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Italy day 1, the Heart of Rome

We left our home in Michigan shortly after breakfast on Friday, and arrived in Rome shortly after breakfast on Saturday. The time between is memorable only in a sort of questionable or tenuous fashion. There were two planes, three airports, a few odd meals here and there, but those places, and the exact number of hours of dark and light, is a little blurry in my memory. What is not at all fuzzy to me is my first day ever on a new continent, riding in the taxi through lands unknown, turning a corner and finding that we were surrounded by ancient ruins, and lugging our stuff into our temporary Roman home with awestruck eagerness.

In Rome, the seven of us stayed in an apartment only three blocks from the Spanish Steps in one direction, Trevi Fountain in another. We were in the heart of the high fashion district, right on the Heart of Rome walking tour, as recommended by Rick Steves, and that's what we did with our first day, although on so little sleep it might have been more like a Heart of Rome stumbling tour. From the Spanish Steps and Bernini's boat fountain we wandered through narrow streets made of pavers and lined with tall, colorful buildings. We found lunch in a small alley restaurant, and were surprised to turn a corner into a small square (piazza) and find the Pantheon in the middle of the modern day hustle.

It was a Saturday, and every piazza, every street, every restaurant was crowded with sight seers. We ducked in a church here and there, we stopped again for snacks and beer, we wandered by Marcus Aurelius' column and looked at the reliefs, we struggled through the crush of people at Trevi Fountain, we saw parliament and the post office, and we got briefly lost before going back to our Roman home to refresh before dinner.

And we made it. I think a couple of us took short naps, some of us just washed our faces, drank water, changed clothes, and dragged ourselves back out again, but regardless of the method, we made it out for dinner and back again before finally collapsing for the night. I found it surprisingly easy—it was the awe of being in a completely new world that kept me going. That amazing feeling, however, didn't keep me from finally dropping into a restful oblivion shortly after dinner.

And that was day 1.

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