One of my favourite things about travelling is having things be different, mostly good, sometimes not so good–like having to drag a heavy suitcase along cobblestone streets in 30+ degree heat. We had some experiences earlier in 2019 as a family that were stressful different–so it is a tonic to have experiences together that widen our views rather than just jangle our nerves and drain our energy.
The other thing I love is all the unexpected experiences that turn out to be interesting and moving. My eyes filled with tears seeing a woman, who seemed to have travelled a long way, fall to her knees to pray in St. Peters Basilica. I am far from Catholic, but I was moved by her devotion. A ritual was taking place while we were there on Friday evening, with incense burned and chanting and the priests marching together to a chapel. The experience also made me realize how little I know, despite the fact that the children keep asking me questions. I was also delighted to see the changing of the Swiss guards in their crazy Harlequin-esque outfits designed by Michelango. I had never heard about this tradition.
Hopefully I am here to learn, to observe, to learn some Italian and to also eat gelato. Having been in Italy twice before as a teenager, I remembered how good it is. Giolitti’s gelato in Rome may well be the best I’ve ever had, but I will keep trying to make it scientific.