Jennifer Hall Temple Rome

The Day We ALMOST Outsmarted Google Maps


It’s Friday morning here in Roma, and I just finished packing for my trip to the Island of Ventotene this weekend!!! But that’s another blog post entirely so I’ll fill you in on what’s been going on here this week. Everyone has been grinding away at their work now that the semester has progressed so far. I’m pretty sure most of us had an Italian test yesterday. Can you believe we’ve been here a month!?!?! It doesn’t feel like it at all. I’m starting to feel myself merging into Italian culture more and more everyday. This Tuesday, I had my first craving for their weird fizzy water that I talked about in my first post. It’s essentially soda water but it’s just really light and effervescent and really unique. If you ever get the chance give it a try because it’s slowly becoming a staple in my diet.

It’s always a little strange when Italian and American culture collide. I can’t tell you how many T-shirts I’ve seen that are written in English and are just slightly incorrect, but the Italian wearing it has no clue. On the subway I saw this woman wearing a shirt with shopping bags on it and it said “I am a fashion.” … Whatever floats your boat I guess.

We went to the Church of St. Peter in Chains on Tuesday which is right around the coliseum. There just so happens to be a famous Michelangelo sculpture of Moses in there so the place was crawling with tourists. In order to escape the mob I walked to the local Cafe and got a cappuccino. While basking in my new-found Italian glory of not needing any English to order my coffee I looked up on the TV screen above the bar, and what else was playing but… “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepson. WHAT! IT FOLLOWED ME HERE! I can’t say I totally mind, that song is catchy as all get out, but it’s always funny to get little glimmers of home thousands of miles away.

As far as adventures for this week go, James and I decided to venture out to see an exhibit of the work of Matvey Levenstein ( at a gallery in Trastevere called Lorcan O’neill. Our painting professor, Dan has been telling me to go see it for weeks.  The artist is the husband of a former graduate of Temple’s Tyler School of Art, and his work is very similar to mine… or at least what I’m trying to do.  Dan gave me very specific directions which, of course, went right over my head. So James and I went to the most reliable source we knew, Google maps, to get us there. When looking at the written directions they involved a million and a half right turns, left turns, blah blah blah. I knew I would screw that up. But looking at the map it seemed easy enough. “Oh just follow the Tiber,” I thought, “It will take us right there!” In some ways I was completely correct (I’m sure James would say otherwise). I literally got us within a hundred yards of the gallery. But, of course, I second guessed myself and took a wrong turn at the last minute which then lead us the ENTIRE way around Trastevere. In total this journey was supposed to take us 34 minutes. Well, 94 minutes in, after asking 3 police men and giving in to call my painting professor, WE FOUND IT!!!

Talk about a site for sore eyes.

The paintings were completely amazing!!! And totally worth all the trouble.

Mission accomplished, James and I set off for home. He made it very clear to me:

James: “If we walk all the way there and then have to walk all the way back I’m going to get mad crank.”

(Translation: cranky little baby.)

So we figured out the bus route and waited. Got on the bus, totally normal rode that for a little while. And then… The bus stopped and the driver gout out to go smoke a cigarette… WHAT. This was the most sketchy part of Rome I have seen so far and it was just me, James, and some lady left on this bus. This is pretty much what my and James silent argument consisted of:

James: “Well, we’re staying on this bus. No way in hell am I walking. Besides that lady is still on too.”

Me: “… yea but what if she LIVES on this bus?”

James: “She does not live on this bus!”

Me: “How do you know?”

Anyway, we got off the bus and luckily managed to find a subway stop. By the time we got home we were beat-down-tired but my room mates were waiting to go to dinner.

I totally burned all the carbs in this with all the walking I did. WIN.

And here’s a lovely view from the window of my studio just to brighten your day!

Buon Weekend everyone!



1 comment

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