When in Rome

Rome, Italy, 16th of May, 2015

~ This first chapter is dedicated to my beautiful friend Anna and was written as a present for her wedding ~

I had a wonderful reunion in Rome with two amazing friends – Anna and Tihana. We all met in October 2013 during our traineeship in Brussels at the European Parliament. And a few weeks before the end of the program, we were in a trip in Bruges and we said that it would be great to have a reunion in Rome in a year. And we made it! I am really lucky.

Before a trip, besides my research, I am always inspired by cinema and good movies. This time I watched again Roman holiday with the always lovely Audrey Hepburn and la Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini. And to be honest – I also watched and read Eat Pray Love to be prepared for the EAT part of the trip.

Armed with Italian guidebooks, Roman tips and tricks, I took an early plane from Brussels. Tihana came in the afternoon from Zagreb, and Anna was the most adventurous because she had to change 3 (!) planes to arrive from Sweden.

So in May 2015, here in delicious Italy, were reunited, 3 girls from 3 different countries – Romania, Croatia and Lithuania. Only Poland was missing this time.

 We decided on our first evening to have a tour of Forum of Caesar / Foro di Cesare by night. And it was “un’idea meravigliosa” – indeed a wonderful idea. But really, the first thing we did was to try and see Fontana de Trevi and throw a nickel to return again (!), but “sfortunatamente“, the Fountain was in renovation! So I really have to come back.

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Italian mood

After dinner, we went to Piazza de la Republica and we had our first contact with the Roman drivers, where everybody seems to ignore the color of the light. And then we saw the sunset at Quadrinale.

 

Thursday was Roma Antica: Colosseum, Forum Romanusm, Pantheon and Piazza Venezia, but also pasta cacio e pepe, spaghetti amatraciana, cappuccino, gelato and pretty Piazza Navona.

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller”, says Ibn Battuta. I was speechless while visiting the impressive Colosseum. Looking back, I feel grateful to have seen one of the seven wonders of the world, and in a great company. Now, I am happy to be able to write a story about it.

Friday was about exploring the Vatican and the Trastevere neighborhood. This is when I feel I travel with a reason – the peaceful moments in the Vatican, talking about the meaning of faith and spirituality with the girls. We visited the beautiful Basilica San Piedro and the Vatican Museum, where we saw the famous Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo.

For sure Vatican is one of the most impressive places I’ve visited.

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Vatican

And on Saturday, on our last full day we took it easy, but we still managed to do, see or eat the following … Pantheon, Campo dei Fiori, walks in the enormous Borghese park where I even saw Piazza Bucarest, coffee at Sant’Eustachio, finally tiramisu, more gelato, wine Moscato and the best pizza.

Oh … and Spanish steps and many meetings to remember because all roads lead to Rome.

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Spanish steps

When I went on this trip I was living in Brussels and working at Microsoft. And while resting at the Spanish steps I met the CEO of the company where I work. Is like 20 years ago meeting Bill Gates… And while in Piazza Navona I met my friend from Bucharest – the beautiful Ioana. And Anna met her friend from University that right now lives in Germany. Now this is what I call a coincidence / destiny / faith / sign from God.

Also on Saturday we had a lovely encounter in a perfume shop when a (stranger) Italian lady tells you the truth about yourself and what you want just after you say you like vanilla perfume…

I always think what I have not done to do next time: Fontana di Trevi not in renovation, a tennis match during the Roma Open, to find the monument la Bocca della Verità and climb the dome of the Basilica San Pietro in the Vatican to see the square from above. And why not, meet the Pope!

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Coffee lovers at Sant’Eustachio

But first, priorities! For food – to remember what not be missed, all around Piazza Navona: pizza at Baffeto, dessert – literally next door – (best gelato) at Frigidarium. And of course – coffee after pizza and gelato at Sant’Eustachio, located close to the Pantheon, 4 minutes from Piazza Navona!

The first ever travel article I wrote was about Italy for an online magazine. I think I was 13 years old and I still have the article to read it every time I want to be remember about my dreams. I wrote about the Italian cities like I have visited them many times. And I said that Rome is a city that takes your breath away. Sounds cheesy, but after all Rome did took my breath away like I wrote years ago.

 

To conclude, Rome was overwhelmingly beautiful with places full of ancient history, legends and art. But the best thing of the trip were the people around me. You are my mirror!

Grazie. Looking forward to our next reunions.

 

Friendship

Anna and Tihana – we will always have Rome! And Brussels.

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