"I have waited FOREVER to start writing my posts on Europe. I havent blogged since September 2012 (which is unlike me), my first full month of living in Europe and life has just been busy since! That's one excuse, and another excuse is just me simply stalling. I knew how long these posts would take. I lived 5 weeks each in 3 different major European cities for for 4 months, and did everything and more that I sought after doing. Rome, Paris and Seville were magical memories that I can already say contributed to my already-born love for culture, travelling, the world -- and the experienced woman I am becoming. lindaRome was the first city I lived in, spefically from August to late September. Rome was HOT, literally and figuratively. The weather reminded me of Jamaica and those who know me know that I LOVE sun, I don't care how black I get. Those who know me also know that I love to do the majority of things people like to do together...by myself. About 80% of my activity in Rome was done SOLO and it was intentional. I check off my to-do list faster and in the end I always turn out satisfied, that's what happens when you develop that awesome "I depend on no one" mentality. It's a GREAT thing that is highly recommended to get into if it isn't too late for you. The only thing I was honestly expecting to see when I hit Rome was the Colosseum. But after getting there, years of history that I learned since in Elementary School up until High School came back to me, especially from my High School, Boston Latin School. Rome was simply amazing! The attrcations that dated back to when Rome became the first civilization, the food (paninis, pizza, pasta, GELATO --- I AM NOW OBSSESSED WITH GELATO though I didn't understand the hype when I first got there), the nightlife, the weather, the cleanliness, everything was simply awesome. It is a city where you can walk everywhere. I could walk to the Vatican in 15 minutes. Now whenever I decide to go back to visit, I'm sure I will remember how to get around as before. Extremely beautiful city and I smiled non-stop as I browsed through the pictures to garner for this post."
FROM AN OLD BLOG POST!
Churches, Basilicas, Pantheons
Spotlight: The Creation of Adam
"The Sistine Chapel is located in the Vatican, if you look closely at the ceiling, you can see where Michelangelo painted God almost having a human interaction with Adam. If you ever visit, you'll see this is what everybody will be looking for -- it's hard to find in Michelangelo's, yet again, extraordinary work. Compelling.
"I went to an infinite amount of places by foot, mostly solo, and developed a deeper understanding and love for art. I visited places I only dreamed of visiting (for instance, the Trevi Fountain that I always remembered was feautured in the Lizzie McGuire movie) and discovered places I never knew were even important (yes I did NOT know the Sistine Chapel was important, much less the most important church in the world with the most famous painters' in the world work on its ceiling *sews blonde weave in now*). You guys don't understaaaaaaaand how freaking enlightening and self-satisfying it is to be in the most historical city in the world, exploring history by yourself in beautiful weather. Not every picture is seen below, but most of the attractions I visited were: The Colosseum (after already seeing it, my friends and I accidentally got lost while trying to find the ONLY Jamaican restaurant in Rome and it was so AMAZING/SCARY/SHOCKING to see it at night with it lightened within --- like WTF is that The Colosseum my ni**a?) , Roman Forum, Paletine Hill, Teatro Pompeo (where Brutus and others stabbed Caesar), Pantheon, Campo de Fiori (I did lots of reading and eating of gelato here), the Tiber River (we'll get into that in The Nightlife section), Fountain of Moses, Trevi Fountain (I went back TWICE to toss coins after doing it wrong the first time and passed by countless times on accident -- starstrucked every time), Spanish Steps, Crypt of Goths, Forum Boarium, Via del Corso (the shopping street), Castel Sant'Angelo, Primavalle, Corviale, the Ecstasy of Teresa (DREAMT to see this), St. Peter's Church (I saw the Pope and got 3 rosary beeds blessed by the Pope for me, my mom and grandma -- 3 generations -- thought it would be cool), Sistine Chapel, Vatican City in general, and my Roman boo Tony took me on the sky elevator to the top of the Vittorio Emanuele II Monument overlooking Rome (you can see the Colosseum -- again) and he also took me to a dope, top secret spot where you can see the Vatican PERFECTLY through a key hole. It is truly the city of LOVE lol. I'm realizing now that I felt nothing but happiness there. I even saw a Ferari frenzy in front of an important church while sight-seeing with my class, and later learned that Italy is home to the Ferrari! I must sound so dumb to a car-head right now. And of course we just happened to be there for Fashion's Night Out! It wasn't Milan but it WAS Italy. I wasn't expecting to be in Italy for a FNO at any point in my life lol."
"The food was amazing of course! I don't need to get too deep into this, but in the beginning I didn't see all that difference between the Italian food I ate in the States and Rome. Nah son, how wrong I was. There is very much A difference (I realize now) and gelato saves lives. I can't ever eat ice cream again without reminiscing on the real deal. If I was rich I'd buy a jet just so I can fly it to Old Bridge (where the Pope gets gelato) JUST so I can get a large caramel/mango/banana/strawberry mixture of gelato -- orgasm. It gets deep, it's unreal. However, all the food was awesome. Me being a Jamaican doesn't sit well with cultures that don't have a variety of food. Sooner than later (too soon) I was tired of the same ol' paninis, pasta, pizza -- that's literally all you'll find. I became desperate and started to search online for Jamaican restaurants and there is only ONE in Rome. It's called Jamrock and it was my SPOT. Every Thursday -- in there, and that's where I met my blue-eyed boo lol. The owners were amazing and so friendly. Being Jamaican really helped a girl out. I met Italy's dancehall queen and got into a few dancing sessions, the sketel part of me couldn't avoid it. The food was actually REALLY good, and I'm pretty sure I'm just not saying that because I was desperate. The curry chicken patties omgosh --- LIFE (my friends liked the dumplings more and thought I was crazy). Jamrock is also the spot Caribbean entertainers stop by and eat whenever they are in Rome, you'll see pictures around when inside (including Aidonia). I frequented Jamrock the most, but I also went to others. To name a few: Ottimo Ristorante, II Piccolo Diavolo, L'isola della Piza, Enoteca Barberini, Hard Rock Cafe, La Tana de Noantri (in the famous region of Trastevere -- famous for its restaurants), Obika, Miscellanea, Ristorante Cacciani in Eataly (I also found out there's an Eataly in New York City and recently passed by it -- it's much smaller), Pastarito (a few times lol), T-Bone Station, Wok Restaurant, San Marco Tacito and Becks & Becks."
Foods to try!
Spotlight: Old Bridge Geletaria
By far my favorite gelato in Rome! It's located across the street from the Vatican, and this was also the favorite of the Pope at the time. I cannot describe how good this gelato is!!!! My favorite was always the mango/strawberry/caramel and banana mix!
"And last, but never the least, because Rome was too awesome for there to be an ending, the nightlife. Now let me tell you, I was not expecting to hear Bands Will Make Her Dance in Studio 18 (went a million times after that). Neither was I expecting for there to be a Dancehall night at one of the parties on the historical Tiber River. YES, that's right, I said DANCEHALL not Reggae (I wouldn't be surprised if they were playing Reggae, all races love Bob Marley, but no they were playing Konshens honey). And YES, that's right, we were partying on the Tiber River! The river we learned about in Middle School! In fact, every summer there is a string of different parties that are hosted alongside practically half of the Tiber River. SICK! In addition to Mood, Scholar's and Drunken Ship, I had a great time. What probably topped it off for me was Zoobar though! Of course I would find out that there is a Danchall life in Rome the LAST Saturday I had in Rome. I felt like I was in Jamaica. It was unreal. My Rome boo showed me a great time and Zoobar will never be forgotten, the herbs won't either lol. "
Living in Rome was awesome! I really enjoyed venturing off on my own while studying abroad to places I've always wanted to visit and connected with amazing Italian people, while meeting up with friends living abroad as well! I also ventured off to Italy for about two months to write a little over a year later. One time when meeting a friend coming to visit at the main train station, Roma Termini, we ran into protest on the way back (which was crazy, because 5 minutes before nothing was going on)! Let's just say protests in Europe are a lot different than the ones in America. We couldn't believe they were throwing bomb-like things at the guards -- who were at the time, barricading the entrance to the German embassy. You only see this sh*t on TV. St. John's outdoor courtyard in the middle of the building. So convenient to just take an elevator from your room to serenity. I read my Bible and Fifty Shades a lot here. I also couldn't believe I ran into my neighbor, Priston (who has been serving for the US army for several years) at a Sizzla concert! It was TOO surreal and it made my night! There are also times, like with any extended trip outside of America, that I actually start missing that place lol. I was so happy to be at places like Hard Rock Cafe at where I had American options! One of the things I appreciated about America is the diverse options you can find, especially in places like NYC, Boston, Miami, LA, etc. Still, I had great Italian dishes at La Tana de Noantri in Trastevere, II Piccolo Diavolo, Obika, Eataly, Enoteca Barberini, L'isola della Pizza amongst many others. Most of my food experiences was my weekly food shopping consisted of: bread, coca-cola, and a bottles of wine for every passing day!
If I would do it again? Hell yeah!