So the first trip I ever took by myself was to Italy. I was so frightened to the point where I thought I was going to cancel my trip due to someone reneging at the last minute. I was nervous to travel overseas alone, but I didn’t want to miss out on this great experience and March 13th (a date that the trip encased) happened to be my birthday! With the thought of not wanting to ruin my birthday and having a plane ticket that couldn’t be refunded I built up the courage to go!
As my mother drove me to the airport I was so anxious, I hoped I didn’t end up like the daughter in Taken because my dad was not Liam Neeson. A wave of panic came over me, “I hope I made the right decision.” I thought to myself as I stepped my foot on the plane. The plane ride was pretty long, 10 hours to be exact, my second longest flight I had been on. I thought I was going to die; occupying myself for 10 hours became such a chore. Eventually I fell asleep on the overnight flight and off to dream land I went.
Calm, serine, and peaceful are not the adjectives I would use to describe Fiumicino, one of the main airports in Rome. It was complete hustle and bustle; each sign I passed told me that baggage claim was the opposite way. I wondered around the airport aimlessly for about 20 minutes before I finally picked up my bag. After that, I got lost trying to find my driver; I have the worst sense of direction, but I finally found him!
When I got to my hotel I was so tired from traveling, but I booked a tour without knowing how long it would take me to get to my hotel. The tour I booked explored the underground catacombs of Rome, it was a little creepy to see where people were laid to rest. The next part of the tour we went to see the “bones” as the tour guide kept saying at the Museum and Crypt of Capuchins, I stepped into the room where the “bones” were, they weren’t just bones, they were arranged in such a beautiful way. It was artwork made of bones, I’ve never seen something so cryptic look so striking! I made my way back to the hotel, excited for the next day.
Rain mixed with snow, that was the weather for the following day but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from going on my day trip to Pompeii. When I first arrived in Pompeii it was freezing! It started to rain as we approached Mount. Vesuvius, the volcano that destroyed the city in 79 A.D. The tour guide expressed to us that the last time it erupted was in 1974 and that the volcano was still active. When I looked up the mountain I couldn’t believe we would be hiking up to the top. We made our way up to the top and the rain started to turn into snow the higher we got. The view of the Bay of Naples was stunning from the top of the volcano, even though it was bitter cold when I got to the top, I felt so triumphant!
The next city on my agenda was Florence and I was excited to see the Statue of David on my day trip there, that day it was sunny and gorgeous outside. My skin was absorbing the sun and it felt great! We went to the Uffzi Gallery Museum, I gazed upon the Sandro Botticelli Birth of Venus and I finally felt like I was truly in Florence! I loved Florence and the art is absolutely amazing!
It was finally the best day of the whole trip, my birthday! I ended up missing my tour of Rome due to the fact that I got severely lost in the streets. Every street in Rome looked exactly the same and to a person who is directionally challenged it is even more difficult! So instead of being sad, I made my own tour!
I got in a taxi and went to Vatican City, while there my first stop was to tour the Vatican of course! It was fabulous, the architecture was superb! Even the walls were brilliant! Next on my self-made tour, the Vatican Museums! The first thing I noticed in the museums were the ceilings, each ceiling was either handcrafted or paint with a gorgeous mural; absolutely extravagant! I walked through the museum only to discover that I was going the wrong way to get to the Sistine Chapel, people always ask me “How was it to see the Sistine Chapel?!” I always say the same thing “It was like looking straight into Heaven; just fantastic!” The last stop on my tour was the colosseum, I hopped back into a cab to my hotel. My hotel was ten minutes from the colosseum, after I placed my souvenirs from Vatican City in my luggage I made my way to see the famous structure.
When I finally got into the Colosseum I couldn’t believe the inside, it was the true definition of ruins. This place where gladiators once fought lions was now destroyed. I still thought the experience and just absorbing the culture was wonderful.
My trip to Italy was exuberant. The art, the food and the culture was nothing short of delightful. I was so nervous to go alone, but it ended up being the best decision I’ve made in a long time. If you are worried about traveling alone, just take extra precaution to make sure you’re safe. Even though the majority of the Trevi Fountain was closed for restoration, I still threw a coin in the part that I could. Legend has it, when you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain it means you will return to Italy. Italy has a special place in my heart and it always will! I definitely don’t need a coin to know that I will be returning one day!