Stop 5: Rome. Rome was the last stop on our trip. Back to where we had started. I remember waking up late and knowing that I no longer had to navigate myself anymore. Sadie was finally our personal tour guide and we could follow her footsteps for every turn. I could look up and around at the world and not down and straight ahead as we had been before.
It was a relief, a tiring relief. I found the walking in Rome to be the most exhausting of all the cities we had ventured around in. Naturally, we hit all the major stops: the Colosseum, the Pantheon, the Birthday Cake (the name given to Piazza Venezia by students in Rome), and Trevi Fountain (which gave tribute to the attack in Brussels that very night).
We walked up a path made of stairs that led to the massive Villa Borghese gardens. The heart shape of the gardens draws attention I did not expect. From up there one can see all of Rome and beyond. It is a spot isolated from the city, so much so I felt as if I had escaped Italy. The place acted as a portal to some new destination. There was a long path that ended at a gorgeous fountain. From the pictures I noticed how mystical it was. The colors were replicas of a Monet palate, and I wondered what it was like long ago. How long has the mist that surrounded the small pond been there? It wouldn’t surprise me if the water went as deep as mythological depths can.
We sat on the bench to rest our feet for the long walk back. I watched lovers in high tensions, children in high spirits, and dancers plainly high live their lives around me. I thought of what they are like when removed from the heart. It was all too passionate, and caused me to feel overwhelmed. I wanted to leave and discover a love for something as strong as they had, but was removed of the drive to do so (due to exhaustion). It was very confusing and upside-down. By the time I got back to my room I laid down on the bed with an intense headache. Wine and food later on brought back my happy intentions, but that still stuck with me. No wonder the gods were impulsive forces.
Italy was a fascination not truly understood. I still question the trip and know that there are pieces from it that will never be answered. However, I have accepted this ignorance cast upon me, and know that someday I will return and confront even more than I will overcome, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Italy is a place to search, not discover.
And I can’t wait to return to being lost there again.