How many have heard the famous proverb: When in Rome, do as the Romans do? This proverb, passed down through centuries, signifies the importance of respecting and abiding by another person’s customs as a guest. My family and I actually have gone to Rome and had the chance to experience the Italian culture, language, and cuisine. An experience worthwhile and unforgettable that will always remain engraved in my mind along with the memories and adventures we encountered.
The first time we traveled to Rome everything was new to us, considering we hadn’t ventured out of North America. The occasional trip to Mexico was normal, but this was abnormal to us, yet exciting and thrilling. On our first trip, we took a detour and stayed a couple of nights in France which was great, but Italy is my true passion. If I were to lie and write about and praise France that would take away the newfound passion and respect I have of Italy. My family and I traveled a second time to Italy, which was the most recent. We only traveled there and back, no detours. Once we discovered that traveling was second nature to us, you can say we caught what you call the travel bug. All of us were so addicted and hungry for more. As for me, I felt the same, but Italy is more than just a country to me, it is my second home. I fell in love with everything there. We took tours all around Italy, but we also took time by ourselves and walked the streets of Rome, Florence, and Venice. The total number of cities we visited was five: Venice, Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and Florence.
The first trip to Rome we stayed in a convent right across the street from the Vatican. It was beautiful waking up every morning to the sounds of church bells and to the view of the renowned church. The architecture of the church was amazing and so was walking through the halls knowing that history happened there. Unfortunately the drawback of the convent was they had a nightly curfew, I understood because it was religious and so forth, but the best time to walk around Rome is in the evening or nighttime.
The second trip to Rome was in 2008 where we stayed in a hotel named Portamaggiore. Next door to the hotel was a restaurant where we constantly went to have dinner because the spaghetti was fabulous. Unfortunately, an incident occurred in that very restaurant that marked us as tourists. If you haven’t traveled before to Europe or elsewhere you may not know that most of the time people mark you as American tourists if you are obviously American and sometimes you will receive attitude for that reason.
It didn’t happen all the time just a couple, but we were eating in that restaurant and the place was packed with a line of hungry customers out the door. This restaurant is very small and family owned so you can imagine the stress and desperation the waiter was feeling when he was running all around from table to table. My dad, a wine fanatic, had to have wine just like he had to at every other Italian restaurant we ate at. He asks for red wine, opens it, and begins to drink some with my mother. Then he mistakenly spills the red wine over the white tablecloth covered table. I can still see the poor old waiter cleaning it up while looking at the line outside and the Italian workers giving us dirty looks.
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