I have been much humbled by this.
So, here you are, faithful followers: Rome post number one.
On the bus to the airport at 8:30 am. The sunrise was really beautiful, and I had a whole seat to myself to spread out on (not to mention my backpack...cruelest backpack on the face of the planet). There are indeed perks to being the only teenage girl traveling without a dozen other girls you've known since birth.
Our gate, G4. That was actually a really amazing 2 hour layover...one of the guys in my group, Theo, and I got to talk to a girl from France who was taking the same flight as us to Paris. It was really awesome to just randomly chat with a person from a completely different country. She was pretty awesome; she had come to America to stay with a friend over Christmas. It was impressive how many things she and Theo found in common to talk about, and since I'm typically more reserved around strangers anyway I mostly just listened. We never learned her name, but man, that was a cool experience.
EEP! I was really rather frantically excited at that point.
I found out after the fact that I probably shouldn't have been allowed to take pictures during the taxi and takeoff. Huh.
This is the part where I about freaked out...
IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! I loved every second of it!
I may be the only person who can honestly say they loved the plane food.
About halfway through the flight, the plane was a little wobbly, but I was convinced I was enduring horrific turbulence and was pretty miserable for the next 4 and a half hours. More than the wobbliness (and it was just so LOUD after a while), I felt like I had been chewed up and spat out by a washing machine because we essentially pulled an all-nighter, thanks to the 7-hour time difference.
My seat buddy, Josh, was able to sleep. I wanted to hate him, but I couldn't. I was just so miserable after a while. And then they served us 'breakfast' at 11:30 at night.
All part of the adventure, of course.
Paris from overhead!
The terrifying Paris airport. Or maybe I was just sleep-deprived. I don't know. I was actually searched in that airport...fortunately, the French lady who very professionally rifled through my backpack was really nice and didn't take anything away.
I was assured by Fr. Jeremy, our fearless leader, that it was because I look like such a little terrorist.
The French plane that made sounds that did not seem like healthy-airplane noises...
FIRST PICTURE IN ROMA!
My first up-close and real-life palm tree!
The yard of the convent where we stayed.
The epic view from my room, S2, which I shared with three other wonderful girls. We got settled into our rooms, which didn't take too long. Our hotel convent was really amazing...I unfortunately got very few pictures of in inside, but it was a lot nicer than we expected because we got such a good rate for our rooms.
The Vatican Museum!! <3
So, after an 8 1/2 hour flight, and than a 2 hour flight from Paris to Rome, I was kind of ravenous because I had been unable to eat the egg and cheese biscuit thing they served me in the middle of the night. Off to find food and see Rome for the first time!
First food in Rome (come to think of it...first food in like, 5 hours!).
Best picture of Day 1: Italian Diet Coke.
We than went shopping for religious articles to be blessed by Pope Benedict XVI the next day at the papal audience (more to come...). I got a dozen beautiful medals, but looking back I should have brought a lot more. I was so worried about money until like, the last day when I really splurged.
Passed out around 6:30 pm, and I actually got in bed the latest of anyone in our room! Sheesh.
So, that was Day 1 (although without the time change, it would sort of be a day and a half, but for simplicity's sake, I just morphed them together). Day 2 coming soon!
God bless and Happy New Year!