noodles. And lastly, (both Ivana and Kathleen’s favorite), the Carbonara, is a white sauce which is made by mixing egg and parmagian cheese and then pouring it over the pasta as it comes out of the boiling water. Bacon and fresh ground pepper are added to finish the dish.

The last thing we did was go to a Norman Rockwell exhibit at the museum. This was definitely a highlight of the trip. Being able to see the original work of such a prolific American artist, was amazing.

We then hopped on a bus to head back to our hostel. When we got back, we were hungry, so we went and got some gelato and ate some dinner from the grocery store.

Ciao!

❤ i&k

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One word to describe our long trip to Rome: horrible, rainy, alone.
I realize this was actually three words but after the last two days they are all kind of blurring together and look like one…. So cut us some slack per favore.

We had realized when planning our agenda that this part of the trip would be the hardest going from Lourdes to Milan and then to Rome the very next night – it was going to be brutal. And it was. Our trip from Lourdes to Milan took all day. We had to travel back to Paris, catch a train in a completely different station across town and then travel seven hours to Italy. Things were going very smoothly, we made our connection and were on our way to Milan. However, as soon as we crossed the border the train stopped because of some sort of accident…we didn’t know where that accident was, but sat back to wait patiently… And then not so patiently for the next two hours. We still had three hours left of our journey and no way to communicate with anyone else; we felt pretty helpless and alone. We couldn’t really even understand the announcements that the conductor was making.

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We don’t really have very many happy pictures from this part of the trip, mostly just ones of us looking tired and sad…. But here is a cute picture of Ivana with her first ever snowman from Lourdes. 😉

We finally made it into Milan. We walked to our hostel with the help of Google Maps, we had saved the directions while we were still in Lourdes. We collapsed on our hostel beds and fell asleep.

The next day, we checked out by eleven and set out to wander the streets with all of our luggage. The first thing we did was go and buy our tickets to Rome for that night’s red eye, something that we had yet to do, and then we went to find breakfast. We stopped at a cute little cafe called The California Bakery, this place was amazing. We both got a chocolate coffee drink and a bagel with prosciutto on it.
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We sat here for as long as we could, not wanting to venture back out into the cold. Finally, we left and went to find a grocery store. Without internet, we were amazed that we ski ally stumbled upon a market and picked up some cheese, bread and meat for the day.

By the time 5 o’clock rolled around, we were tired and sore, and in desperate need of wifi so that Kathleen could call her bank. We finally went to a restaurant/bar and sat for a good while. Both of us called our parents. Heartbroken after such a difficult day, we each found ourselves holding back tears as our moms encouraged us to push forward.

After leaving the restaurant, we went to withdraw some cash from a bankomat. It was then that we discovered that Ivana’s credit card was missing! We went back to the train station to search her bags, and just as we were leaving, we stopped into the cafe that Ivana had bought water at earlier in the day to ask if they had seen her card. We knew the chance of them having it would be quite slim and Ivana was completely prepared to call her family right away and inform them of the tragedy. However, miraculously, the man behind the counter came to her aid and brought forth the little blue card! She had forgotten it when she had paid! It was the most beautiful sight she had seen all day! Needless to say we were both a bit frazzled, but this discovery raised our spirits quite a bit.

Because our train didn’t leave until 11 that night, we went to find a bench and eat some dinner. The ricotta was particularly delicious, smooth and creamy; it was lovely to dip our bread into it.

We met some fellow Americans who were also going to Rome on the same train as we were. We talked to them while we waited for our train. When it was finally time to board, we found our compartment and settled down to sleep. Luckily our seats kind of reclined and we were able to get a little more comfortable than we would have, had we been sitting upright. We woke up just as our train was pulling into the station. We followed our map to where our hostel was, and while we waited for our check-in time, we had some Indian beef curry for breakfast. So yummy and perfect after a long stressful night of travel.

We arrived at our hostel feeling slightly worse for wear, but grateful to finally have a place to put our luggage and a bed to stretch out on.
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We took a nap and then went to get some gelato. Ivana got limone and Kathleen got Strachiatella. A sweet end to a rocky few days of travel.
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Ciao!

❤ i&k