I promised more stories! During our free weekend, the black kids went to Rome, Italy. First of all, getting there was an ADVENTURE! First we got bamboozled into sharing a bus to Baden Baden with the group that decided to spend a day in Lucerne, Switzerland. We would have come out better monetarily just using public transportation to get to the train station in Strasbourg and catching one. (BTW, I am a transportation PRO now. I’ve used EVERY form of transportation here except a moped. Walking (and walking and walking and walking), taxi, bus, tram, metro, train, plane, boat!) But it’s ok b/c we wouldn’t have met our friend BJ had we gone straight for the train to the Baden Baden, Germany airport. BJ is from Florida, but he lived in Jackson, MS, for awhile (small world). He’s a radio DJ, and he even remembers my dad’s friend Stan Branson who is a radio jock as well. He’s been living there 6 years and is now a huge DJ in Germany, and after explaining how to get to the airport using a bus (none of us know German), he conversed with us about his struggles as a black man in Germany. Very interesting. And we oohed and ahhed over his fly to death 2 year old son Noah. Oh and before we met BJ, we stumbled upon this cute little cafe where the people were so nice. And since it was Mother’s Day, all the ladies got yellow (my fave color!) roses. And I got a REAL ham and cheese croissant. Like sliced honey baked ham ham, not luncheon meat ham (which I’ve been subjected to for the last week and a half). But Baden Baden was breathtaking. 🙂
You gotta get in where you fit in in European airports. In Baden Baden, we thought we were home free. Nobody was at the terminal so we were chilling. Then they called the gate. Oh my gosh. We had to fight to get on this little shuttle to get to the actual plane. Then as we realized the seats are free for all, 21 got smashed trying to get off the shuttle. Folks were running and pushing. It was like we were in a movie. It was CRAZY. We got on the plane, and they made announcements the e.n.t.i.r.e. time. You can NOT rest on those planes. Not only did they make announcements, they made them in FOUR languages almost every time.
FInally, after we landed in Rome, it was night time, and the guy in our group thought it smart to figure out the Metro instead of just catching a cab. I was quasi livid because I don’t like even remotely feeling lost at night in a strange city, let’s not forget in a foreign country. We ended up walking about a mile from the destination metro stop to our actual hotel. I felt like I was walking through the set of the ghetto in The Wiz. There was graffiti everywhere, and the people were scarce on the streets. Then since it was late, our last chance at food was a Spanish pizzeria, where the pizza had no tomato sauce and they cut the pizza where you want and then weigh it to figure out the price. Mine wasn’t that great, but I was hungry.
The next day, we got up early and a beautiful day started. On the way to Vatican City, I stopped at a souvenir shop and got postcards for the people whose address I remembered. Then we got stopped by a “tour guide,” but we were VERY wary. The line was super long to enter Vatican City through the museum, so it sounded good. Finally, she assured us that we wouldn’t be paying her but an office and showed us the office, and sure enough it was a great super duper awesome deal. For 25 euro, we jumped the line, got into the Museum, AND had a guide explaining to us highlights of important stuff. Y’all, the Vatican is SO beautiful. Michelangelo is pure genius. I’m still in awe of all that he was able to accomplish. His sculptures and his paintings were just mesmerizing. The Sistene Chapel was amazing. The Basilika was amazing. EVERYthing in the Vatican is AMAZING. lol
After we left the Vatican, we found a little cafe in search of real Italian cuisine. Again, I bombed out. I ordered meatballs, thinking it was the safest thing there. NOT. They were too yeasty and they had peas in them. Luckily, Chris asked the lady could I get something else cuz I was already going through some personal issues that day, and that had tears welled up in my eyes. I ended up with roasted chicken and potatoes, and it was pretty good. Then we jumped on a bus and headed to the Coliseum. It’s so crazy to me that these well known artifacts are just chilling in a regular city. We didn’t pay to go in, but we walked all the way around it and then explored all the other ruins close by. After we were tired of that, we got on another bus and headed to the Spanish Steps. That part of the city looks so romantic. We sat on the steps for awhile as the sun set, and then we found a little restaurant on the side street.
In the restaurant, we all had Sicilian steak. It was ok till I got to the extremely pink center. But I was relatively full by then anyway. Then when Chris and LT ordered dessert (21 and I had capaccino), the British couple sitting next to us inquired what it was, and a pretty interesting convo ensued…
Ok, sorry to keep y’all in suspense, but I gotta get dolled up so I can finally leave this hotel and start exploring!!