When we were making the decision to move to Sicily, there were a few major perks that we were looking forward to. The food, the chance to live in a different country, the beautiful scenery, and, not least of all, the ability to travel easily. The first six weeks we’ve been here we have traveled quite a bit around the island, but hadn’t made it off it yet into the rest of Italy/Europe. Sean’s birthday was this week though, so for his birthday I planned a trip to Rome. Because, ya know, how often can you say “let’s go to Rome for the weekend.” So with two weeks’ lead time I found a flight, found a room on airbnb, and booked it all that day. Then I bought tickets for the Vatican and the Colosseum and we were set. It was so easy and so cheap – exactly the kind of travel we were looking for.
Rome is amazing. I’d been there about ten years ago but didn’t remember it super well. Sean had never been. We flew in the first night, took the train to where we were staying, unloaded our stuff, and set out to explore. We walked a big loop through the city, taking in all the sights and stopping for dinner. The contrast to Sicily was so apparent. People say that Sicily is a little more wild, less organized and less developed than the rest of Italy. After being there you kind of get used to it and just think of it as “Italy.” But, going from there to Rome…wow, what a difference. So much cleaner, so much more organized, the driving is so much more sane, the sidewalks are so much wider. And….a lot more expensive. Sicily does have it’s perks.
Day two we had tickets to go to the Vatican. We took a guided tour of the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel, and then snuck out the “group tour” exit to skip the line into Saint Peter’s. I wouldn’t consider myself an art lover, and I’m not much of a Catholic (ok, not at all Catholic), but Vatican City is quite a sight. The art there is mind blowing, and the magnitude and historical significance of the whole place is completely overwhelming. The 1000s of people there is rather overwhelming as well.
Pieces of art that would be the central display of many museums are tucked back into corners and barely seen. It’s literally miles of art and history. And people. There’s nothing like being a tourist to make you hate tourists. You would think that since Sean and I are rather tall, people would notice us, but I got bumped into and stepped on and cut in front of more times than I can count. If we hadn’t been in a church I may have shoved someone. So, sorry if my photos are a little off center. There was a tour group that cut in front of me where I was trying to stand. Every single time.
We climbed up to the top of the dome – a few hundred steps and not for the claustrophobic. The walls were literally closing in on you, but it’s beautiful at the top.
Look at all those ants waiting in line.
Our last day we went to the Colosseum, the Forum, the Pantheon, a few churches, the Spanish Steps, and the Capuchin Crypt. They don’t allow photos of the Capuchin Crypt, but for anybody who hasn’t been, do a google image search on it. It’s quite an experience.
We flew back to Sicily that night, getting home around midnight, and then the next day I had a noon flight to New York to visit my family. It’s pretty exciting to be able to take a trip to Rome and NYC back to back. My flight home was pretty easy, except the second of my three flights that day, from Munich to Frankfurt, got delayed due to computer issues and some jerk who didn’t board whose luggage they had to remove. I only had a one hour layover in Frankfurt so I was cutting it close anyway, but we took off from Munich 40 minutes late making it near impossible for me to catch my next flight. As we landed and were taxiing toward the gate they were already boarding my flight to NYC. The flight left at 3 and at 2:48 I finally got off my plane and made a dash for the gate. We landed in gate A6 and my next flight departed from Z26…figures. There was no way I was going to miss that flight though. I ran for the better part of 10 minutes, luggage in tow, cleared the passport check, and made my flight. I was sweaty, but I was there.
So this morning I woke up in New York. It’s funny how a city that always felt foreign to me somehow feels like home now. My sister and her boyfriend have an amazing apartment in Brooklyn Heights. This morning I got a bagel and coffee – my first regular coffee in a while, the Italians drink only espresso – and then walked two minutes to the water overlooking Manhattan. It’s quite a spectacular neighborhood they live in. I’ll be here for the next 10 days, then it’s back home to Sicily.