After a two hour wait at SeaTac, nine and a half hours on the plane to Germany, five hours in the Frankfurt airport, and another hour long plane ride, I finally made it to Rome. All the traveling feels worth it.
The highlight of my two days of travel was definitely sleep. Anywhere that I could find it, be it with head falling over and neck hurting while sitting up or spread out on a a row of seats in the German airport, the five or so times that I drifted in and out of sleep felt glorious, however short lived. The low point came when Lindsey and I found ourselves abandoned in the German airport. In the five hours we had to kill, everyone spread out and fell asleep near our gate. By the time Lindsey and I wanted to sleep too, the area we were sitting at was full. We walked over to the next gate and fell asleep. I don’t know how long we slept for, only that I cradled my bag for fear of it being stolen and woke up numerous times for fear that we would miss our flight. The last time I woke up, after hearing the word “Italy” said over the intercom, I walked over to where our group had been sitting and discovered that they were all gone. Panicked, I woke Lindsey up and we found out through an airport employee that our flight had changed to a different gate, across the airport. We ran across the airport and thankfully found everyone before we could be left alone in Germany.
Standing outside the airport in Italy, the climate reminded me of L.A. The shrubbery and landscape on the drive from the airport reminded me of Eastern Washington. I kept waiting for the scenery to start looking Italian. We drove past a dump and past a broken down ferris wheel, but it wasn’t until we passed our first ruins that it finally started to hit me. We arrived at our hotel around seven at night. On the bus ride over, we passed the Colosseum. Italy began to feel more like something I could touch, rather than something I could look at only in movies.
In our search for dinner, Lindsey and I strolled down cobblestone streets where vespas zipped past us. We passed restaurant after restaurant and everything looked delicious. We finally walked into a little restaurant, I spoke very quiet Italian to the server, and she sat us outside. We drank wine to celebrate our first night in Rome and stayed at the restaurant for over an hour. Everything about the atmosphere felt cool and laid back. Loud tables of Italians talked and smoked next to us. Street performers played clarinet and guitar and vendors selling roses harassed us at our tables. It was perfect. It was too perfect, actually. It felt like it was a made up Italy, a theme restaurant or an exhibit at Epcot. Lindsey and I both kept waiting to wake up from the surreal world we had found ourselves in.
Thankfully, we haven’t woken up yet.