I guess the predominant thought on my mind recently is that I’m currently a skipping stone across the enormous ocean that is Europe. I’ve realized that in every city we’ve visited, there is enough history, culture and just stuff to do that we could probably spend the entire trip in that one location. In Barcelona there’s the Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona cathedral and a whole Catalan culture to be explored and learned. In Carcassonne, there’s the fortified city (I wanted a horse and a suit of armour to fill out the experience). Florence: the Santa Maria del Fiore, the leather market and hey, it’s Italy! Rome…ha. It’s Rome.
Therefore, this entire trip so far has consisted of me agonizing over which places to visit. I’ve had to pick and choose in order to adequately (not properly) experience a location and get even a basic understanding of something I have never experienced before. This is not the Asia trip at all, which was like being dumped into the deep end of a really unusual pool (with a life jacket, but it was still challenging). This is Europe, and I’m just skimming along, making notes in my journal about where I want to go again, when I’m all grown up and not paying off student loans.
By the way…as cool as Rome is, I don’t know if I want to go back. There is waaay too much traffic, too many vendors and too many kitschy tour guides demanding my attention. Wait, I fib. I do want to go back…way back, like 2000 years. In that sense, I’m a little sorry we’re not going to Pompeii. I’d forgotten that Rome was a modern day city with real people still living in it. And there are a lot of people in Rome, although St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican (totally crowded), the Forum, Pantheon and the Coliseum were all awesome experiences.
Europe is a whirlwind kaleidoscope with me hanging onto the edge, taking a zillion pictures and marvelling that all these people can live in such close proximity and not drive each other all insane. Divine intervention, I think that’s what it is.
Oh, and no matter which way you slice it, the traffic circles were scary. We’re not even in France yet!