Sunday, September 29, 2013

Siena Bound

After a quick breakfast, I headed to Station Termini Roma to catch a train to Siena. I have to admit that i felt a bit like Harry Potter on his way to Hogwarts for the first time. i didn't have the faintest clue of where to be and what to do and I didn't  have a Hagrid to help me. find my way I did, and after discovering I was 2 minutes late for the train, I settled in for a 2 hour wait for the next one. This main station in Rome is a wondrous people watching place, and before too long I was entertained by arms flailing and Italian tempers raging. They are so passionate when they speak! Two hours flew by and after figuring out where i needed to be, I was on a train.

The country side is all I had imagined, and it looks just like I remember it, only in the last throws of summer. The corn is high and golden brown in the fields and the sunflowers have bowed their giant heads in defeat of fall. I couldn't count how many vineyards I saw and I look forward to sampling the labour of their harvests soon! 

I had to switch trains at the Chiusi station and as I disembarked I learned that the next train was in 1.5 hours and not the 20 mins I had expected. Oh Sundays how you mess with my schedule. I figure out where I needed to be and sat down for the wait... And then the rain came. It poured! I made my way into the cafe to get a sandwich and a hot cup of chocolate - the chocolate was more like warm pudding - who does that to hot chocolate? Back up to the platform to wait... I was the only one standing there save a kid of 17ish who insisted on playing his techno and dancing... Oh Italia, how awesome you are! Good thing he was there as suddenly they changed platforms for the train an he told me to get moving - we made the train barely - and we're off! This train was obviously the milk run, but I didn't mind as I got to see the amazing landscape and quaint towns that I imagine visiting over the course of the next few months.

Despite the long day of waiting and the cold and wet weather, this goofy grin is still on my face - you can't brig this traveller down! :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Roman Holiday

Amazing is all I can say about today! I had a rough sleep last night, thanks to jet lag... But managed to get some sleep and hit the road around 10. I have been to Rome before so the usual sites were not on the docket today.... I picked a couple and looked at a map before I left and headed out, without it. I didn't want to be one of those tourists that wander from one site to another without seeing them, so I wandered with only a general direction of where I was going. It served me well today!

Walked to the coliseum and then tried to find my way to the Trevi fountain - I threw a coin in it in the year 2000 and the legend says that you will return if you do this. I had to go and see it again and throw another coin in. I didn't find it immediately, I got lost in a winding maze of small cobble stone streets. It was delightful as I peaked in to the windows to see the amazing shoes, clothes and nicknacks. I was in awe of the architecture and brilliant stone work and as I followed the crowds, I eventually found the fountain I was looking for. It was so packed with tourists that it honestly took away from the beauty of this sculptural marvel. It is so beautiful that it makes you wonder what the hell you are doing with your life if you can't create something so magnificent! 

After an incredible pasta lunch I continued on my journey, determined to keep my eyes up and open to take in all the magic of Rome! It boggles my mind that people can live here and not appreciate how incredible and old everything is! I guess we do that with the mountains... Take them for granted. I was wandering and finally stopped at a map on the street to see if I could find out where I was... Turns out that where I wanted to be was right behind me. The Bocca Della Verita - or the mouth of truth. This site was seen on "Roman Holiday" - my favourite Audrey Hepburn movie. It is said that if you put your hand in the mouth of the carving and tell a lie, the lion will bite your hand off. I was elated to find it but disappointed in the line up - it was about an hour wait. I said screw this, worked my way through to the gate, snapped a picture and continued on my way. It was above 30 degrees and I'm not patient to begin with! 

Onwards! I wandered over to the "wedding cake" or the "Monumento a Vittorio Emanuelle II" and stumbled upon the gelattoria that was in "Roman Holiday"... I got two amazing flavours and walked to the Spanish steps to re-enact a scene from the movie! All I was missing was Gregory Peck! :) 

Having seen all that was in my short list, I headed in the direction back to my hotel... Or so I thought. I got terribly lost and couldn't even find a metro. After about 1.5 hours of wandering (because being lost in Rome is so incredibly beautiful) I stopped at a hotel to get a map... Only to find out that I was 6 blocks from my hotel!! I then stopped to celebrate my brilliance with an afternoon beer and people watching. 

Since it is Saturday, all the markets are out and buzzing. I walked through one this morning that was so alive with the smells of Italy! The truffles, basil, tomatoes, it was brilliant and it made me wish that I wasn't moving on tomorrow or I would have bought a ton of stuff! I am sure that Siena will have markets like this! :) 

Another amazing Roman day - how did I get so lucky to be here? It is simply magnificent! I am off to Siena tomorrow to get the keys to my apartment and to meet the roomate(s) - an exciting day for sure!

Miss you all - hope things are great there! 
H



Friday, September 27, 2013

Ciao Roma!

After 2 wonderful days of visiting family in Ontario, I boarded a flight for Rome. I was hoping that the beers I had before boarding would help me sleep on the plane. No such luck... Either it was excitement or I was just too tired, but I didn't sleep more than 30 mins on the plane... No matter how hard I tried. 

We landed 8.5 hours later and I have arrived in Rome. Oh Europe... How rude you are! First stop, customs. The lady hardly looked at my passport never mind my face! Then, luggage. There was so much luggage coming out of the carousel that it got jammed and stopped. This caused all the North Americans to freak out an start circling it like vultures. I just stood and laughed... I will get there when I get there! :) finally found luggage, got some Euros and found out where I needed to go. First stop... Espresso! Ahhhh, so good! Today will be a multi-shot day! 

Boarded the train to Termini Station enroute to... Not sure actually, it just sounded and looked central. I will find a hostel/hotel when I get there.

It's so hard to explain how I feel right now... Overwhelmed, excited, anxious, proud... After dreaming about this for so long I am here. I just want to get started! :) 

I was just sitting in front of the coliseum imagining what it was like thousands of years ago, when gladiators were fighting, crowds roaring, Caesar deciding who would live or die. It amazes me and I sat there in awe of this place with so much history. I'd forgotten how big this thing is!

There is so much to write about, the shoes, the fashion (Tori, you would LOVE it here), the people, the architecture, the gelato, the nuns, the million smarties, the vespas, the roof top patios (we would patio the shit out of this place Chris!), the everything! It is such a wonderful city! It is 4:30 here and things have slowed down for the afternoon, so I sat in a plaza, had a pizza, espresso and gelato - when in Rome, right :).

I am having a cold beer in my room thinking about my day and what lay before me. (thank you Adam for teaching me how to open a bottle with just a lighter!) I can't believe that I have been on the go for about 26 hours and I still have fuel in the ol' tank. Must be the espressos!

Well, I'm going to sign off, but I want you all to know that I have arrived safe and am happy. I am where I should be, exactly where I should be! :)

Love to you all, Ciao!
H

Friday, September 20, 2013

Last day

Well, it's my last day of work before I leave. I have such mixed emotions. I am really excited, but I hate missing things and I really love where I work and what I do. I have a feeling that I am going to miss so much! I need to learn to let it go and have things go beyond my control. That's part of what this whole adventure is about... learning to deal :)

There is so much still to do and I find that all I want to do is hang with my friends and soak in as much time with them as I can. I have developed such a great group of people around me, it is hard to go to a place where I will be all alone... it's exciting but I can't help but feel a little crazy today.

Well... nothing left to do but get on that plane and see what is in store. The path infront of me is unknown (which I don't deal well with) but I am sucking it up and am just going to ride this one out. First stop, Tdot. I have family there that I want to see. Then... Roma, which is most likely where the next post will come from. 

Thank you friends and family... I am sure this experience will meet all of our expectations, most likely exceed them. It should be absolutely amazing! :) Ciao!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Ticking time...

"Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life" - Jack Kerouac

I can't help but feel that this is going to be me in a week and a bit when I land in Rome. I know that I will feel immensely alone and excited about this adventure. I must remember to sit back, enjoy this ride as I haven't the foggiest idea on where it will take me. As my dear friend Elisa tells me "Just sit on the bus" - embrace the moments even if you're scared, worried, nervous, frustrated. I am only going to be there at that moment once... better try and remember all I can! 

The road is life. My road has been windy and messy and weird. It is all about the journey and I wouldn't change a moment of it - even the really messy, hard, sad moments. They are like the collection of the photos you take on your holiday, only they are the moments captured in your life. Regardless of what the memory is, they are beautiful in their joy and pain and love. The road is life. Just travel it!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

14 days

In 14 days, I will be on a plane. I will be anxious and giddy with excitement. I will be nervous and uncertain about what is to come. I will be laughing at how many feelings one person can feel at one time. I will be worried about the things I have left behind that are not quite done. I will be happy with the decision that I made to do something that I have always wanted to do. I will be content with where I am and live in the moment.

In 14 days, my whirlwind adventure begins. I can hardly wait. These next weeks I am sure will fly by but seem to take forever at the same time... how this adventure unfolds, no one knows!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Another checked off the ol' Bucket List!!

Well... I finally did it... after YEARS of talking, I made an appointment, selected my art and went and got a tattoo! I was really nervous about the pain, so the artist went slow for the first line... stopped and looked up at me and asked "How was that?". I looked back at her and said "That's IT?? That's what I have been afraid of for so long?" - she laughed and proceeded for the next 45mins to create this...
This little dude is the symbol of the Reykjavik Marathon in Iceland and the year is of course the year I ran it. I think it turned out perfectly!

Now, I am not saying that getting a tattoo was painless, it was uncomfortable and there were times where I would say it hurt. What I am saying is that it isn't as bad as everyone says it is... I was thinking that I was going to cry through the whole thing and it would be unbearable. Not so friends, not so!

So, as I get closer and closer to my journey abroad... I also get closer and closer to completing my bucket list. I better start thinking of some things to add, because at the rate I am going this year, I won't have anything left by the time I reach 40!!!