This is from a series originally posted on my original blog: Seefahrer Thayer. While I don't recommend it, you can view the original posts here. Because the content had value and useful tips I've decided to repost them here, however, they've since been heavily edited and updated.
Again, so sorry about not posting anything... from the look of it, it won't get much better. My posts will be just as silly, rushed, three-quarter hearted (because I half-ass nothing: full ass or nada), and delayed as ever.
So the last few weeks have been interesting... I've had a bit of trouble adjusting to being in a group. Which I may or may not have said in the last post. It's been really difficult for me to "join the group" and adjust myself to a strict, rigorous, and disciplined schedule. It's been especially hard trying to work and agree in a group when I've been so (functionally) independent on my own. Just this past weekend I had to walk 30 minutes out of the way to appease a drunk travel partner because they believed they knew the way to where we were going... even though I had the map. Right in front of me.
It's entirely frustrating.
I don't think the problem is functioning in a group, however. I think it's the people that I've been trying to function with. For the most part, it's been people I wouldn't ordinarily hang out with, people that, share little more than a common language with me. Luckily Outward Bound greatly prepared me to deal with situations like that... but it's been tiring and frustrating trying to readjust to the lifestyle, especially after so looking forward to having a social life after a month of solitude and "one-night-stand" friendships.
That being said, it's gotten easier over the past week. But it's still hard. I'm looking forward to being on my own for the day or so it'll take to get to France, and then traveling with Alia- who I'm already comfortable with and can tell to shut up if need be (kidding...?). I probably shouldn't insult one-fifth of my readers like that. Anyway...
Okay, so last weekend I went to Florence and Rome with Travis, Nathan, Luke, and Daniel. It was loads of fun, and sooooo good to be back in Florence. It was nice being able to show them around without worrying about a map, too. We ended up staying a block over from where I stayed the last time.
I ended up breaking my sandals the second day, I literally just bumped my foot against the curb and it just snapped. Which made me super sad, because they were my favorite shoes, my nicest pair, and ones that Sean had bought me :[ Luckily I brought an extra pair... but they weren't made for much walking and they too were destroyed by the end of seeing Rome.
We spent one day in Florence, and two in Rome and the Vatican. We basically got to Rome a little late and toured some of the sites at night, then woke up early and tackled the entire city in one day. I couldn't even tell you everything we saw... basically anything in Rome that there is to see, we saw. The Trevi Fountain, Colosseum, St. Peter's Basilica, Pantheon, the Vatican- Sistine Chapel, ect.
I wasn't a fan of the Sistine Chapel. That's not to say I didn't like seeing it- it was exactly as I imagined-- absolutely gorgeous. But as soon as you walk in you have security hushing you, and telling you no pictures or videos... it was just a really hostile, tense environment. We were packed in there like sardines, feeling like the security guards were looming over us, fingers on the pin of a grenade to be dropped if anyone touched the power button on their cameras or phones. Nathan ended up getting kicked out for taking pictures... which I guess surprised no one.
Anyway, I just didn't like that it felt like the church was taking advantage of tourists, benefiting off of their regulations that force them to purchase overpriced postcards from the gift shop. Just doesn't seem like something that Jesus himself would approve of... seeing as (I believe) a similar situation in the Bible resulted in his only fit of fury depicted.
So Rome has way too many tourists. I'm pretty sure there's no longer any such thing as a "local." It was a beautiful city, but I would die happy if I never had to go back there again. Just not for me at all. And I'm glad I waited to do it with a group.
Overall, though, it was a great trip, I had a great time- absolutely no complaints.