Come Travel With Me
For those of you who do not have big Christmas plans this day, come fly with me to Italy. 🙂 My bucket list is to go back there one day. Chances are probably nil, but I can dream.
My one big trip overseas 2007 still brings me joy when I think about it. It was a church group trip and we went to Rome and Assisi. Now, this was quite an adventure for someone afraid to fly and we were in a jet for hours and hours. The steward saw my distress as I clinched the hands when we first took off and tears were in my eyes. It was so funny as he bought me a rum and coke and said for me to enjoy my flight and Italy for it would be worth it. And it was. Sad thing was not one person in that church group tried to comfort or reassure me. In fact the man next to me got up and moved to another seat.
Rome had my heart from the moment we got out off the jet and headed to the motel. I just fell in love with Rome. That is on my bucket list to do before I die….return to Rome. Rome has etched itself in my heart forever. It is just an experience. I love the business and all the little cars and scooters. Those little scooters…men and women..the women some in heels and dresses…zooming and weaving in and out of the traffic.
Here we sit in our world of cookie cutter houses and buildings and you go to Italy and the architecture is breathtaking. History is everywhere and so is artwork, whether it be in the buildings themselves, in the floors, the ceilings or the walls. Oh, it is beyond words. The Romans made buildings that lasted almost forever. Why can we not do that?
Our first day there was spent getting settled in and resting and that night we went to see Rome by night on the tour bus. And of course, as our guide told us, we must go to the Trev Fountain. Oh, I think I was forever being told to stop standing there in awe and keep moving but it was so beautiful and the little shops are like things in the city…..small and busy.
You can see why Rome is considered one of the cities of love. This view just took my breath away.
The story is that if you turn your back to the fountain and throw your coin in over your head, you will return to Rome. I think I threw a coin in every time we saw the fountain. That night we walked around the little streets near the Trev Fountain and then loaded back up and went to eat at a restaurant. Eating in Rome is an experience. Italians do not rush their meal times. We were in there I swear for two hours, enjoying the entertainment and eating course after course of fine Italian food.
Image via Wikipedia
The bad news was, that when we got up the next day to start our tour, I had found my bank account locked down. So, I am living proof that you can still enjoy Italy with no money. Breakfast and supper came with our travel plans but lunch did not, so I carried things from the breakfast buffet with me for my lunch and wandered the shops while everyone else ate in the little cafes and shopped in the little stores. I was not interested in cashmere sweaters or Italian bags. I wanted to see Italy.. What few coins I had, I meagerly used for cappuccino throughout the trip. Oh, what I would not give for a cup of their cappuccino with the foam on top and to sit outside at one of the tables.
During our stay in Rome, we visited the Pantheon and so many of the huge Cathedrals. We even went to the Vatican and got to see the Pope. I guess being disabled has its advantages for we were ushered into the seated section up close. I do not think I have ever been more terrified than when we were standing there with our tickets and they opened the gates to get in and the crowd surged. Try riding that wave on forearm crutches. I was literally lifted off my feet and just driven by the crowd and almost fell when I got inside. But, nothing could dampen my euphoria at being in Italy.
As we continued our trip through Rome, the one thing I noticed was that you better be paying close attention….look down, look up, look sideways, look in the distance….for the beauty and the artwork is everywhere.
One of my favorite memories was being at the Vatican and getting to hear the Pope speak. The place was so crowded that you could barely turn around. They had huge flat screens so that those further back could see Pope Benedict’s face. As we all were sitting there waiting, suddenly everyone jumped to their feet and in the back you could hear “le Pa Pa”…..”Le Pa Pa”…..and then finally we got a view of the vehicle that he stood in back of and the guards were running a long side it. It was such a moving feeling just to see.
Look at the artwork in this cross above. So many of the group were mainly interested in shopping for that scarf or bag and I think not having any money made me enjoy Italy so much more for all the wonderful artwork and the beauty of the city. Often while others were out shopping, I was just sitting there in a Cathedral staring in awe at the beauty of it or sitting on the steps of the fountain or in the square just looking at all the buildings and watching the people.
Often while the group was shopping, I would sit on the steps of the fountain with a cup of cappuccino and just watch everyone or take pictures of the buildings. I loved the little balconies on the buildings. It was interesting in that if you ate at one of the little eateries….there were three prices. One was if you stood inside, one if you sat at a table inside and one if you sat outside at a table. I loved the outside cafe table set ups. In this area were people selling and if you watched, suddenly a group would come running up to people with faux Gucci bags to sell and the police would run them off. Looking at these buildings and watching the people, I think I would loved to have found a section of Italy, like Julia and Paul Child did in Paris, that was not the tourist sections.
Sad to say, of the people I ran into…it was mostly the Americans that were the rudest and who just rushed through without even really looking. I do not mean all but quite a few. It made me sad for such behavior to be shown by citizens from our country. I found people from other countries helping me and we could not even communicate for they spoke no English and I did not speak their language. One German man, walked step by step with me up this long staircase and held my elbow. When we got to the top, he looks at me and says “Gut!” and patted my arm and walked on.
Cars would come down these little streets and just honk for you to move over. The little cobblestone streets were narrow with all of these adorable shops. I enjoyed just walking and looking at the windows. One had a whole set of handmade Pinocchio dolls. Another was a chocolate shop that just made you drool smelling it. Another was a tiny restaurant that had like ten small tables that each seated four. And there were these carts that sellers pushed on the street filled with sandwiches you could buy. The trip was a literal sensory experience for me. Maybe because I did not have the money…but all the smells are still retained in my memory bank of the wonderful Italian foods. And let me tell you…the pizza we have here in the states is NOT Italian pizza. One of the group bought me a piece of pizza and they do not drown their pizzas in sauces and cheese and the flavors are so exquisite.
Oh, I would love to live in this round building. Can you just imagine the rooms inside and no corners. 🙂
It is so hard to show the beauty of Rome in just a few pictures. If you ever get an opportunity to go with a group or by yourself, oh please go. It is a memory that you will never forget. And I went walking on forearm crutches. I sold so many things to make this trip and son helped me because he wanted me to get to go. As you can tell from my words, the trip was a dream of a lifetime. My prayer is one day, son and I get to go again before I die. Can you hear the yearning in my voice? And if I do not get to go….it brings me great pleasure dreaming about it.
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