It was our trip of a lifetime. For years we talked about travelling to Italy. In September, it became a reality. We rode on planes, buses, and boats, but the only way to see the sights is on foot. According to Charles’ Fitbit, we logged 95,000 steps during our seven days touring Rome and the Amalfi Coast.
Our amazing bus driver navigated the free-for-all streets of Rome with the efficiency of a race car driver. Most of the streets have no lane markers, so small cars, mopeds, and buses weave in and out with abandon. On the Amalfi Coast the narrow, winding mountain roads presented another challenge. On more than one occasion, we participated in the “battle of the buses.” What happens on a sharp curve when two buses meet nose to nose—a game of chicken before they pass each other with six inches to spare?
I’ve always experienced severe motion sickness on buses and boats, so I was very nervous about this trip. My life and trip was saved by an anti-nausea watch and roll on anti-vertigo essential oils. I literally had NO nausea on mountain roads that were like coiled-up snakes, or on boats that rocked and rolled on the waves. The watch—worn on the underside of the right hand stimulates the vagus nerve that controls the balance of the ear canals. What a miracle invention!
|Inside the Coloseum|
Rome is a fascinating city with three distinct cultures. The deteriorating massive stone structures that defined the ancient civilization of pagan Rome were everywhere. The Colosseum, The Forum of Julius Caesar, The Circus Maximus, and The Pantheon brought back memories from my world history classes. That was the culture of Rome during the early days of Christianity. Apostles Peter and Paul were both martyred at the hands of the Roman authorities for proclaiming Christ and not accepting the Caesars as gods.
|Papal Throne at St. Peter's|
The Vatican and Catholic culture has dominated Rome since 380 AD. The many beautiful cathedrals and sites we visited were lavishly decorated with frescos and statues commissioned by the Catholic Church during the centuries from 1100 to 1500 AD. Michelangelo’s paintings in the Sistine Chapel and his sculptures in St. Peter’s Basilica were breathtaking. Our tour guide took us to Vatican Square on Sunday where, at noon, Pope Francis delivered his blessing from the Papal residence. Although we are not Catholic, it was a meaningful experience.
Today’s modern Rome has many of the features of other European cities—hustle, bustle, and traffic. It is a key member of the European Common Market and an important business, fashion, and financial center. However, its major business is tourism. We were part of a tour group, but we met several young adventurous folks who were making their own way through Rome and Italy. I admire their fearless spirit.
|The Cold Mediterranean|
|The View from our Room|
We spent our last four days in Italy navigating the Amalfi Coast. The rocky shoreline on the Mediterranean Sea is home to beautiful and quaint cities that climb up the mountainsides. We stayed in an old convent that had been converted to a hotel. It was a delightful base for exploring Amalfi, Positano, the Isle of Capri, and Sorrento. My walking, climbing, and hiking legs got a real workout.
We are still recuperating from jet lag and getting caught up with life here in Acworth. It’s been good to sleep in our own bed and eat something other than pizza and pasta. As wonderful as it is to travel, there is no place like home.