I booked my flight so I had a couple of days in Italy before hooking up with family elsewhere in Europe. I flew in to Fiumicino Airport and took the train to Rome – about half an hour away. I emerged from the train station and a thrill went through me as I took in this beautiful city. I couldn’t help but smile, and pinched myself to make sure I was really here. I had dreamed about this for so long. I grabbed a drink and quickly found my way to a double-decker bus that would take me from site to site. The air was still, and it was sunny. As the day went on the heat was oppressive and the humidity stifling; but I was determined to see everything I could, even if I was drenched in perspiration. As the next stop came up, my heart beat faster. This was the it. The place I had always hoped to see before I died, and here I was, walking towards it! I had expected to be let off right in from of it, but had to wind my way down a couple of streets, which made the anticipation build even more. As I neared it, I could hear the rushing water. All of a sudden the street opened up to a plaza – – and there it was, the Trevi Fountain! It was very crowded and people were everywhere, like hordes of seals, sunning themselves on a beach. I lingered at the edge of the fountain for a long time, taking it all in – the sight, the smells, the sounds; still not sure if this was all a dream. Then I found a place to sit. The only thing I would change would be that next time, I won’t go alone. Being there by myself was better than not being there at all, but I couldn’t help thinking about how nice it would be to share it with a loved one.
Finally I got up, but it was hard – I didn’t want to leave this place. I had enjoyed watching all the other people come up to the fountain, many for the first time — on a pilgrimage, like myself. I went down the steps to the fountain and tossed in a coin. That meant I would return again someday. As Audrey Hepburn said in the movie Roman Holiday:
“Rome! By all means, Rome. I will cherish my visit here in memory as long as I live . . .” Amen.
(C) Copyright 2015 by Tamara Lawrence. All rights reserved.