This past Saturday marks the two week Anniversary of my arrival to the Eternal City. And what an Anniversary it was! The day started off with Confession and Mass with Fr. Johnny Burns (a Bernardian’s newly ordained brother – Praise God!), followed by a delicious breakfast. Then, it was out the door to the Church of Santa Maria in Trastevere to complete a homework assignment for our Christian Art and Architecture class. The assignment was to compare two mosaics in the apse of Santa Maria (Hey, you won’t hear me complaining about spending an hour in a beautiful Church for homework!) Upon completion of this “homework,” the big group we were with split up into smaller groups and spent time wandering around Trastevere. This section of Rome is exactly how you would imagine a small Italian town—so quaint and charming! My favorite part was all the beautiful live Italian music!
After some time shopping, my group discovered a little hole-in-the-wall ristorante for lunch. Jackpot! It was authentic, cheap, and the food was very good! Here’s a test for you: When ordering brushetta as an appetizer for a table of 6, do you think there will be enough to feed all six people? Well, we thought so. Thus, you can imagine our surprise when the waitress came out with only one piece of bread about four inches in length. What did we do? We cut that piece of bread into six crumbs—one for each of us. I’ve gotta say, that crumb sure tasted good!
Katie Moosbrugger, Catherine Underwood, and I dining in style in Trestevere
After lunch we decided to wander farther down the river. We thought it would be fun to explore a little more, so we made our end destination an island we saw on our map. Along the way, we stopped at a couple of street stands, and I made my first Roman purchase (other than food): a beautiful red, white, and blue scarf. USA! USA! Just kidding, it doesn’t really scream “Americano,” despite the color array. Actually, it reminds me of those red, white, and blue popsicles that I used to eat all the time when I was younger (come on, you know which ones I’m talking about – the 4th of July popsicles).
Later that night, I went out to dinner at a pizzeria near Bernardi where I shared great conversation, great wine, and great food with a small group of great Bernardians. When the waiter came we paid for our bill, then proceeded to order another liter of wine. Hey, the conversation was flowing! Then it was back to Bernardi to meet up with all the others who wanted to check out this pub named GPII that a fellow Bernardian had found on the internet before coming to Rome. It was named after the one and only John Paul II! It’s located in the basement of one of the churches on the Via del Corso!
I guess I should inform you that although we knew it was in the basement of one of the churches, no one had checked exactly which church, so our night turned into a bit of a scavenger hunt—one which we almost lost. But, by the grace of God when one of us randomly decided to check out an alley street behind one of the many churches, we found it! Another turn of events: GPII is more like a youth group gathering than a pub. So, for the next two hours we listened to a couple of Italians play some music (mostly Disney songs) and sing the Star Spangled Banner upon request (no joke!) Oh yeah, and two of our very own Bernardians got up on stage and performed. Only in Rome…
Ciao for now,
Nolan Gutierrez playing at GPII