I probably refer to my bucket list far too often in this blog, but I’m not exaggerating when I say visiting Italy probably took the top spot on the list. In fact, it was so prominent on the list that I had to divide it into several bullet points: make a wish at the Trevi Fountain, ride a gondola in Venice and eat pasta — anywhere in Italy.
Clearly, I watch too many sappy movies.
I’m grateful my mom enjoys traveling as much as I do, so I was ecstatic when she agreed to help me check off some of those items off the good ol’ bucket list. Well, she didn’t quite think of it that way. It was more like, she and I were about to embark on our first mother-daughter trip to Italy.
Unfortunately, with my work situation, it’s difficult to take extensive vacations, so we had to find a tour that was short enough to accommodate my work schedule, yet long enough to be a fulfilling experience. We found the perfect nine-day tour called “Real Italy” through the company Trafalgar. The tour would begin in Rome, then hit most of the major cities like Venice, Florence and Pompeii.
We were sold.
On Wednesday, Nov. 1, we departed the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu for the Fiumicino Airport in Rome, a journey that took about 24 hours total. After two layovers — one in Los Angeles and the other in Atlanta — we finally made it to Rome! Needless to say, I was exhausted, but a little jet lag wouldn’t stop me from enjoying everything this great city had to offer.
After checking into our hotel, we met our Trafalgar travel director, Giuseppe Spada, and also got acquainted with fellow travelers. We then grabbed a quick bite at the hotel — where I enjoyed my first pizza IN Italy — and took a nap. Later that evening, we hopped on the coach for a guided evening tour through the city.
While driving along the Tiber River, I marveled at all the centuries-old apartment buildings to my right and the colossal monuments and churches spread throughout the city. We even got a sneak peek of the famed St. Peter’s Basilica, which we would be exploring in depth the following day.
(Cue “On an Evening in Roma” by Dean Martin)
I couldn’t believe I was in Rome, a city I always dreamed of traveling to. Everything I read in my history textbooks in school would soon come alive. I was ready.