[Ancient Rome. It's not like home.]
[Romulus and Remus]
I've been traveling in Italy with my friend Dani, and it's been really fun. We discovered that we are both "go-getters" when it comes to travel. That means that we are quite efficient in what we see and do in a day--much to the chagrin of our feet. But, we've been making sure to drink lots of water and eat lots of gelato in Italy, so things are going very well.
When Dani and I got into Rome, we dropped our stuff off at the hotel (the receptionist's name was Luigi, which was pretty perfect, imo), and then hit the ground running to find the Colosseum and the Roman Forum.
One of the things I liked most about Rome was how you have ancient Roman ruins alongside 19th-century government buildings, Renaissance churches, and 21st-century shops. It's really cool. And you'll just be walking along the street and then, BAM! There's the Colosseum.
Seeing the Colosseum and the Roman Forum in real life and walking around ancient Roman ruins was a dream come true for me. It was surreal--it still feels surreal. I am so incredibly grateful and humbled that I got to do something that so many people do dream of experiencing.
[With Dani! One of my favorite photos from the trip.]
[Walking into the Forum]
One of the best things about Rome is that they have public water fountains everywhere and you can drink from them. This is especially good when you are wandering the streets of the city and it's just so hot. The water from the fountains is clear and cold and amazing.
[Fresh water, courtesy of SPQR]
Dani and I made sure to hit the major tourist spots--the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, etc.
[Look at that dome.]
[We both threw a coin behind our shoulders into the Trevi fountain--means that we'll come back to Rome someday.]
[Another day of sun.]
And, of course, we made sure we ate plenty of gelato and delicious Italian pasta.
[My first real Italian gelato. Also. We were exhausted by this point. But then we got gelato and everything looked brighter. But really. Gelato saves the world.]
[Yay for Italian food! And it was so, so good.]
One of my favorite parts of that first day in Rome was getting to see the Borghese Gallery. We lucked out--all the presale tickets were booked until Friday, but we asked the man at the information desk and there were some tickets still available for the last hour of the day. So we took them. And oh, I was so happy that we did. The Borghese Gallery has become one of my favorite art galleries in the world.
[That ceiling, though.]
[Um. This is how I stand sometimes.]
[The original man bun]
My main reason for wanting to go to the Borghese Gallery was to see the sculptures by Bernini. I was not disappointed. They are absolutely, positively, stunningly exquisite. The way that Bernini was able to make these sculptures seem alive, full of emotion, and touchable is just incredible.
[The Rape of Persephone]
[Apollo and Daphne]
[This one was just incredible. It's beautiful how Daphne's fingers turn to branches and her toes to roots--and how her body turns to bark. Apollo thinks he has caught her, but he just touches a tree.]
And now, the real, REAL reason I wanted to come to the Borghese Gallery. Bernini's David. Everyone talks about Michelangelo's David, and rightfully so--but for me, this David is even more striking. I love how he's in the moment of battle--his forehead is furrowed, his sling is taut, his lips are pursed, and every muscle in his body is ready and going in for the kill. It's absolutely fantastic. And I fell a bit in love (or a lot bit in love) with this statue. But it's just a crush, I promise.
[Isn't he beautiful?]
[One more look.]
The first day in Rome was exhausting, but also extraordinary. Hooray for great traveling companions like Dani who are willing to take it all on and all in with me.