I have countlessly uttered the phrase “when in Rome,” but for the first time, it meant something in contextual actuality. Rome was one of the cities I was most looking forward to visiting. Rewatching The Lizzie McGuire Movie before I left made me even more excited to scout out some of the locations from certain scenes from the movie. I may have even Googled to see if the gelato shop that was visited existed. Spoiler alert: it does not exist. Alright, enough with my irrational fandom of a fictional person and her storybook tale of a trip to Rome. I will get on with my story.
My own Roman experience started out at the Spanish Steps. The way we took brought us to the landing at the top, so we had the easier task to come down, rather than climbing the stairs. While coming down should have been easier, in theory, the slipperiness of those steps was something else. I could officially say my stay in Rome was off to a good start.
Trevi Fountain had been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember knowing of its existence. It was next on my unofficial free-time itinerary. Walking around the corner and seeing it for the first time made me giddy with my childhood fantasy coming true. Even in the overflowing crowd, I felt like the only one there, as I stood there with a dreamer’s heart pouring just as the fountain.
As we roamed the streets, I heard music, but I could not see where it was coming from. I thought it was odd that an opera singer would be performing on the street and somehow managed to have an accompanying piano there too. It dawned on me to look up above me to the open windows of the apartments lining the streets. Moments like these made me appreciate the little characteristics from each city even more. It is not every day that a person can hear Italian opera from a private rehearsal from the street below.
The day was still in its young hours. To preserve our energy for our afternoon tours, we grabbed a quick lunch, made a stop for gelato, and headed to the park. It may seem odd just to go the park when you are in Rome, but this was not your ordinary park. Sure, there were benches and nice walkways, but there was so much more. We saw four-wheeled buggy bikes, so the obvious thing to do was go rent one and ride it too. It was hysterical, and I am sure I did more laughing than pedaling. Who knew the park could bring such a memorable experience as this one? If someone had told me I would be riding a four-wheeled and four-person bike in the middle of a park in Rome, I could have thought that person had lost it.
Our meeting time marked an end to our bike rides. Phase two of the day took us to the Colosseum and the Forum. The tour was informative, and to walk into the arena where gladiators once walked was hard to comprehend all the rich histories. The tour ended, and before we headed to a group dinner, we made a quick stop at the Pantheon. I was not sure what I would be walking into, but the interior of this former Roman temple was stunning.
There was one last stop before we could meet for dinner, and that was in a square with another fountain. This is where we took our first group picture with all sixty-six of us. That photo was the million-dollar photo. Our lead professor and the reason we were all there had one of our tour directors snap it, and her reaction to seeing how the picture turned out said it all. To see my professor's tears of joy and happiness made me misty-eyed. In an instant, her hard work and dedication to her students were captured in a single photo, and a moment in time will forever stand still. I owe much of the adventurer I am today to that special lady, and she will forever be a blessing to me for making experiences like this one possible.
The day was still not over. Usually, by dinner time, I am at my day’s limit, and this day in Rome was no different. The scheduled time to leave the city to return to the hotel was still an hour away from dinner’s end. While some still had the energy to chase all over, I was happy to seal my day with people watching from the comforts of a bench. Nightlife came alive as the sun went down, and I could not help but sit by a fountain and do nothing less than do as the Romans and let my heart make a wish.
©Inquisitive Perspectives 2017