Sunday, July 6, 2014

Roaming Rome (hehe word play)

Who doesn't love souvenir shops?!

As I type this, I'm sitting on the top step of Palazzo delle Esposizioni, looking down on Via Nazionale in Rome. It's the last night of my third trip to Rome, and the three words that cross my mind probably 15 times a day are again going through my head: I'm so lucky. 

This is my first time traveling during the summer and it's much different. On one hand, packing is better because clothes are so much smaller and lighter. Seeing the different monuments surrounded by trees in full bloom adds an extra degree of beauty to appreciate, and it's pretty wonderful to find a shady spot to sit and write for a while. On the other hand, the amount of tourists (much as I hate to admit it, I know I fall into this category) that have flooded the city is astonishing. You're constantly walking around or stuck behind a crowd, and it's impossible to avoid walking through people's pictures. The heat is also intense and can make the crowds feel even more claustrophobic. 

Holly and I with our bud Pinocchio 

Usually when I've traveled I've been more of a follower than a leader, but for Holly's first trip to Europe I wanted to be as organized as possible. 

Rome has been a pretty easy city to navigate with a map and I've only taken us in the wrong direction a few times. Earlier when I was trying to find a street sign to pinpoint our location, Holly asked if the map on my phone was broken or something, and I know I could use that but it's actually easier using a printed map here and feels more authentic. I'm starting to get the hang of where things are. I'd love to really know a place, here or really anywhere, but have no sense of direction. I love showing people around and knowing where to go! 

Anyways, a few thoughts on souvenirs: I love objects with a story. I've mentioned it before for non-family readers, but some of my favorite memories growing up we're listening to my grandparents reminisce about their adventures in Europe. The time they spent in England inspired me to apply for teaching positions around Europe. Anyways, many of the stories were attached to things around the house. Grampy had a huge wooden desk with what seemed like a million little drawers and secret compartments, one of which was filled with coins from all over the world. As a Kodak man, his photographs were a point of pride and full of stories. The last time he and I spoke, I told him I was moving to Italy and he became very quiet. I asked what he was thinking about and he said, "All of the things I saw, all the pictures I took." His pictures contained memories that he held onto for his entire life. If I'd ask Grammy about her favorite places she'd take out her jewelry box or head over to a cabinet full of special knickknacks from all over the world. Their home was full of trinkets and little details that brought back memories and I hope that someday when my grandchildren (God willing...) come to visit they'll be able to point out quirky little things and I'll be able to tell them stories about all of my adventures. 

The Colosseum never fails to take my breath away.
This time around I bought a book on Rome (all I want to do after leaving a place is to read absolutely everything about its history. I wish I knew everything), and this cool hanging bead... thing. I'm also always on the lookout for gifts to give. One of the girls I work with has mentioned keeping a drawer full of gifts at home, buying them way ahead of time even if it's nowhere near a birthday or Christmas. I'm starting to do the same and now have some simple but nice little things from all over that I'm excited to bring home. 

The next few weeks are going to be busy ones! 

Last week, after the successful completion of my first year as a teacher (yay me!), I just about died of exhaustion and turned into a hermit. As boring as it sounds, I did everything I wanted: thoroughly cleaned and organized my apartment, wrote thank you notes to my extremely generous and thoughtful students, met my future husband Joe Jonas, and Netflix-binged on 30 Rock and Vampire Diaries. Now, after three nights in Rome, Holly and I catch a train to Venice tomorrow, then head back to Milan before traveling to Nice, Barcelona, and Granada. We're kind of all over the place geographically but I just want her to see everything!! After that I'm going home for an entire month to Webster, which will definitely include a weekend in Lake Wallkill for Regatta, many beachy afternoons and campfire evenings at Cayuga, and possibly a trip out to California to see Krista in her new habitat. It's a busy, wonderful summer and I'm loving every minute of it!

Wandering through the Forum feels like stepping back in time.

1 comment:

  1. Rome seems to be very cool place. I have Heard that people in the south are more open and friendly...did you felt that?

    Roaming Rome...hahaha you have made a trend! You need to think of wity titles for the rest fo the other citites..althought I tried thinking of something for Venince and failed, but after all, I don't have the wit for coming up with Word to play with :P. Thanks for the pics, is like hearing the travelling tale from a friend :)