I learned a lot about myself on my trip to Italy last February, including the fact that I am apparently very allergic to fish. When I boarded my transatlantic flight to Rome with seventeen of my classmates and three of my teachers, I was happily oblivious to the fact that my trip would end with a visit to the Italian emergency room. Luckily before all that, I was able to see all the wonders of Italy and experience what it truly means to travel abroad.
I started off in Rome, the Eternal City. Since I was traveling through my school for the week, we were set up with a great tour guide who made it possible for us to see what seemed like all of Rome in just three days. We visited the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Roman Forum and many other museums and historical sites along the way. The whole city had this ancient feel to it, and as I walked down the stone paved streets I could almost feel the spirits of the Roman souls who once lived there. I could imagine the Roman merchants selling ‘dormice‘ and ‘vino’ at the Forum, and the gladiators brutally fighting to the death at the Colosseum. In a place like Rome, it’s hard not to feel as though you’re a part of all that’s happened there.
What truly fascinated me though was the Italians themselves. I loved how they all seemed to be wearing sunglasses despite the fact that it was the middle of winter and cloudy, and how they drove adorable little cars that would be dwarfed next to my mom’s big red minivan. I loved how the Italians enthusiastically greeted my group and I with a “Ciao!” when we passed them on the street.
After spending the first half of the week in Rome, we headed off to the Almafi Coast. Our first stop was at Mt. Vesuvius, where we spent the day hiking the still-active volcano that destroyed the ancient city of Pompeii in 79 A.D. The following day my group and I took a jetfoil to the isle of Capri. It was probably the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. The island itself looked like it was right off of a post card, and everywhere from the restaurants to the shops had scenic views of the Bay of Naples.
My last day in Italy was an exciting one. My group and I saw the ruins of Pompeii as well as the modern day city of Naples. I felt liked a true Roman walking down the ancient streets of Pompeii, and a true Italian strutting around the Galleria Umberto and National Archaeological Museum in downtown Naples.
Once we were back at our hotel in Sorrento, La Residenza, my group and I sat down for dinner in the hotel dining room. I admired the incredible views of the bay while nonchalantly eating my exotic fish dinner. By the end of the meal I was getting dizzy and weak, so a concerned hotel employee suggested I see a doctor. So me, my teachers and our tour guide piled into one of the tiny Italian cars for a visit to the hospital. I was fine and most likely just had an allergic reaction to something I ate, but it was definitely an action-packed night.
Despite the dramatic ending, my trip to Italy was amazing. I developed a more defined view of the world and realized what it means to travel. I learned that sometimes it’s the unexpected twist that makes a trip unforgettable.
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