A Roman Holiday

Our Adventures in Rome happened during the perfect time in our lives. We were young, filled with energy and endurance, and without much in the way of responsibilities.

I am a second year law student and very smitten with the future Mrs. OthalaFehu. We are both Romaphiles to the point we both have an “SPQR” tattoo. It is like the flag for the Roman Empire, “Senate and People of Rome‘, in Latin.

Rome is such a great city. Layer upon layer of history.

From ancient, to medieval, to the Enlightenment, to modern. In order to truly see everything within the city limits, you need a week. And even then it was a death march, but we saw it all.

Flights were so cheap back then, I think we made it over for $300 some round trip each. We were young enough and hardy enough to stay in a youth hostel. Which actually worked out well. The host couple were gorgeous, amazing people who would cook dinner and do guided talks/trips if you were interested. But we needed to keep to our own schedule if we were going to hit everything.

Our only trip fail was arriving in town so late that first night that we panicked and ended up eating at a McDonald’s. The shame of that still bothers me.

Some highlights of our trip. All these photos are our own.

Here is what I mean when I say that history lovers will always have a special place in their hearts for Rome, the Eternal City. These are the actual steps of the Forum where Caesar was stabbed, literally right there;

Pulling back gives you and idea of just how much is left of the area;

One of my favorite stories is about this next photo. The ancient pillars of a long ago pagan Temple of Antoninus and Faustina could NOT BE dragged down by later Christians (note the deep rope marks in the pillars). So they said screw it and built their new Church inside the old site.

We went on an extensive tour of the Vatican. It was very impressive, but a funny thing happened. I call it ‘Grandeur Fatigue‘.

After looking at rooms and rooms of priceless frescoes, you finally get to Da Vinci’s ceiling and you’re like ‘Oh look another giant painting’. I mean this place had hallways of ‘extra’ statues just laying around unlabeled. Because they were too many of them.

Exploring the Colosseum was great.

I do worry about the future of such landmarks. The Colosseum has a major roadway buzzing right past it. Between the pollution and crazy driving, I have concerns.

Remember that far more action actually took place at the Circus Maximus, but that has degraded to the point it looks like an overgrown grass parking lot 🙁

I have always appreciated paintings, Rome made me appreciate Sculpture. Bernini’s work in the Borghese museum is almost unbelievable.

Trevi Fountain;

Other observations;

Rome train operators go on strike a lot, like every couple of days.

It is weird to see people openly treated like pests. Gypsies in train stations are apparently a very real problem.

The Ciao lifestyle is at the same time both relaxing and frustrating.

Our only regret is that we were too poor to eat as well as we would have liked. Maybe for an anniversary trip, we will go back in style.

Back to the Travel Log.








5 thoughts on “A Roman Holiday

  1. i’ll bet there was plenty of smoking accomplished as well, even in mcdonald’s. gypsies are one reason i will avoid large european cities. i could just go to new york if a wanted a pain in the ass. give me a village or small city any day.

  2. I went to Rome also when I was young, right after school. I wonder sometimes if I would have appreciated it more when I was a little older. I remember there being lots of dog poo to navigate around, the Trevi fountain, and falling asleep right outside of the Coliseum. We are going to Italy next year, so I’m curious to see how things have changed.

    • My wife’s high school volleyball team visited 5 countries in Europe their senior year. All they did was complain about the food and miss their boyfriends. They regret going over too young to truly appreciate their opportunity.

  3. Good to hear that you enjoyed your visit back then. My experience was a little bit different for two reasons. We visited Rome as part of a European round trip thus we spent only 8 hours in the city (so I hear you on death march :)). We were just rushing over everything and the biggest thing I really wanted to see, the Colosseum, was closed because of some stupid fashion show happening in the area. Secondly I think I had too high expectations about Rome. I am also in love with the ancient Roman and Greek history and these empires live in my head as they used to be. So going there and seeing the ruins and remains was somehow a sobering experience. Same time I don’t like big cities because of the dirt, crowd and pollution and today’s Rome provided us with all of these. To put in a financial lesson I have to add that I found a five euro bill at the Trevi fountain which were spent twenty minutes later on the worst pizza cut I ever ate 🙂 Easy come easy go, I think.

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