Italia in 40: Day 34…Pope Francis, Rain, and AZZURRO!

Today was once again a perfect day in Italy. I can’t believe everything came together like it did.

SN: I had planned to get tickets to a papal audience later in the week…

I woke up at 9 and met my friend out in front of my building at around 10. We took the subway to the area around Vatican City. He’d never been to St. Peter’s so we were going to go check it out. First, we walked the wrong way and had to navigate back toward the cathedral. There are hundreds of “guides” always asking you to sign up for a tour, but yesterday they kept telling us that the church was closed until 2. I thought about turning back, but thank goodness, we kept walking and we realized the Pope was going to be speaking in only about an hour and a half.

We got ready to go through the medal detectors to walk into St. Peter’s Square and I remembered I had a knife in my bag. I had a boyfriend one time whose dad always carried a knife and I remembered him stashing his in the bushes one time when we went into the courthouse, so I got out of line and went and hid my knife under a palm tree and then we went into the square. There was a gathering of volunteer health workers in the square and although we weren’t sure the Pope would come out, I assumed he would so I wanted to wait just in case. I waited with my friend for about 30 minutes, but then I saw there was a better spot to get closer to the path that I thought the Popemobile would take, so I wiggled my way through the crowed and found an opening to get into the center part of the square and then inched my way down the gates so that I could get a good view. We waited about 40 minutes and were about to leave, but I decided to wait until 10 after noon, just in case. Sure enough, about that time, the crowed started cheering and I could see the Pope riding around on the screens they had set-up at both sides of the square. A few minutes later he drove right past the place I was standing! It was so crazy! I was shocked. He looked older in person, but he also looked really happy and he was smiling, but looked genuinely excited to be there. I’ve always thought that being the Pope would be so exhausting, but he was out there in in 85+ degree weather, no shade in sight, and just looked stoked about life. I am still just so shocked I got to see the Pope! I officially converted to Catholicism 2 years ago, so it’s extra special that I’ve already got to see the Pope. I hope it’s not the last time…I would love to go to midnight mass at Christmas one day! It’s hard for me to truly believe in the complete infallibility of the Pope, but if there ever was a Pope that could be infallible, I think Francis would be it.

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After seeing the Pope, we were super hot and tired, so we went back to my friend’s apartment. We stopped at a little market and bought drinks, fruit, and pasta and it was only 6 Euros! He cooked us lunch and I sliced up the fruit and we just relaxed for a little bit, before leaving to go to Palatine Hill. We just got to Palatine Hill when it started to get really cloudy and began to rain, so we decided to skip that and go to the Pantheon. We rode to the Spagna stop and walked toward the Pantheon, but it was crowded and raining so we kept getting lost.

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We eventually made it to the Pantheon and he went inside to take pictures and I went to a little cafe and got a coffee. After the Pantheon, we went back to my apartment so that he could use my computer and I could rest. He left around 8 and I tried to take a nap, but couldn’t.

Two days ago, someone stole my credit card info and purchased some stuff from I called my bank and told them that I was out of the country and hadn’t been in the U.S. for over a month, but they can’t do anything until I return to the country because they would have to cancel my card. I called my bank and took care of that and then showered and got ready to go out to watch Italy v England in the World Cup!

I looked online and found a pub near my building called Blind Pig, but on our way there we walked past another place that was more full and had food. We stopped and watched the first half of the game and split some pizza and wine. After the first half, we walked down the the Blind Pig and watched the rest. I really recommend this place. It’s the only place I’ve ever been to in Italy that sells craft beer on draft. They also serve food and it is decorated in a really cool way! I would definitely check it out if you are young or you like beer, or both! I had a beer called Apollo and it was delicious!

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After the game was over, my friend realized he had missed the last train for the night (in Rome trains stop running at 1:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights), so he walked me halfway back to my place and then we parted ways. It was really sad. We met last Christmas at school, where he was a foreign exchange student, so it’s going to be hard to stay in touch and see each other again. He’s the only other person I’ve ever met that is as interested in foreign languages as me, so I am really glad that we became friends. I have really weird interests, so it’s really hard for me to make friends and find people that are passionate about the same things as me. Even though I grew up in the Army, it’s still hard to say goodbye to a friend when you don’t know if you will ever see them again…

I didn’t get back to my place until 2:30 and I didn’t go to bed until 6 a.m…

To be continued…