By Lexi Miller & Lauren Tischer
We began our day early as we left the hotel around 8:00 am for our lecture of the day. After two bus rides we arrived at CONI, the Italian National Olympic Committee, where we heard our speaker Giovanni Malagò, the president of CONI.
During our lecture Giovanni Malagò discussed the Milano and Cortina Olympic candidacy for the 2026 Winter Olympic Games. These two cities offer such different advantages for the games, they are both being bidded, which is the first time ever for this to happen. Milano is a more modern capital which is better for hosting families, and its location is better suited for the necessary indoor facilities. While, Cortina on the other hand is made up of mountains and what not which makes it better suited for the outdoor events such as snowboarding and alpine skiing. He also mentioned that there was going to be a large focus on their values which included flexibility, efficiency and sustainability.
After this lecture, we all made our way back to the hotel to grab lunch. We had to fuel up in order to make it through the bike tour we had coming up. The other day we did a city bike tour of Rome, while this time was a country-side bike tour of the outskirts of Rome, more specifically along the ancient Appian Way. Let me just say, this was an adventure. Definitley not what anyone was expecting and completley different from the previous bike tour. So the Appian Way is one of Romes ancient roads that connected Rome to Brindisis, southeast Italy, consturcted about 2000 years ago. Along this trail we saw several historical sights including the Villa Di Massenzio, Mausoleum of Romulus, Mausoleum of Cecillia Metellia and lastly Capo di Bove.
The bike tour started out pretty slow as it took us a decent amount of time to bike out of the city and get to the backroads. By the time we got to backroads, we immediately began biking up long steep hills that would eventually lead us to where we were going (which coincidently, incorporated only more hills to bike up). The beginning of the bike tour was made up of beautiful picture taking, historical sight-seeing, great city views; meanwhile the end was more so revolved around dodging large rocks and riding bumpy gravel roads attempting to not fly off the bike just to make it out alive. Safe to say, it was not easy – but we did indeed make it!
Once we reached about half way through the bike trip, we landed at this stone water hole that allowed us to refresh and quench our thirst with fresh spring water from the castle. Here is a picture of the stone watering fountain along with the two tour guides who led us around.
Getting to this point seemed like it was a lot simpler than getting back from this spot. The tour guide even said, “don’t ride on this part of the street because it’s not healthy because how bumpy it is,” which should have been the firest warning sign! The way back seemed to be steeper, bumpier and filled with more rocks and ditches. After being brutually tortured by these gravel roads and bumps, we thought we were close to th end. But next thing we knew we are sprinting across the road to get to a grassy area, with again, more hills. Another warning sign we should have taken in to account was then the guide warned us about making sure we stay single file in order to make it up the hill and emphasizing the idea of a need for speed. Here is a picture of the trail we began blazing at this time.
At this point, everyone was already wondreing how we got on this bike tour in the first place and questioned if we are going to make it out alive. Chains were falling off, people were falling off, there were overgrown plants, gravel, mud, sandy paths and who knows what else; we even passed a chicken coup.
Even though everyone emerged unscathed, everyone experienced sour bums, tired legs and scratches and bruises, but all of that came along with good pictures, fun stories and memories (and a different view on country bike tours) which made all the troubles worth it.
By this time, everyone was a little hangry. It’s been a while since we last ate and we just biked through rocks and gravel, so everyone was ready to settle down. When we landed at the bike stop everyone eargerly dispursed to different places for food. Before we got food, we stopped by Vaticain City to see the St. Peters Square. The building and area were gorgeous and we couldn’t help but capture the moment. Here is what we got.
We carried on with more picture taking and slowly made our way to a highly recommended pizza place, PizzaZizza. This has to be my favorite restaurant thus far. The atmosphere was so enjoyable and the pizza was even more enjoyable. They serve you a platter of several different pizzas for you to “sample”. Along with the pizza, we all got drinks that we desperately needed after the long bike ride we participated in.
After enjoying the end of our day at this cute little place, we made our back to the hotel. This was not as easy as we planned and took us quite some time to figure out. But all is good cause we made it back alive and well and continued to carry on with the rest of our night. When we got back to the hotel we all joined in one room and hung out for the rest of the night. Times like these are what we will appreciate coming out of the trip as these are friendships we will cherish forever.
ROMA! ROMA! ROMA!