Day two in Roma began with a morning journey to the Colosseum and since it was only a block away from the hotel, we walked. The tour began with getting head gear so we could hear the tour guide and Michelle’s insistence that I have my picture taken with the gladiators outside the Colosseum (Michelle has all the good pics and I’ll post em when I get them but here is one that my friend Karyn sent to me…Michelle has pics of this guy kissing me…and me stabbing him with his sword…btw..these guys charge for having their pics taken).
After the Colosseum we headed over to St. Peter’s Square where we were blessed by the Pope. My boss and I are still debating whether or not I was actually blessed since I’m not Catholic but I’m positive Pope B wouldn’t turn me away 🙁 After the blessing, we had free time. Heather and I had lunch (prosciutto with cantaloupe) and did some shopping.
It was more free time after we returned to the hotel. I was totally exhausted so Heather and I napped for four hours (I know, I know…how could I when I was in Roma…the city I’ve wanted to go to for forever…but I was SO TIRED).
After dinner we were once again turned loose on the streets of Roma. Heather and I were joined by Tom and Phillip (Michelle and Rosemary came for awhile but then headed back to the hotel). The gang wanted to do some shopping, but I had run out of money (!!!) so I waited for them on the street. I was happy to people watch.
This guy passed me twice. Very cute. Very Italian. Smiled and kept walking. Being the shy, demure girl that I am…I didn’t act..just thought how funny it was to see the guy twice in 20 minutes.
The gang and I continued on down the street and it was dark by then so I wanted to get pics of the Colosseum at night. So we get there…take pictures..hang out for about an hour and then we start walking back toward the hotel. Well….I pass this same guy…AGAIN…and after we’d passed…we both turn around and smile at each other. At this point my shyness is just SO IRRITATING. Of course I don’t stop and say anything. ARRRGHHH.
So the gang decides to go pack and go to bed early. I totally didn’t wanna sleep the last night so I tell them I’m going to hang out by the hotel for awhile and see what’s going on (okay…i really wanted to see if I’d run into Cute Italian Boy again). There were some of our group next door at a trattoria, and they invited me over. Great people: Victor, Shelly, Amber, and Karyn. They invite me over, force me to drink wine and then introduce me to their waiter, Gorg. (george, but with a very soft “g” sound).
This guy stops in his tracks and announces to the restaurant- “My Sweet”. He goes on to hug me…kiss my cheek…tell me how beautiful I am…so on …so on. After a little of wine…I wasn’t so shy. Karyn starts telling him that I speak Italian..and the group urges me to use my pick up line on Gorg. “Andiamo a letto!” lets go to bed(this is totally funny since my mom was absolutely sure that my only agenda in Italy was to have as much sex with Italian men as possible).
The group was cracking up at this..and Gorg was pretty willing to take me up on my offer. So…he brings us more food…and more wine. I’m having a great time with these new friends and then later an accordian player comes over to serenade our table…Shelly pays him more money to play for me…the guy kisses me too…and just as he’s doing that…this other Italian guy that’s walking down the street blows me a kiss. Hmmmm….. Either I must look like an easy American girl or my pheromones are sky high and shooting at every Italian guy in sight.
So…it’s 11:30 and we’re settling the bill and tips and Gorg pulls me aside and says he really wants to see me again…and asks when I’m leaving. I tell him at 8 am the next morning. “Jesus Christ” was his reply which totally cracked my friends up again. So then he asks me to meet him after he gets out of work…at 12:30. Alright…so it’s my last night in Rome..and I have a date with a totally cute, dark haired, dark eyed waiter.
I spend an hour walking around with Victor, Amber, Shelly, and Karyn and then we say goodnight as the hour approaches 12:30. (later, I was told that the group had decided that Victor would wait up for me and make sure I’d gotten back to the hotel safe and sound…but I think he fell asleep 🙂 …and I did promise them that I wouldn’t take off with this guy…okay, mom?)
Anyway….I wait for Gorg across the street on this beautiful set of stone steps and he waves and the smile on his face was just so sincere and beautiful..and I can tell he’s smitten. This doesn’t normally happen to me, so I was a little hesitant about his intentions. We sit and talk for what seems like hours. I learn he’s from Egypt and that he’s lived in Rome for 10 years and that he lived in Amsterdam before that. He has a lot of brothers and sisters and he hasn’t seen them in a long time. He speaks five languages and studies computers but it’s his dream to have his own restaurant. He wants a wife and a lot of kids…and he just thinks I’m wonderful. Seriously…he starts talking about love at first sight…how he can just tell that I’m a great person…over and over he tells me that I’m beautiful (!!). He holds my hand….and pulls me close to him. I had such butterflies…looking back…I don’t think I was breathing this whole time.
I haven’t been kissed in a LONG time…not like this and I’m melting. Seriously. I think I became one with the stone steps. And, then, in typical Gina fashion, in the middle of the kiss…I open my eyes and HE”S LOOKING AT ME!! I was a little freaked out by it, frankly…I think I read somewhere, sometime, about Europeans kissing with their eyes open??? Someone made a good point the other day when I was telling them about it…what was I doing with my eyes open? uhhh…I dunno. I guess I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t dreaming…or kissing my fist or something.
We talk for awhile…kiss some more..and then he buys me roses from a vendor that’s walking down the street. Did you know there are rose vendors walking down the streets of Rome at 2:30 in the morning?? I was anticipating the Candid Camera crew or movie cameras to jump out at me at any moment. I seriously could not believe this was happening to me.
So the kissing gets pretty intense..and I start joking about the polizia coming to arrest us for lewd behavior (I’m exaggerating here, mom…it seriously wasn’t lewd) and he retorts…”oh, no…not in Roma!…hmmm…he was being pretty serious.
At this point it’s after 3am..and I’m really, really sleepy so we walk to the Colosseum hand in hand. It’s really the most romantic thing that’s ever happened in my entire life. Gorg kisses me again…and I’m somewhere outside my body..watching us next to the beautifully lit Roman Colosseum and thinking how in the world can I go back home?? But…I do have to go…so we walk back to the hotel and with one final, lingering kiss and a promise that I will return to Italia, we say goodnight. You know in the movies when the girl walks away..and the guy watches her, and you just know they’re never gonna see each other again?? That’s exactly how I felt at that moment. I walked away…roses in hand with the sensation of Gorg’s lips still haunting mine…He waved from across the street just as the elevator doors closed and I ascended into his memory.
Okay…so I’m getting a little carried away with this description…but that’s exactly what happened.
But just as all good stories must come to an end…so must this one. I left the next morning. Just before the bus departed, Karyn brought a CHA tag to me and had me write a little note to Gorg and she tied it to a tree on the patio of the trattoria where he works. I thanked him for a wonderful evening.
We left Rome…I seriously think I could have gotten home without a plane. I was floating the entire time.
Anyway…we arrived back to the states..and the pheromones must still have been floating around cuz the guy at the agricultural customs booth was such a flirt as he welcomed me home. (I have to make it a point to travel more often).
So….that’s it. It was the most amazing experience I think I’ve ever had. And, I’m talking the whole trip here, not just the last night. I truly feel differently. Like I’ve seen something phenomenal…important things that will stay etched in my mind forever.
Thanks for traveling with me. While I can’t wait to go back, I love being home and being with my family and my friends…but…as I’ve said all year: I’m going to do something bold this year…I’m not sure what but I’ll keep you posted.
Secondly, I just wanna say up front that I’m not posting pictures of Gorg cuz I’m in every picture, and I hate the pictures. But…I will give you all the details 🙂
Rome wasn’t what I expected. We arrived on Saturday, June 17th and were taken to the Vatican Museum right away. The line was L O N G. We waited in the blazing sun for an hour and a half to get in and then it was R U S H,
R U S H, RUSH to the Sistine Chapel. No time for stopping to look at all the amazing artifacts, beautiful artwork, or awesome statues. We did stop to see some of the rooms painted by Rapheal before entering the Sistine Chapel.
The Sistine Chapel was so much bigger than what I expected. And…it was more awesome than I could have ever imagine. There are guards inside whose job it is to shush people. No talking allowed. Something about the humidity produced by breath or something like that. Anyway…there were tons of college age kids talking it up and having a good ole time. I don’t think they were even looking at the artwork.
Anyway…Rome was very old looking….being the eternal city and all…I should have guessed it would be, but I was surprised. Not pretty like Paris. Later, after we’d left the Vatican we drove to the hotel and dropped off the people not going on the excursion to the Catocombs. I went… It was pretty interesting. We went underground to the tombs of Saints and Popes whose remains had been removed to keep them safe from touchy-feely tourist fingers.
The return to the Hotel Grand Palatino was uneventful for the most part, except when I left my bag unattended and turned to find it missing. Luckily the elevator attendant (cute, btw, with a great smile) moved the bag to a locked closet while I was trying to get my room key.
Dinner was followed by a night time tour of the city. I know I use this word way more than a thirty-one year old woman should…but the tour was
A W E S O M E. Rome at night is absolutely beautiful. We stopped a couple of blocks away from the Trevi Fountain and walked through the cobbled streets to get to it. The via was packed with people in bars, restaurants, and gelatorias. The Italian Soccer Team was playing the US team that night and all the bars were showing the game. Italy scored as we passed this little fruit stand and the two very nice looking Fruit Guys were so excited…they threw their arms around eachother and hugged and high-fived. Italian men have no problem with PDA..(more on this later). I might mention that I’m now obsessed with soccer…and with the Italian Azzuri in particular. I’m positive Gianluigi Buffon is going to dump his model girlfriend very soon and realize that I’m the girl for him. Hey…a girl has a right to dream, right?
The Fountain was packed. Heather, Michelle, and I made our way, coins in hand, to make our wishes and take pictures. Four wishes: A wish for the Italian Govt, a wish to find an Italian Love, a wish to return to Roma, and a wish of your own. Being the romantic and idealist that I am…I had every confidence that all would come true. One of four isn’t bad, I’d say….(wait for night two).