Salve! (That means “hello” in Italian…I’m pretty much a local now.)

My morning started with a visit to Eurgym, and I have to say I felt extremely comfortable there. It’s amazing that a gym thousands of miles away from my home gym felt like home. I was in my element.

After some squats, I washed up and jumped on the metro to see the Pantheon. Actually, I took the metro, got off at the Colosseo station, and took a bus to the Pantheon. I love walking the streets of Rome. There is so much to see, and there are so many old buildings…it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life.

As I rounded the corner (using the navigational app Rio2Rome as recommended to me by some fellow tourists…and extremely helpful), there it was. The Pantheon, in the middle of a large square, surrounded by old buildings and restaurants. The square was swarming with people, and at the front of the square was the Fontana del Pantheon. The columns of the Pantheon were so majestic, and the building felt like it had a spirit of its own. It was an amazing sight to see and experience. Once I walked inside the Pantheon, I looked up and watched clouds drift by in the bright blue sky through the circle in the ceiling. It was so beautiful. I walked around the inside of the building, looking at the religious statues and paintings and reading the plaques. I didn’t get the audio tour, so I didn’t get to hear about the history of the building but that was okay.

Next, I walked toward Trevi Fountain. Again, this landmark jumped right out at me as I rounded a corner. Bam! Right in the middle of nowhere, stands this gorgeous fountain. Crowds of people covered the stairs as people took pictures and threw coins over their shoulder as they made a wish. I did the same.

I favored the Pantheon over the Trevi Fountain and decided to have lunch there. I had a salad with tuna, shrimp, tomatoes, olives, and carrots. I extended my lunch with an espresso. Although I’m pretty sure the restaurant favored tourists, I didn’t care because I had a wonderful view of the Pantheon the entire time. I loved being in awe of those massive columns and thinking about the people who built them. There was just something about the building that had an impact on me. The Pantheon is so old, and so majestic, and has stood for centuries as time has continued on.

My last stop before heading back home was gelato. I stopped by a place I saw on Yelp called Il Gelato di San Crispino. I picked out one scoop of pistachio and one scoop of hazelnut, and sat on the fountain stairs and enjoyed it while staring at the columns of the Pantheon (I might be a little obsessed).

This trip to Rome is a dream come true. It hasn’t been perfect, and I’ve had doubts about myself and been in disbelief that I actually am doing this, but pushing past all of those doubts and fears has been 100% worth it.

Tomorrow I am doing a group tour of the Vatican and St. Peter’s square, followed by pizza!