Monday, August 04, 2008

Rome If You Want To ...

And so it came to pass in those days that the cruise completed and we were deposited in Citavecchia, Italia, which serves as the port to Rome. Our travel agent had organized a transfer/tour combo which was fantastic as we not only got to the city, but we saw the big highlights (Coliseum, and lots of other sites that overloaded my ADHD-riddled brain) and were able to ascertain where we might want to maximize our limited time in the city.

Once we'd checked into our hotel, we hit the cobblestones and hiked the Spanish Steps, then Jon and I branched off and went on a discovery tour that saw us in a flea-market type of area with AMAZING candy that I did, indeed, buy and eat on the street ... after I'd had a gelato because, let's face it, you leave those calories in Italy when you get on the plane! ... and admiring all sorts of architecture, then discovering St. Peter's Basilica, which was breathtaking and of a magnitude that was seriously difficult to comprehend.

We also witnessed something that I don't think either one of us will ever forget. Along the street were all sorts of peddlers selling all sorts of little stuff. As we neared an area where they were setup, we saw one of them grab all of his stuff in the blanket on which it was displayed and in one big motion he was up and running like his hair was on fire. All of the other peddlers followed suit, their exodus mass and almost like vampires running from the first light of dawn.

As we progressed we saw 3 policia walking up the sidewalk. An informer had tipped them off and within 20 seconds it was like they'd not existed there at all. I found that so fascinating, because of course it makes me think, "What really happens in this dimension that we never even recognize?" That's a metaphysical discussion for another day, class. But do think about it. Because it does happen. I have seen it with my own two eyes and if I weren't 37 I might feel like my innocence had been robbed but, oh yeah, I'm 37 and officially old and callous.

After grabbing a nap we went down for dinner and didn't get far - there was a little restaurant right beside our hotel that offered sidewalk seating so we drank way too much chianti and nibbled before heading to an open-air cafe area where competitors full-on dissed their neighbors in an effort to get you seated. We found one that everyone agreed upon and, you guessed it, more caprese salad! And mineral water. I love the water with gas, btw. Always have. Perrier forever!

Despite a hiccup on Monday morning - and by hiccup I mean thank God the phone call from Delta advising of a flight delay came mere seconds before I was out the door of the hotel en route to the airport - I departed Rome at 2 p.m. and arrived in Atlanta around 6:30 p.m. And if you think it was a 4.5 hour flight, you're wrong! Try 10.5. But what matters is I got there, my luggage did, customs was a breeze, and I have a friend in the ATL who offered a weary traveler refuge for the night.

I grabbed 9 good hours of sleep, was out the door at 5 a.m., drove directly to my apartment where I showered and was at my desk at 8:02 a.m. Vacation was over but my memories of it will live on. It was a life-embellishing experience and one I hope everyone can experience.

And now back to my regularly scheduled blogging ... I hope you've enjoyed my travel blog. I'm pleased to've accomplished my goal of documenting the experience in writing.

Viva Europa!

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