WRITE ON! "Never in a Million Years"
June 15, 2019
by Madicyn Holmgren, English 12, Mrs. Didrikson
Never in a million years would I have imagined myself wandering the streets of Rome, Italy, with not a care in the world, but that is exactly where I found myself at the age of 17. During the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to travel to Europe with Ann Olson and Jeanne Glassmann through EF Tours. We were there for thirteen days and traveled to both Italy and Greece. We also went on a cruise for three days through the Greek Islands of Mykonos, Samos, Patmos, Crete, and Santorini. Every moment from this trip was unforgettable, but exploring the sights and history of Rome has to be one of my favorites.
Our last day in Rome began at the iconic Colosseum. My first impression of the stone amphitheater was "Holy cow, that's big." The structure itself is beautiful and stands tall in the heart of Rome. Before entering, we had time to snap pictures and take in the true beauty of the monument. Walking inside took my breath away. One can practically hear the crowds cheering the fighting gladiators on. We walked around the entire structure soaking in all the rich history. Next, we walked through the Roman Forum which is just outside the Colosseum. The line to get in was so long, and we waited for about 45 minutes before we reached the entrance. The worst part of waiting was the fact we were outside in the scorching heat, packed like sardines against each other. It wasn't ideal, but we made it through and continued on with our day.
Our next stop was Piazza Navona, a famous square in Rome. It became our "meeting place" where we regrouped after having free time to explore. After reaching the square, our tour guide, Simona, said we had a few hours to walk around the square, grab lunch, shop, or whatever else we wanted to do. Ella, Ellie, Paetyn, Kayla, Maria, and I went searching for a place to eat lunch because we were all starving. We ended up eating at a cute, little café, where we met a very nice couple from Australia. They were telling us about all of their world travels, and gave us some advice for navigating the streets of Rome. A fun little side story; when everyone got their food I noticed that my crepes were missing the whipped cream. The Australian man we had been talking to felt bad for me, and went up to the worker and asked if I could get my whipped cream. The worker took my plate back and gave me two extra dollops. I didn't even get a chance to thank the Australian man because he and his wife had left, but what he did made my day and proved there are still good people out there. After finishing our delicious lunch, we set out on our next adventure.
Our yummy food gave us much needed energy and our next goal was to find the Spanish Steps. We had no idea where they were, but with the help of a map and some friendly storekeepers we finally found them. There were so many steps, we did not quite climb all of them but tried our best. We did get some cute pictures, so the trek was worth it. After climbing down the Spanish Steps, we continued to walk around. We found a cute, empty alley where we took more pictures because one can never have too many. Our next stop, was the iconic Trevi Fountain. It is so big and beautiful, words and photos do not do the fountain justice. One must see it with their own eyes, to fully capture the beauty. When you are at the Trevi Fountain you must turn your back to the fountain and throw a coin over your shoulder into the water. When doing this you are destined to return to the Eternal City. I checked throwing a coin into the fountain off my bucket list.
After the Trevi Fountain, our free time was coming to an end. However, we still had some time left so we stopped at a pastry shop to get a treat. Paetyn, Kayla, and I shared one of the most famous Italian pastries: the cannoli. It barely fit in my hand it was so big and was filled to the brim with the sweet, creamy filling. I had always wanted to try one and it was well worth the wait. After meeting back up with the rest of the group, we walked to the restaurant where we were having dinner. The restaurant was located in a hidden alley, and without Simona I have the feeling everyone would have gotten lost trying to find it. While waiting for our food, we reminisced on everything we did that day. We still could not believe that we were actually in Rome, and seeing all of these iconic monuments. After dinner, we had more free time and wandered around again. We found a charming gelato shop, where we all got some of the delicious frozen dessert. We were running out of energy, so decided to just sit outside and take in all that was happening. Kayla checked her watch which said we took almost 20,000 steps in that single day. We were all exhausted and could not wait to get back to the hotel and go to sleep, because we knew tomorrow would be just as busy as today.