so after three years (yes, i opted for the additional third year), I was semi-versed in latin. i still have my copy of the Aeneid - with translations that I did in the margin. now, over 12 years later - sadly much of those language skills in translation have faded. however, my love of latin and rome still remains.
in college, i majored in economics; i even received a masters. i took spanish and studied aboard in mexico. now, my job is completely unrelated to either economics or latin or spanish (which i cannot understand even after studying abroad in mexico). however, my job did bring me to rome.
rome is a place i have dreamed of since i first started learning latin in high school. and i am here. rome. i took some vacation time because there was no way i was going to rome and not seeing everything possible. i planned nothing but my hotel as i wanted to get a feel for the city before i decided anything.
i attempted to see the vatican during a free afternoon while at my conference. i have forgotten to mention that my vacation is falling over holy week, and i feared crowds and tried to see this spot as early as possible. the vatican for me was a disaster. lines. crowds. closed-off areas. i joined a guided group to skip the line and hopefully navigate the chaos but this was an utter failure. the group grew and grew and waited and waited only to get in and then be directed by a guide to go here and . . wait. and then, go here and wait. finally, i split from the group and went on my own. finally, i saw some of the vatican. there are no pictures of the good stuff as you are not allowed to photograph the artwork. so i left feeling frazzled and fried. i didn't like the vatican. the paintings on the ceiling of the sistine chapel were smaller than the hype. sorry, but that was my experience. plus, the guide got irritated at me as i could read the building names and dates in latin. this interrupted his waiting/guessing game with the group. he would ignore me as i called the correct answers to his questions.
between this and trying to find dinner before eight in the evening (impossible unless you eat at a tourist trap), i was fearful as i headed into my vacation. i was not loving rome, this idyllic city in my mind.
then, things changed. i was alone and wondering the streets when i stumbled onto the colosseum and the ruins that surround it. there are several sites that you can view in this area without lines and tickets and guides. they are breath-taking. it was here that it all hit me; i was finally in rome.
i hope you will share my experiences as i show you rome (and surrounding areas) from over my shoulder - my attempt to classy up selfies. i’m traveling solo on this journey. you see, when you don't have a travel partner, your photo options are severely limited, but these are the experiences and sites that i had to document and write about for you.
as I write this my mind is slipping to what pasta I want tonight. it has been three days and over 1100 hundred photos with lots of gelato in-between. with four days left, i have much ground to cover, sights to drink in, and pasta to eat!
i am hiking mount vesuvius tomorrow.