I’m a military brat, Air Force to be exact, so my entire life consisted of a new home (usually in a new country as well) every 3 to 4 years. My parents and brother (@Rabble_Rowser on Twitter) live in Germany now, I live and go to grad school in NYC, so I was visiting them in Germany. If you want to know more about my nomadic life check out this collaborative art project I created called Operation: Global Migration.
Like thousands of other travelers I had an awful experience heading from New York to Frankfurt. The flight was a mild form of torture. I had barely any space to breathe since I was sandwiched between two large men. One of the men was Mr. Snorlax (name explains it all) who also decided to spill his beer on me less than an hour after takeoff. Thus forcing me to smell like an Okoberfest for the remainder of the flight. Welcome to Germany huh…
Since I couldn’t sleep, because Mr. Snorlax snores have the power to penetrate even the highest of headphone volumes, I decided to try (for the 56th time) the humanly impossible boards on Dante’s Inferno for the PSP. I’m pretty much almost done with the game, which is why I’m still playing it, but the last boards are ridiculous and have outrageous amounts of enemy waves making it damn near impossible to beat. (Come to find out from my brother Dante’s Inferno on the PSP is much harder than on 360 or PS3. Which made me feel a bit better, but still angry at how stupid the game is at the end. Poor mans God of War.) After I die, again, the rage inside builds up and I contemplate hitting Mr. Snorlax on the forehead with my PSP, but I decide to just turn the game off instead.
I land in Frankfurt the same time I am supposed to be boarding my connecting flight to Stuttgart. I had a lurking suspicion I wasn’t going to make that flight. After they reopened the gates because of a security issue (just my luck) I end up making it to my gate an hour later to find out my flight was canceled because of bad weather and I have to wait an obnoxious 6 long hours until the next one. I then turned myself into one of those people you see on the news sleeping in the air port for a few hours. It sucked. A lot. What seemed like weeks later I finally made it to Stuttgart, Germany in one piece, although the same can’t be said for my sanity.
I have a day to rest before we leave for our bus trip to Italy. Did I mentioned I got the flu? If the flu wasn’t bad enough on its own with bed rest, imagine having the flu on a packed bus for over 12 hours. I was pretty miserable. I passed the time by playing Mario Party, Mario Kart, Super Scribblenauts and Bomberman on my DS with my brother and a guy a sister sitting next to us.
It is close to midnight by the time we finally make it to Pisa, our first stop. The next morning I wake up in my hotel room and it feels like a truck ran over my body, backed up, and ran over it again. We head over to Pisa and it’s raining in the most pathetic fallacy kind of way. It might have been because I was delirious from being sick, but seeing The Leaning Tower of Pisa was surreal. But that seemed to be the only interesting thing in Pisa.
Fast forward to Rome. Now I’ve been to Rome once before and it is by far one of my favorite cities. The old and new blended together always takes my breath away. We get there Christmas eve and had dinner near the Vatican at a tourist trap restaurant our tour guide planned for us. It was equipped with pseudo Roman solider, overly flirtatious and slightly annoying opera singers (okay very annoying) and bad Italian food. Yes, BAD ITALIAN FOOD. I think our German tour guide thought that us “stupid Americans” wouldn’t be able to tell what good Italian food was but I could tell. Or maybe she thought we’d get too drunk off the endless vino we’d forget how bad it was. Either way, it was extremely disappointing and although I could barely eat, having a fever and all, I could still taste the lack of taste in the food.
The next day we went to Christmas Day Mass at the Vatican (so we could say we’ve seen the Pope because it sounds cool). It was raining, pathetic fallacy once again, and I was having trouble keeping my breakfast inside my stomach. We waited and waited amongst thousands of people in the rain for the Pope to glide out in his (rumored) red Prada shoes. Just when my breakfast almost had enough waiting, the rain stopped, the clouds parted and both the sun and Pope Benedict XVI graced us with their presence. He was supposed to do the blessing in 8 different languages but only did 2. I guess he didn’t want to get his hair wet. Just like that he was gone and took the sun with him. No lie.
The next day we drove 3 hours to Pompeii which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was so much larger than I had imaged.
Our tour guide said that Pompeii is the largest archeological site in the world which was clear. It was amazing to see how so many of the frescos and statues were still intact. The entire time I kept saying, “This is so cool!” I know what a way with words I have. Me and my brother also noticed the large amount of stray dogs in Pompeii and said that the name “Dogs of Pompeii” would be an awesome band name. Indeed it would little brother, indeed it would.
The fourth day back in Rome we went to the Vatican Museum in which our tour guide Luigi (yes that was his real name) lost half of our group. I have a feeling if his name was Mario we wouldn’t have had that problem.
The last time I was in Rome they were voting on the new Pope so the Sistine Chapel was closed and finally seeing it in person was overwhelming, intense and of course beautiful. I managed to sneak some pictures in but shh don’t tell anyone.
The last part of my trip was in Florence. Florence is a beautiful city and if I wasn’t so exhausted and it wasn’t so cold I would have loved to stay there longer. I saw the Statue of David by Michelangelo which embodied all aspects of the word perfection. When we were walking past The Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore my brother said, “Looking at the buildings in Florence makes me want to pop in Assassins Creed 2 for a quick minute.”
I had an amazing and memorable trip overall. Consuming massive amounts of gelato and pizza helped me cope with the vicious flu that camped out in my body for a few days. If you ever have the chance to make it to Europe go to Italy, you won’t regret it!