Tyler Pauley & Steven Hofacker Blog From Italy - Days 7 to 9

From Sports Information Director, May 23, 2012 | Men's Basketball
by Dan Lukes, dan.lukes@snc.edu, (920) 403-4077

Day 7 - The breakfast tables on the morning of day 7 were buzzing, first because we were going to Rome that morning, and second, because a 5.9 magnitude earthquake had hit in Bologna, Italy. Some people felt quite a shake in the middle of the night, while some didn't feel a thing. It was enough of a shock for us to feel it, but there was no damage to anything/anyone. We left at 9 for Rome, and had 2 stops planned on the 4-hour bus ride. On the second stop, we ran into quite the atmosphere. Rome was hosting a championship soccer match, and fans from the teams (Naples and Juventus) were at the food stop we went to. It was practically shoulder-to-shoulder, and there were almost as many policemen as fans. It provided us with quite the welcoming experience as we entered the historical city of Rome.

We picked up a local tour guide, and began to drive our bus through the city, seeing all of the major attractions. We saw the Colosseum, Pantheon, the Roman Forum, and many other historic attractions. The buildings are truly astounding, and to believe that people built them thousands of years ago with less technology is amazing. We got to the hotel around 4:30, and then had our first Roman pasta dinner at a local restaurant. We walked around to see the city at night, and wanted to see how the Romans lived in the night.

Day 8 - Day 8 was the earliest we had to wake up, 7:15. We wanted to get a head start on touring the Vatican, because our hotel is only about a 15-minute walk to St. Peter's Basilica. We beat all the lines, and walked right up to security. We had our local tour guide again, and we made our way through the most spectacular building that many of us will ever see in our lives. St. Peter's Basilica is such an immaculate structure, and there are so many ornate mosaics and sculptures that it is impossible to describe. Words cannot accurately describe the beauty of the Basilica. After touring the Basilica, we made our way out and started a foot tour of the Vatican and also Rome. Somehow, we lost the Thorns while leaving St. Peter's and when we tried to explain this to our local tour guide, she didn't quite understand what we were saying. We kept walking, and we never got the chance to stop for food, bathroom, or anything. We were all hungry and were sick of walking on cobblestone streets, but we pressed on, simply to see the beautiful city, and a supermodel on the Spanish Steps.

The guided tour ended at 1, and then we were free to go on our own. Some went back to nap, while others wanted to get a closer look at the Vatican. I went up to Cupola of St. Peter's, which provided for some amazing views of the city, and a couple of very tight stairways. The hundreds of stairs were definitely worth it, because the views were priceless. Let's just say I don't think the Cupola would fit the fire-code back in the U.S. Others went to the Colosseum and had a guided tour and learned the history of this amazing building and after had a tour of the Roman Forum. At night, many went to view the lighted up Trevi Fountain in the center of Rome. It was raining, and made for a very eerie scene with the giant statue of Neptune looking out at us. We were all exhausted from walking around all day, and we were all quick to put our feet up in our beds and get ready for our final day in Italy.

Day 9 - Day 9 was considered a free day, but Carolina volunteered to walk us to the lines for the Vatican Museum. Almost everyone was up and left the hotel by 8:15, and the Museum wasn't open until 9. It rained off and on the whole morning, which made waiting in line last pretty long. We got into the Museum shortly after 9, and made our way through the many corridors full of Egyptian and Roman artifacts and art work. All of the corridors eventually lead to the Sistine Chapel, which is full of amazing paintings done by Michelangelo. While many people's attention may be drawn to the beautiful paintings surrounding them, the real attraction should have been the floor. This is because the floor is full of purple marble, which is extremely rare; it has a price value of 300 million euro, or $415 million. The Sistine Chapel was extraordinary, and each of the paintings told an in-depth story.

The rest of the day was free to do with as we pleased. A lot of people went back to the hotel to catch up on some sleep, while others braved the rain to see their last view of the Vatican. We had our farewell dinner at another local restaurant. Many got their last taste of gelato, and socialized in the lobby telling their favorite stories about the trip. While Italy has been amazing, we are ready to get back to America and into our summer routine.

This trip has been a great bonding experience, and it's going to be hard to leave everyone for the summer. We hope you readers out there have enjoyed this blog as much as we have enjoyed bringing it to you.

It's a great day to be a Green Knight,
Steven Hofacker, '15, and Tyler Pauley '14