Day 1 in Rome: Saturday, Aug. 16
After our nine-hour flight from Detroit to Rome, we stuffed the bus to the brim with bags and headed straight to the Colosseum. As it was most of our team's first time in Rome, we wanted to make the most of it from the very start.
Our tour guide Leo (Jenkins), who looks remarkably similar to Russell Crowe (no wonder we were going to the Colosseum), made sure to point out all the points of interest on the bus ride toward the center of the city. When we arrived in the center of the city I was surprised with how calm and largely empty it was.
We soon found out that this was due to the holiday of Ferragosto. Leo told us that this was the start of the holiday season in Italy and compared it to Thanksgiving Day and weekend because many shops and businesses were closed. Luckily, the Colosseum never closes its doors.
One thing we noticed right away was that Romans mean business on the roads. After getting off the bus we had to cross a busy four-lane street to get to the Roman Forum. This is no small feat with a travel party of 30. Even Coach Beilein had to kick it into gear when a Smart car came ripping around the corner. That would have been a rough start to the trip.
When we arrived, we met up with our local tour guide, Mia, who took us through the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Mia did an incredible job explaining the ins and outs of the Colosseum's rich history. We learned that its interior was once made up entirely of marble, but over time that marble was stolen and now much of it resides in the Vatican, which we will be visiting Sunday. It was an incredible experience and after everyone took their fair share of Colosseum selfies, we were off to practice.
After a light practice of getting shots up at the Stella Azzurra, the entire travel party enjoyed an incredible four-course meal at a restaurant called San Marco, just a few blocks from our hotel. The courses were all Italian delicacies as the first course different styles of bruschetta, the second was penne pomodoro pasta, the third was a cooked to order steak, and finally we finished with tiramisu for dessert. The meal was incredible, and we were certain that no one would be needing anything else to eat for the foreseeable future. Except maybe Spike, who destroyed two large pieces of tiramisu at the end of our meal.
With our stomachs full and feet dragging, everyone hit the hay early on Saturday night after a full day of running on whatever sleep you were fortunate enough to get on the plane; which wasn't a whole lot, unless you're Aubrey.
Remember to keep checking in here to stay up to date on our Italian tour!
I'll also be tweeting some updates and pictures throughout our journey (@dmulry).
Go Blue! Or as we are saying #ForzaBlu