From Italy to England

Back in Ashleigh’s gorgeous Clifton Village apartment after an eight day holiday with my sister in Italy, and though I woke up missing what became my usual morning stroll to a pasticceria for cappuccinos and flaky Italian pastries, I like this being back in Bristol. No trains to catch, no maps to mull over, no sunscreen needed–it feels good to be in home. And so, for the moment, I’m trying to forget that I fly back to Minnesota in only eleven days.

Maria and I had a delicious time in Italy. When we initially began planning the trip I was certainly excited about this third opportunity to return to Italia, but with so many other European countries I’ve left to see (Portgual, Spain, Austria, Czech Republic, Greece…), I was  less eager than usual. But I’m so glad we went. It was a treat to watch Maria fall in love with this passionate country, and I found myself enjoying this trip to Italy more than any other time. We started our adventure in Roma with the usual visits to the Colosseum and Vatican: inspiring, yes, but I’d seen it before. What made us both fall head over heels for the city was taking ‘the road less traveled.’ We spent a sunny Saturday afternoon exploring the authentic Roman neighborhood of Trastevere, and though, as two blondes, we didn’t exactly fit in with the locals, Rome suddenly felt a different place altogether away from the throngs of tourists.

That evening we walked the city streets to Campo de’ Fiori, a bustling piazza in the heart of Rome, to begin a ghost tour of this city more than two thousand years old. I’ve never done tours prior to this trip (isn’t that the easy way out?), but this one was worth it. Learning more about the vibrant and bloody past of Roma (beyond the cruelty of the ancient Romans) was fascinating. We learned of a mother and daughter responsible for ‘the mass murder of the husbands’ by making a living selling off arsenic-laced water; a group of monks who made furniture from human bones in the infamous Capuchin Crypt; the mistress of Pope Urban VIII who dropped dead on her escape from Rome after his death, and is now said to haunt the bridge of her death. Ah, I could go on and on–the history of Rome reads like a suspense thriller, but must run!  Off to explore Bath with Maria today.

More later,





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June 2012