September 20-22, 2015
First full day in Rome is a beautiful sunny day with nary a cloud in the sky and temps are to be in the mid 80’s. I saw from the terrace that there were very few people on the Piazza del Popolo, I thought this would be a perfect time to visit and get some photos without scads of tourists in every photo. It is the one thing I hate about travel photography – I don’t like people in my photos and I have been known to wait, and wait, and wait, with my camera held up to my face waiting to hit the shutter button at that precise moment when everyone is outside the viewfinder. Of course, tourists will pose a problem all over Italy, oh, wait a minute, I’m one of those tourists! I do try not to linger if I need to get up close for a shot so as to clear the way for that other person trying to get the “just so” shot 🙂
On two occasions while in Rome, I was on the receiving end of kindness, understanding and compassion from 3 total strangers. 1 who spoke no English and 2 who spoke limited English, one more so than the other. I was a guest in their country after all and there was no reason for them to speak my language. And yet, each of them showed me that kindness and compassion can still be found in this oftentimes crazy world that we live in. It was so refreshing to witness first hand and especially in another Country in which I was a guest.
While Rome was not my first choice of places to visit in Italy, I tended to agree with the sentiment; ‘If you are going to Italy, you should see Rome’. So see Rome I did. Well, some of it anyway. One of the reasons that I wasn’t real interested in the city was I knew that it was going to be very busy, congested, loud, crowded, lots of traffic, did I mention lots of people?!? I am not a crowd type of person. I don’t have the patience for it. Nor do I like feeling as though I am part of a herd of cattle. I don’t like the ‘every man for himself’ concept of pushing and shoving. I don’t like the rudeness that it brings out in myself as a result of this. I just plain don’t like crowds.
I started planning the trip a little over a year before we were to leave. Considering the cost of airfare, it seemed that to only travel to Venice for a week wouldn’t be cost effective. Why not include another stop as well and make it a 2 week trip? But where to go? Of course the Big Three are Rome, Florence and Venice. But I started looking at other locations like Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Salerno, and The Italian Riviera. Yes, I was all over the map until common sense, logistics and cost won out and it was decided that the Big Three would be the perfect trip. However, I really wasn’t too excited about Rome. It seemed so spread out, so busy, so much traffic, but I would concede to the idea ‘It would be silly to go to Italy and not see Rome.’ I had a feeling that Florence would be more my style but, the real interest for me was Venice.
8 Days. In just 8 days I will be on my way to Roma, Italy. I am having a difficult time believing it is actually happening. I mean, after all these years, is it really and truly almost time to leave? Although the dream was of course, to visit Venice, that will be in 16 days. Continue reading
When I watch a program about places such as the Vatican, Saint Peter’s Basilica, the Pantheon, how Rome was built as well as places like Saint Mark’s Square or the Doge’s Palace, I certainly appreciate the grandeur, the beauty and the history. I am taken aback by the power and wealth that built them. I marvel at the engineering that went into these places so long ago. I am amazed that despite being 2000 years old, their ideas are the basis for structures still today with all of our advances. And there it ends. It leaves me cold. I don’t think about it much after that.
On the other hand, last year I watched a special filmed in the (what was)forgotten town of Matera, I watched the slow reincarnation of this ancient town by some of its young inhabitants whose ancestors once lived in these cave dwellings. I have watched women in the Umbria region walking through a field picking the tiny Saffron flower. I watched a woman work a loom hundreds of years old, the same loom her ancestors used. I watched artisans repairing mosaic pieces from local churches in the Oltrarno neighborhood of Florence, one tiny piece by tiny piece. I watched a proprietor cut huge pieces of beef, cook each one himself and serve it with such pride in his tiny dining room. These things made me feel. They move me. They speak to me. They create a warmth in my soul. They make me misty eyed. They make me have to experience Italy.
I mentioned in my last post that I am feeling a bit unprepared for my trip, despite my having had a very long time to prepare. I am an experienced traveler as a my friend Deb pointed out, so why am I feeling like this? Why do I feel like I am not ready, and unorganized? Continue reading