Saturday, July 7th, 2012
13.5.12 27 °C
My flight from Berlin, Germany to Rome, Italy took off at 6:15 am the morning on Saturday, July 7th, 2012 and landed at 9:28am the same morning. My plane ticket cost me roughly €78.00, and I was pleased to find out that I was lucky enough to have another window seat. Due to the hour at which I had to wake up in order to check out of my hotel, eat breakfast, and get to the airport on time, I found myself dozing in and out of consciousness, while trying to take in all of the beautiful scenery from the window view. When we landed in the beautiful city of Rome, I was more than excited to begin my fantastic Italian adventures!
A short cab ride from the airport took me to my accommodations for the night, the Morgana Hotel, located at the heart of the city center, a short walking distance from many popular tourist destinations in Rome. I was charged roughly €107.00 for the night, but this was by far, the most luxurious hotel I had stayed in yet, on my dream trip around the world. After exploring my hotel room, and snapping a few photos from my beautiful view from the window, I was ready to embark upon what I knew was going to be another one of my favourite European destinations!
My first stop was the Pantheon, which shares the same name as a site I had visited in France, only a few days ago. This was another special experience for me because again, this was something that I had studied and dreamed of visiting in person, for many years. Approaching the Pantheon, I was blown away by the sole volume of the building itself. The architecture is certainly something that would leave anyone in complete and utter awe, and I found myself in tears by the time I reached the area where the steps used to be, so many years ago. My entire life seemed to come to a head when I had a hand on one of the pillars of the Pantheon, and once again had to ask someone near by to snap a photo of me, once I regained my composure. The history and impact of what I was experiencing was something that sent shivers down my spine, and I couldn't believe just how far I had come thus far on the trip. It was a teary goodbye when I finally had to pry myself away, but I knew that everything else I was going to do and see that day was well worth the heartache I experienced when leaving the gorgeous Pantheon.
My next stop wasn't too far away from where I had just come, a short cab ride took me directly to the Colosseum, and once again, I found myself an absolute wreck for the first little while I was there. It cost me €12 to enter, and I gladly would have paid a great deal more to be able to experience all that I did in the short while I was there. I knew that this was one of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in Rome, but I had no idea the velocity of people that would really be there at one time. It was almost difficult to get around, and see everything that I wanted to, but I wouldn't let the amount of people visiting dampen my spirits, at all. All that meant in my mind was that the hundreds of people that were there were just as excited and intrigued into the beauty and history of the Colosseum as I was, and we were all sharing in the experience together! I took countless photos of the various views of the monumental building, and was sure to purchase a great deal of souvenirs, both for myself and for loved ones, because this was likely the only chance I'd ever get to visit the Colosseum, and I made sure I made the most of it! I was finding that leaving each of the sites I visited in Rome was becoming increasingly difficult, solely due to the fact that I was enjoying myself too much!
Another short cab ride took me to the much anticipated (by me) National Gallery of Modern Art! It cost me €8.00 for admission into the gallery, and I decided to tour around on my own, in order to see as much as possible in the time that I had there. The National Gallery of Modern Art houses over 1,500 works from contemporary artists, dating back as far as the early 19th century. I was blown away at the amount of recognizable art found within the gallery walls, and nearly broke down again as I realized that within the last 7 days, I had viewed, in person, virtually ALL of the art works that I have idolized and pulled inspiration from since I was a young teenager. I spent nearly 3 hours in the museum, and by that time I had worked up quite the appetite, so I decided to head back toward the city center, and see if I could find some authentic Italian cuisine, something I had been looking forward to the entire trip!
I stumbled upon a restaurant called 'Ai Tre Scalini', where I was welcomed with open arms by the staff, and had quite a few lovely conversations about my travels, and the wonderful city in which I was now ordering a late lunch. I sat at a table on the patio, as I was just eating up the great Italian climate, and ended up ordering a dish with radicchio and cheese-stuffed zagnolotti (small ravioli) in a lobster sauce. It seemed as though every time I sat down at a restaurant on this trip, the meal was even better than the one I had previously enjoyed! The wonderfully plated and tasting dish cost me a total of €14.00, and again, I would have gladly paid a great deal more for such a mouth-wateringly delicious dish!
I decided to finish off my Italian adventures with what I considered to be a perfect way; I visited the church site where my grandmother and grandfather first laid eyes on each other, the San Giorgio in Velabro. It's not one of the most tourist traveled sites in Rome, which was enjoyable. I knew that this was not only an important historical and heritage site in Italian culture, but it is also very prominent and important in terms of my family lineage. From the time I was a little girl, my grandmother told me about how she and my grandfather had met at the most romantic, and elegant places possible, out of sheer chance, at a basilica in wonderful Rome, Italy. She was traveling with her university class to various European destinations, much like I was, although on my own, when she literally ran into a handsome young man, who didn't seem the slightest bit irritated by her clumsiness. They began talking, hit it off, and when they realized that they had both come from the Ottawa area, back home, the rest quickly became history. It was a wonderful and super meaningful experience to have been able to visit the stop where my grandparents met, and I was once again in tears from the fact that had they not bumped into eachother on the steps of the church I was now standing on, I wouldn't have ever been born, let alone standing on the same steps. I didn't let my grandmother know that I was visiting this area while on my travels, and couldn't wait to show her the photos of her granddaughter in front of San Giorgio Basilica.
After finishing off my Italian adventures with something that I think means more than even the things I have studied and idolized for years, I was ready for bed, and made my way back to the hotel for some shut eye. I had a delicious pasta dish in the restaurant that was attached to the hotel, and fell asleep that night dreaming of my long trip back to some form of familiarity, Washington, DC!