I landed in Rome on Good Friday. Kristen and I had plans to go to the passing of the crosses, yet by the time we reached it, the crowd was already piling out. The nuns we passed still had their candles clutched between their fingers. The “cake building”, also known as the Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele, was illuminated against the deep navy blue night sky, with the moon shining brightly in the back. Since we were near the Coliseum, we went to the end of the street so I could see it. We were still pretty bummed about missing the Passing of the Crosses, so we got gelato and pizza on our way back to Kristen’s dorm. To end the night, we sat on steps by a fountain, drank some wine, and then went to drink some more in the lovely Roma.
The next day we packed up a picnic, and went to a park, where we laid under comforting curvy trees that reminded me of shrubbery that Dr. Seuss would manifest. We listened to Hippo Campus on our speaker along with hearing families and kids play football in the background. We ate strawberries, fresh salad with cheese and balsamic dressing, chips, and mimosas. Staring up at the trees with the sun on my face I remember thinking, “if there was such thing as a perfect temperature, this is it.” It wasn’t too hot to where I was sweating, and it wasn’t cold, to where I was chilly. The breeze and light sun paired perfectly, and in that moment I was as happy and content as can be. We strolled back through the beautiful Italian cobblestone streets, almost tripping multiple times, but managed to make it back after some “Kinder” flavored gelato. A beautiful day. We napped some, and then I got kicked out by Kristen’s security (not allowed to have visitors past 11:30 PM) so I stayed the night at a hostel, where I met girls from Canada, Spain, and Hungary.
On Saturday I strolled through a cute market where people were selling old postcards, frames, trinkets and clothes. Saw a lot of graffiti, my favorite was various blue eyes on a wall which I’ll include below. Kristen and I had Easter Sunday at the Santa Maria Trastevere Church, where it was entirely in Italian. Since I know a little Spanish, I was able to follow along with some of the words, whereas Kristen has been studying Italian so she said she gathered most everything. I’d never been to a Catholic mass as I’m used to my church Celebration in Orlando, so the whole service was fascinating. The rituals were beautiful and held such respect, and children from one month to around 7 years old were baptized.
We did some light sightseeing for me on Sunday. Kristen the tour guide, brought me to the Pantheon (Basilica Santa Maria and Martyres), explaining that the reason there’s a hole in the middle is so the building doesn’t collapse in on itself. Crazy science. The Trevi was next, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about the Lizzie McGuire movie the majority of the time. It was one of the most beautiful ornate sculptures I’ve been in the presence of. Kristen filmed me as I threw my coin into the fountain, and we ate gelato, while tourists pushed and ran for a spot next to the notorious aqua green water.
Our train to Cinque Terre was next. We enjoyed red wine and a cheese platter from the train cart for dinner. Once we got to the little islands off the coast of Italy, our Airbnb host greeted us and escorted us to the adorable little room that had a view I will remember for the rest of my life. We were whipped, so we opened up the windows, and let the breeze in. We fell asleep to the soothing crashing of waves and the moon watching over us.
In the morning, our open shutters revealed the most beautiful view of Cinque terre. The square box buildings, all different shapes and sizes, held little people either hanging their clothes outside, or enjoying a morning smoke. Colors of the buildings paired perfectly together, with light pinks, burnt reds, oranges, and sunny yellows. The sea was peaceful, and we laid in bed lazily admiring the view until we had to get up for our boat tour.
We met our boat guide Daniele and our other fellow passengers just in time. The steps we had to walk down to get to the boat were so steep, I had to concentrate on each step and walk down sideways. We got down to the water, where the waves were licking the side of the concrete walkway, and we hopped on aboard. Kristen and I claimed the front of the boat, where there was ample amount of room to sprawl out. The tour was about two and a half hours, and we soaked up every minute of sun and saltwater. My face was lifted with a smile to the sun multiple times with my ponytail swinging back and forth. At idling speed, we drifted past the five islands of Cinque Terre, and landed at Monterosso, to nibble on a croissant and lay by the beach. On our way back to the dock, we passed the “kissing statue” where Daniele explained the legend of hugging/kissing in front of it and lifelong friendship/love. Kristen, to her dismay, had to handle my enveloping hug and we laughed about how we would be at each other’s weddings one day. Salina, an adorable four year old who wore a Nemo hat and pink sunglasses, fell asleep in the sun and her dad fixed her hat and glasses to shield her from the rays. We went back to Monterosso where we finally got to lay on the beach and soak up more sun. I commented that this was the first time I had been to the beach since November.
The next day we decided to have breakfast at the Vernazza island, since it was one of the five we hadn’t yet been to. We brushed past many tourists to the end of the street where we saw the most beautiful sight of a clock tower, giant rocks protruding from the water, and quaint little apartments. We sat on wooden brown chairs and a table for our quick but lovely breakfast. I had fresh jam, toast and fruit salad while Kristen had an apple croissant and we sipped our cappuccinos while people watching. Again: the colors paired perfectly, and we kept mentioning how perfect our time was.
Still dreaming of that quaint little blue room and the tiny cities that I was so blessed to see. I hope I’ll be back for sure, and still sometimes feel as though I need to be pinched to make sure I’m not dreaming.
Hope you have a beautiful week filled with colors and happiness,