Wednesday 28 May, 2008

Tour Tales: Lasagna in Rome

Several EF College Study Tours
staff members are traveling with EF groups on tour this spring and
summer. Two EF Tour Consultants, Jackie Thomas and Janice Johnson, are
currently on tour with a CST group in Italy and Greece. Jackie
emailed us this update from Rome:

Janice and I spent the beginning of our tour in Rome. Rome is amazing.
The first day we arrived, we took a walking tour of the Trevi Fountain,
the Spanish Steps and the Pantheon. It was great to walk around the
city and get a feel for Italian life.

We had about two hours of free time
in the afternoon to explore and have lunch at a little café. We ended
up getting lost and having a glass of wine at an outside restaurant in
Piazza Navona, which was full of artists and vendors selling paintings
and caricatures. Interestingly enough, we were serenaded by a man
playing the guitar … and he happened to be playing Pink Floyd! I think
the best part of Rome was our guided tour the second day of the trip.
Our guide took us to the Colosseum as well as the Vatican, which were
both fascinating.

I think what all of us will take away most from our
guide (who was fantastic) was the fact that Rome is a "lasagna." There
are several layers, some dating way back and some modern, and that
every time they dig, they find new layers. This is the reason why it’s so
hard for them to build subway lines in the city, since every time they
dig they find another ruin and have to stop working and call in
archaeologists to explore the site! I thought it was a great
analogy … and needless to say when we went to lunch that afternoon
everyone ate lasagna!

That afternoon, we took a tour of the Vatican and
saw the famous Sistine Chapel as well as the Pietà. Both the chapel and
St. Peter’s itself were amazing and beautiful. I think everyone was a
little bit in awe of the whole thing!

One of the funniest parts of the
tour was when our guide stopped by a statue of a young woman who was
scantily dressed in the Vatican Museum. He pointed out that she was
wearing barely anything at all and compared her to Britney Spears, stating
that there is nothing new under the sun … even hundreds of years ago,
there were figures like pop idol Britney Spears!

Our guide left us with
a joke at the end of the tour: A priest and a bus driver both pass
away. When they knock on the doors of heaven, the bus driver is let in
first. The priest is very upset by this. When he is finally let in, he asks why he had to wait and the driver did not.
The gatekeeper replied, "While you were preaching, everyone was
sleeping; while the bus driver was driving, everyone was praying!"