Traveling to Italy was my first overnight trip completely solo since I got to London. Speaking of – I’m really missing all my friends that have already gone back to the States, or Australia, or Germany, or France, or just moved on to other parts of the UK. It feels like the friendships I made in the past 3 months happened over years. I’m so grateful I got to travel with so many amazing people! But traveling for 5 days by myself was incredibly freeing, and a different type of experience.
Venice was absolutely breathtaking. Pictures don’t do it justice. I was lucky enough to have fantastic weather the first two days I was there. With just some slight cloud cover, a comfortable temperature, a very slight breeze, and no need to take a rush hour tube journey, Venice was the perfect break from cold, rainy, crowded London (not that I don’t still love London! Its just a bit early for summer to be over, is all). As soon as I stepped off the coach that brought me from the airport, I had my camera out to take pictures. Within about 30 minutes, I decided I could probably live there for a few months and be perfectly content with only a few friends and a stack of books.
The two highlights of my stay in Venice had to be the 3 hour walking tour (I learned so much history and managed to get my bearings for the section of Venice I was staying in – and I don’t think I would have ever found the best bookshop I’ve ever seen without it), and the groupon Gondola ride. (Groupon has been an important part of my life since leaving the States.) I loved hearing the water sloshing around in the canals and getting to ride a gondola through them was the one tourist thing that I would have regretted not doing.
I also possibly ate my weight in gelato.
Rome, as a whole, wasn’t as aesthetically awe-inspiring as Venice. However, the ancient and historical sections of the city were
magnificent! I saw Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum – so many Roman Emperors and officials that lived and entertained there. I kept thinking about different Bible stories I could put visuals to. Then there was the Colosseum! I knew it was large, but when I was standing in it, it felt monstrous. It was difficult to picture how many people used to be able to fit into the one building.
I also went on a 3 hour free walking tour in Rome – we went through some beautiful churches and saw some great architecture. I think, though, that my biggest disappointment in Rome was the fact that the Spanish Steps fountain and the Trevi Fountain were both drained and covered in scaffolding. Not what dreams are made of. Come on, Rome. I wanted my Lizzie McGuire moment!
Overall, it was a very successful solo backpacking trip through Venice and Rome. And the train ride between the two went through some gorgeous countryside! My new life goal may just be to retire to Italy. If I can manage to get a Visa.
“Travel is about the gorgeous feeling of teetering in the unknown”