Sunday, December 11, 2011

Day 194 – Santa Maria Maggiore Church and the Trastevere

I've been in Rome way too long, and my friend is coming tomorrow, so I didn't want to sightsee anymore before he got here, or else I'd probably be seeing the same thing again and again, not that there isn't a plethora of different things to see and do here...

I headed out before noon to go for a walk and decide which direction I wanted to head towards. The good thing about booking a hostel or hotel for more than one night is that you can sleep in without having to adhere to the check out time policies.

The first stop was the Santa Maria Maggiore church, which was very close to Termini station. I'd passed by this church a couple times when I was on the Hop On Hop Off bus with my cousin a couple weeks ago, but never got the chance to walk around outside or see the inside. It was very bare for a large church, with a ton of walking space between the doors in the back and the altar at the front. What was interesting was that there were services going on in the adjacent rooms to the left and right of the main church. I guess the chuch is used to the large amounts of tourists visiting. There were a bunch of priests also in the confessional booths. I'm not sure what a typical confessional session looks like, but I always thought both the priest and the confesser were in private booths. Here, both of them could be easily seen!

Afterwards, I made my way towards the Colloseum and Circo Massimo. The weather was cloudy and it rained slightly in the morning, which might explain why there weren't as many tourists as when I first visited. It definitely made for better pictures today though. Once I was at the Circo Massimo, I decided to relax at a bench and read my books. It was a strange feeling, seeing everyone else around me come and go, taking pictures and being tourists. I almost felt like I was not doing the right thing by wasting away just reading a book when there was so much to see and do in Rome, but everyone needs a little break from discovering and exploring and observing.

The last stop for me for the day was to visit an area called the Trastevere, where people said there were many restaurants and bars to eat and drink, especially during the night. It was a nice place to see a slightly different Rome, away from all the ruins, but still a very touristic place. There happened to be some sort of a chocolate festival this weekend, and there were a bunch of chocolate vendor stalls selling their sweet merchandise.

At night, when I was relaxing at my hostel, I met a French girl and an Australian man. We got into a conversation about the French language because the man was going to Marseille after Rome and needed to refresh his French skills. He was an older man, who decided to travel for about a year, around the world. The girl was traveling for 4 months and participating in WOOFing, which is similar to couchsurfing but more about helping farming communities in exchange for lodging. We talked a little about tongue twisters and “faux amis,” or words that sound similar in English and French, but have entirely different meanings. The french lesson of the day for me was a tongue twister - Un chasseur sachant chasser sans son chien est un bon chasseur” which means something like “A hunter who can hunt without his dog is a good hunter.” I think I should memorize it so that I can pretend to be fluent in French...

Santa Maria Maggiore


Rainclouds over Piazza Venezia

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