Since I just started school again, I’ve been feeling a little nostalgic for Europe. I’ve recently decided I want to continue the blog, because it has been fun for me to write and a good resource when I can’t remember details.
I thought I’d first finish up Europe before delving into what my home life is like. School is school, but I’ve found you can take great pictures and have great experiences just about anywhere – even if it’s in your own backyard…
I leave Rome tomorrow morning to go to Madrid for the beginning of the trip home. I think it would be appropriate to reflect a little bit on what I’ve experienced here in Italy. Rome is amazing – a huge melting pot of cultures. My hostel had a worker from Nepal. I’ve never been to Nepal, and if I had I’d never connect it with Rome. The history here is astounding. There are pictures from the 30’s and paintings from wars where these prominent landmarks serve as the backdrop for a battlefield. It’s a shame some of these things were destroyed by bombings and bullets. Another shame is the amount of people who literally do “pollute” the streets here. While looking at Roman ruins I came across small bits of glittering paper EVERYWHERE, from a celebration a few nights prior. I’m sure it was fun, but in the days after the bits of paper, ice creams wrappers, and vendors selling throw-away products had taken it’s toll. But the energy of the city is palpable, and you can’t help to be moved when seeing the paintings that depict soldiers fighting and dying on the steps of these magnificent buildings.
Personally, I’ve had my own week of slip-ups. While in Florence I stopped into a McDonald’s to get food for the first time in Europe. I’ve been avoiding it, thinking it would spoil my European experience. Well, it worked out how things like this always do: Long story short, my order was messed up, so the manager gave me a stack of 2-for-1 coupons that made eating in Rome somewhat of a disaster. I think I ate McDonald’s every day for 3 days straight. It was cheap, and it made me full. Whatever I lost biking Germany was surely gained back.
I saw all the normal touristy sites, sometimes coming back early in the morning to beat the throngs of people who are sweaty and gross. The coloseum wasn’t as big as I’d expected, you could probably fit it inside the Broncos’ stadium here in Denver, and money prevented me from going inside of just about anything. I’d like to go back to Rome again someday, this time with actual knowledge of what it is I’m seeing.
As my time here winds down I find myself sitting at the top of the Spanish steps, next to two 30-something Australians who have a passion for laughing and drinking beer with strangers. Traveling alone is fun, you’re much more open and able to experience spontenaity. That said, I think there are also merits to traveling with a friend and I’ll forever be grateful to the people who invited me into their plans, or changed plans to partake in mine. I’ve also learned that friends can be met in the strangest places and that without a 100 euro trip to Italy I might not have known they even exist. It’s a huge planet (6 billion people are wandering around on it), so it amazes me that you can meet somebody who’s from you hometown when you are halfway around the world.