We arrived in St. Peter's Square around 10 AM. It was absolutely packed towards the front. Why? BECAUSE THE POPE WAS THERE!!!!!! That's right. We saw the POPE. Well, we saw him from a distance. He drove around the main crowd where the chairs were (we were toward the back of the square) in his Pope-mobile, then he said an Easter blessing in English, Spanish, German, French, and Italian. Apparently he does this every Wednesday, so we really lucked out being in Rome for this half of the trip. I mean, I'm not exactly religious, but seeing the Pope in person, even if it wasn't close-up, was insanely cool regardless.
After the Pope left, we went into the Basilica. I had forgotten how gorgeous it was. I saw the part where we had our first concert during the EHS choir trip, so I had fun reminiscing about that. After we were done looking around, we went outside and got in line to climb to the top of the Cupola. We met a couple Austrian boys who were standing behind us; they were eavesdropping for a while (I could hear them repeating things we said in between their German) and then they asked where we were from. "We thought you were from some rich country that spoke English," one explained when I told him. We didn't get much of a chance to chat more once we started climbing the FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY-ONE STEPS up to the top. It was spiraling too, and the walls turned inward and were closer together as it got higher, adding serious vertigo and claustrophobia to my exhaustion. It was completely worth it, though. The view was breathtaking; we could see all of Rome from up there. It was a beautiful day for it, too, sunny and clear and breezy. We ran into the Austrian guys on the way down and they asked if they could take a group picture with us. It was cute how excited they were about getting their picture taken with us, although my friends claimed they asked us just so one of them could get a picture with me, because he went to stand next to me right a way. I definitely didn't get that vibe, but they did high-five when they walked away, so if my friends were right I guess I should feel pretty flattered; he was kind of cute. Maybe Austrian guys find sweaty, winded, dorky American girls incredibly sexy. Lucky me!
After the Basilica, Kristen, Holly, Jake and Mike went into the Vatican Museum, but Karl and I were feeling a little strapped for cash (Visa is being stupid AGAIN so I'm not sure if I can take out more money while I'm here) so we ended up sitting by the river, listening to music on Karl's iPoid. It felt good to rest, and now I have a lot of new music I need to add to my collection when I get home.
Once the others had finished around 5:30, we sat in St. Peter's Square again, because we had to meet Lindsey at 7 for dinner. Weirdly enough, we saw a group of other CLM students while we were waiting. What a random place to run into someone. We chatted for a few minutes and then we left. OH. We saw a seagull attack a pigeon! It just divebombed the pigeon and grabbed it by the neck with its beak and almost flew off with it. It was terrifying. Poor birdie.
Lindsey ended up taking us to this great restaurant a couple blocks from her apartment. It was called Il Fate (the fairy) and we got the best bruschetta I've ever had, fettucini (made fresh that morning) in a creamy tomato sauce, this kind of soft biscotti covered in this coffee-flavored custard cream and really tasty white wine for just ten euro per person. They have a student menu, so you don't get to pick what you get, but everything was delicious and unbelieveably cheap. We hall headed back to our hostel full, tired, sunburned, and happy.
I can't believe tomorrow is our last day. I'm not really sure what we're going to do, because our flight doesn't leave until almost 9 PM. Probably more sightseeing...which would be a lot more fun if I had a camera. Grr. Oh, well. I'll have to enjoy being here while I can.