After a semester packed with traveling, Rome is the last trip of my abroad experience over the last three months. Up to this point, every place has displayed their own unique flavor; be it in the food, the people, the architecture, the parks, the countryside and coastline, the street design, and much more. Out of all of the cities I have written about, Rome gave me the most jaw-dropping moments of all.
A phrase coined by Danielle Steinberg, my travel companion, is a perfect way to describe Rome:
Walking through Rome is like walking in a giant 3-D History Book.
I am still trying to comprehend the number of incredible things there are to see in Rome, making two days not even close to enough time to see it all! We spent our time walking the entire city, seeing sites including: The Coliseum, The Forum, The Pantheon, The Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo, Piazza del Capitoline, Spanish Steps, countless other churches, piazza's, Gelato stores and, of course, The Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. Every corner we turned there was another picture moment of architectural wonders, ancient sculptures, Roman columns, and other artifacts that date back thousands of years. 'Breathtaking,' is an understatement.
To think that people existed there so many years ago, wearing robes and leading an ancient way of life, is hard for me to visualize, especially as I stand there taking photos with a piece of technology that wasn't even in their realm of imagination. This was the first jaw-dropping moment, where I wondered what people 2,000 years from now will be taking pictures of, as they compare what our generations mark is on earth. Maybe at that time there will be time-capsuls that can bring them back to Roman times.. who knows!
Aside from the ancient ruins, the Vatican provided me with some more moments of wonderment. Throughout mine and Danielle's education we have learned about famous paintings that were created hundreds of years ago. We have learned about the difference between paintings and frescoes, the important biblical symbols that many artists infused into their artwork, and most of all about the artists themselves and how they each left their mark. We took a guided tour through the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel, and were able to lay our naked eyes on pieces of history created over 500 years ago. The experience felt fake, and I couldn't believe that I was looking at the originals! I was trying to picture Michelangelo as he laid on his back for years going blind from dripping paint, day after day without taking a break, and without ever taking a single paycheck. It was such a surreal feeling that I am curious to know if, where, and when, I will feel that again on my future journey's.
The finale of Rome was climbing the steps to the top of St. Peter's Basilica. Once we reached the 'cupola,' we gazed out over the entire city and could recognize all the places we had spent hours visiting. The only bummer of our Vatican experience was we missed Pope Francis by ten minutes!! We were not aware that he was going to show up, we were just unlucky with our timing unfortunately.
My final trip of the semester was a fantastic one, leaving me on a cliffhanger wanting to see more. This semester puts into perspective the vast amount of places in the world that are worth traveling to, which would take an infinite number of lifetimes to see. Hopefully my next major traveling experience will be in a completely different place, maybe Asia, or Africa, which would expand my worldly view into uncharted territory.