It’s funny how quickly our minds create expectations even when we try not to. Before travelling, the one piece of advice I received over and over again was not to build expectation, and yet I did. Rome was the one place I was most excited about when we were planning our trip. Not only had I always wanted to visit the city, but now I was studying it through a class in Notts, Archaeology of the Roman Empire. I got excited the minute we began travelling in Italy in Milan, and it only grew as the days got closer. I imagined cobblestone streets everywhere, surrounded by ruins and large monuments. I can’t say that Rome was not absolutely beautiful because it was; it’s just it didn’t match what I had imagined. My romanticized idea of an ancient city was dispelled by the reality of Rome as a modern tourist city. So I now echo the advice I was given to any future traveller: try not to build expectations! Yes there were many places that did have cobblestone streets, old houses and ancient monuments like I had believed; it’s just that, in my mind, the whole city looked like that, not just sections of it. The structure of the city as a whole was different than what I had thought, but the individual cites and foods of Italy surpassed my expectations.
For example, one of the places we visited on my birthday was the Coliseum. It was amazing to be standing in the same place as ancient Romans had so many years before. The sun was shining brightly, so you could see everything perfectly. At the bottom you could see a maze of structures where the gladiators and animals were kept and then released by trapdoors and secret passageways. While I knew in the back of my mind this place had been the center of a lot of violence, I was captivated by its monumental size and its rustic detail. We went to Vatican City, the Trevi Fountain and the ancient forum among other things, but the Coliseum was definitely one of my favorite cites. Another one of my favorite things was the food. While in Rome we had the best pizza and I had a gelato for the first time in my life! So yummy! Now we are in Venice and getting ready to go celebrate the new years. The canals are exactly what you would imagine when you think of Venice... yes, with a gondolier and everything. It’s so lovely here that we spent much of the day just wandering around the narrow streets admiring the scenery. There is said to be a beautiful fireworks display over the canals, so we will be enjoying that tonight. To everyone HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE and have a wonderful New Years!!!