I have finally begun my study abroad in Rome. The last two days have been travel, arrival, John Cabot University orientation event after orientation event, and general adjustment to life in a foreign country. I’m exhausted, so I’ll keep this relatively short.

I’ve traveled my fair share and spent my fair share of time in Italy before, but so far I have been shocked by the difficulty of adjusting to Roman life. Granted, I haven’t slept much in the last two days. The issue is the sheer volume of things to adjust to. I haven’t been able to really relax.

Last night was good though. Famous travel guru Rick Steve’s son Andy Steves, a graduate of Notre Dame, started his own travel company after seeing how horrible the existing offers were for students studying abroad. Last night he gave us a brief walking tour of Rome, and took us to a restaurant where we had free wine all night and four courses of food for €15. We saw il Campo de Fiori, the Pantheon (from the outside – it was late).

Two nights ago I took everyone to a place called Carlo Menta on Via della Lungaretta. It’s got the cheapest food in Rome (€2-5 for a full size pizza, and €4-6 for pasta). I remembered it from my trip here last spring with the Notre Dame liturgical choir. The food is solid and the sit-down atmosphere is great considering the price. I’m surprised I haven’t seen it in any of the travel books I’ve flipped through. Sure, the food isn’t fine dining, but €5 for a decent bowl of pasta is a good deal.


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