happy & healthy abroad: roman holiday

When in Rome apparently one walks about (if not over) 30 miles in one weekend and 550 stairs in 90 degree weather. It is right to say that tackling Rome in one weekend is crazy. So many things to do, so little time! My friends and I arrived in Rome late Friday evening and then woke up the next morning extremely early to get a start on a very very VERY busy day of visiting the Vatican Museums, St. Peter's Basilica, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Wedding Cake, Trastevere...etc. Sunday we woke up early again to see the Castello di Sant'Angelo, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum all before our train left at 5:15 in the evening. 

As exciting as it was to be in Rome, I will be completely honest and say that it was actually quite the mental and physical challenge to get through each day and accomplish all the things we wanted to do. Rome is huge and we walked literally everywhere /climbed 550 steps to the top of St. Peter's Basilica with very little down time, not to mention it was the hottest weekend so far since I have been in Italy. The combination of continuously walking and the heat also left me perpetually hungry (and thirsty). Now, it goes to say that I wouldn't have done Rome any other way with the time that we had and all the things we wanted to see. When in Rome right? The end of the weekend left me extremely exhausted but satisfied that I was able to see all the main points of interest in Rome.

In reflection of my very crazy but by all means rewarding weekend, I realized that its not exactly what you do or how many things you see that determine a successful and enjoyable visit to a new place, but rather it is the experience. If you have so many activities jammed into your itinerary that you can't even take time to truly appreciate the beautiful place that you're in or the awesome things that you're seeing, at the end of the day it doesn't feel like you really did anything except run around like a mad person all day. I may not see as much or do as many things, but I would much rather be able to fully appreciate and experience only a couple of things instead of "seeing" and "doing" everything there is to do in a given place. Rome was great, but I definitely feel like I learned a valuable lesson about how I would like to visit places in the future. My goal is to truly experience and appreciate the place where I am and connect in some way to the area and the local culture. In light of this, a famous urban planner by the name of Jane Jacobs once said "There is no logic that can be superimposed on the city, people make it, and it is to them, not the buildings that we must fit our plans.

Here are some of my favorite pictures from Rome. Make sure to read all the way to the end for a little extra blurb.

Rafaelle's School of Athens in the Vatican Museums

Rafaelle's School of Athens in the Vatican Museums

Light steaming into St. Peter's Basilica

Light steaming into St. Peter's Basilica

Lively music in Piazza Nivona

Lively music in Piazza Nivona

The view of the Piazza of San Pietro from the top of the dome

The view of the Piazza of San Pietro from the top of the dome

View from a window of the Castello di Sant'Angelo

View from a window of the Castello di Sant'Angelo

In front of the Castello di Sant'Angelo

In front of the Castello di Sant'Angelo

Representing UofM in the Colosseum- Go Blue!

Representing UofM in the Colosseum- Go Blue!

Iconic pillars in the Roman Forum

Iconic pillars in the Roman Forum

Of course this post would not be complete without at least one mention/photo of something yummy that I ate this week.  Yesterday I found the cutest smoothie & juice bar called Zazie in Ferrara and enjoyed a refreshing smoothie with banana, peaches, apricot, and natural yogurt. Surprise surprise, I found my way back here again today (how could I not when they have smoothies calling my name?) writing to all of you enjoying a delicious smoothie with banana, apple, and kiwi. Ciao and Buon' Apetito!