this summer i went to, Italy for what turned to be a three week trip with a friend of mine from college. it was a really a good experience. i have never been out of the country before and, for years i wanted to go. i had always wanted to go on a exchange when i was in college but i couldn't afford it. and, you know, finally, you know, i graduated from school and i, i decided that i was just going to throw all my money into this trip to to Europe. and it, it was definitely worth it. um, i don't think i could have made a better decision as far as that was concerned.
um, we flew into Rome, and we, were going to be meeting up with the tour on our third day there, so we had a little bit of leeway where we were just going to, kind of, show ourselves around. and, at first it was bit overwhelming. we landed in a_ the airport in Rome. and it was just another world immediately, i mean, the chaos there was just out of this world, i mean. we had had a layover in Heathrow on the way there, and everything in England was just so organized, and so_ and everybody was so cordial. and, then all of a sudden we were in Rome and it was just like_ everyone was pushing these metal carts to pick up their suitcases, but they were all going in opposite directions and they were just kind of getting into all these traffic jams. and_ i mean... i don't know what i expected, hehehe. i think i was expecting that everything would have English subtitles underneath it or something. so i felt i this sort of like this barbarian coming over there like, "where's my language?" you know, and, i didn't- i didn't understand Italian. i 'd taken a year of it at high school, at one point, and that was the extent of my experience. and i'd also been told that Spanish is very similar to Italian. so i was, i was expecting that, you know, i would be able to, interpret what was going on just based on my knowledge of Spanish. because i, you know, i felt like i had some pretty extensive knowledge of Spanish. but uh... it didn't really work out that way. um... the friend that i was with, really didn't know any Italian either. and it took us, i would say, about two hours to just get ourselves out of the airport, get our luggage, and get on the proper, bus that was going to take us to our hotel. i mean it was it was definitely a crazy crazy arrival time.
and... i don't know as as we, you know, spent more time there, we got more and more used to the way that things worked. um, we, had a big hassle with public transportation on our first day, where we decided to take a bus into town. and, uh, we didn't know where to get off the bus. again i don't know what we were expecting. i guess we were expecting somebody to like hold up an English sign and say, "Debbie and Christine, you can get off the bus now." but, uh, of course, you know, that didn't happen. and, you know, we ended up just riding around on this bus endlessly. and we kept trying to ask people questions and_ you know, in broken Spanish slash English Italian and it, you know, it wasn't turning out too well for us. finally we ran into an exchange student and he helped us. he got us off the bus at the right stop and, pointed us in the proper direction. but it was, it was really you know, really quite chaotic. and of course ra- Rome is a really, really manic city, i mean, just the traffic is completely insane. i mean there's traffic rules but, people just kind of consider them to be, you know, optional i guess. so here we are stumbling around the city, all jet-lagged. and, you know, there's ten thousand mopeds, everywhere. i mean... uh, i think you can get a license when you're like fourteen to drive a moped. they have all these half crazed kids driving around on mopeds. and, you know, they don't care. you can be in the middle of the street, they'll just mow you on down. so... you know, it's definitely a far cry from, Princeton where the pedestrians all have the right of the way. i'm just stumbling out in the middle of the street thinking that people are gonna, you know, let me let me pass. bu, you know, people were just narrowly missing me with their, vehicles. so that, that was an interesting little introduction into the, the ways of Italy.
but uh... actually while we were there, we wound up covering a lot of territory. we spend about... three days in Rome at first and then we, we moved onto, uh, Florence which i actually liked a lot more than Rome. um, it's a beautiful city. we were there for, about three days. um... the tour that we were on was very fast-paced which was one thing that i think i would change if i went back. i would like to do things, you know, according to when i want to do them and, not according to, you know, when this group of people tells me to... you know, move on to the next place. because, in a lot of cases i felt we didn't really get to absorb everything there was to get absorb in a certain city. we were always just piled back on the tour bus and taken to the next place. we covered a lot of territory, but... sometimes we just felt like we were running past things, which was a kind of crazy. and i think i also found a lot of people on our tour group to be rather embarrassing. like, i felt just they should just just gotten shipped straight to Fort Lauderdale. huh, and you know, they seemed to have a primary interest in just getting drunk in a hotel bar and like, hooking up with each other. and, nobody really, nobody really had any cultural interest in being in Europe. you know, i felt like Europe was waste,d on them in a way. so i guess i was being sort of, you know, elitist about that. but um, it was it was kind of weird being thrown together with a random group of people. um... and it was, it was a... a tour that was designed primarily for young people. it was very cheap. and they had us staying in hostels and in really, you know, inexpensive hotels. so the people on the tour were all, under the age of thirty and, you know, some of them were acting like they were under the age of fifteen. so, hehe, it was definitely, it was definitely an interesting experience, as far as they were all concerned. but_
but it, it was definitely wonderful to be over in Europe. i... unfortunately i felt that, i wasn't there that long enough to really, to see everything that i wanted to see. i mean... i think that, it was just long enough for me to feel like, "okay now i'm ready to stay" now_ i was really settled in then it was like, "okay time to load your stuff back on the plane and go back home." so that was a little bit_ a little frustrating for me. and, the other frustrating thing was, uhm, we stopped in England on the way back. and, i've always wanted to go to England. i wanted to go on exchange there when i was in, in college and i didn't get to. so of course like passing through England for me was like, you know, dangling a carrot in front of my face and then saying "you can't have it." so it was, it was really rough, you know, we we had our big hour layover in England and i, like, couldn't even see outside the airport and i just really wanted to_ i really wanted to just, you know, go around and see something. and i was actually hoping we would miss our flight. because we almost did. we missed our flight from Rome, to Heathrow on the way home. and they had to book us on a later flight. and... as a result they were thinking we might miss our connecting flight. so i was all psyched up for this, and i was like, "yeah we're going to be stuck in England for, you know, a couple of days. this'll be great, you know, we'll just have to, just have to bear it, you know." but the girl i was with was all frantic, you know, she really wanted to get back and, they wound up like, providing a special little tram service to whip us off to our next flight, and, we didn't miss it after all. but, it was a really nice trip. i, definitely hope i can go back, if i can, you know, save enough money this year. that's another thing that i hope i can do. huh, there are so many things i want to do and i can't afford them. that's the problem. but... it was a good trip.