June 28, 2006
ROME - Today was our last day in Italy and we couldn't believe it was already here!! We started our day bright and early at the Vatican (there were lines there even before it opened!) As we waited in line we ran into former UCLA baseball player Todd Greco who had just gotten off the train from Sicily. Things like that remind us of what a truly small world it really is. We wandered through the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, it was beautiful! The Sistine Chapel was floor to ceiling Michelangelo, we couldn't believe all of the detail each individual room had.
From the Vatican we walked over to St. Peter's Square. The line that we had waited in just an hour before was longer than ever! It wrapped completely around the walls of the Vatican. St. Peter's Square was magnificent. From St. Peter's we were free to explore the city, to shop, to site see and of course to eat some amazing Italian food! The greatest thing about Rome is that it has the best of all three!
After a busy day in Rome we went back to our hotel to watch the World Cup game, Italy vs. Australia. We found a local pizzeria that had the game on, and what made it even more interesting was that amongst all of the local Italian fans watching the game, there were about 15 Australians there watching as well. The game was a real nail biter, it had us on the edge of our seats for the full 90 minutes, but then in the 93rd minute Italy was awarded a penalty kick because of a foul in the box... and then we were standing on chairs and tables... when Francesco Totti scored the winning goal the entire pizzeria erupted!!! Chants of "Italia! Italia!" (started mostly by us, but the local Italians were eager to join) could be heard from all over the town. What a game!
The Italian soccer team was not the only successful team that night. We won our match vs. Lido di Ostia in 3 games (27-25, 25-15, 25-17.) Jade Machado and Tammy Jackson did a great job of filling in for Nellie Spicer while the rest of the team also contributed to our success. It was our last match of the trip, and what a match to end on. After the match, we showered and ate dinner Italian style (at 11pm). We got all dressed up, ate a wonderful 3 course meal and then walked along the coast back to our hotel. We couldn't believe that the trip was actually over. We went back to the hotel packed up our belongings and got ready to go home. It was such a wonderful experience "getting lost" through Italy and although we are sad to leave we are looking forward to coming home to share all of the memories we've made.