Reuniting in Rome

Upon finishing our road trip, we soaked up several of London’s free museums and then returned to Italy, where we met up with my brother, Ty. Ty left to study in China the day after Matt and I got married, so I hadn’t seen him in over a year! It was wonderful to reunite and kind of surreal to be traveling as siblings without our parents around.

Pompeii is a city with a crazy story! This city was demolished in AD 79 following the two-day volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius. Pompeii was buried under 4-6 meters of ash and wasn’t rediscovered until 1749!!! Its excavation continues today and walking around the ruins you gain an interesting perspective for what life must have been like at the peak of the Roman Empire. During preservation processes a technique was developed to preserve human remains. The decomposed bodies contained cavities which were injected with plaster to help recreate the construction of the people. The plaster forms are particularly spooky because they capture the expression of terror that the victims were clearly experiencing during the final moment of life as they were desperately trying to escape the ash.

Naples was so different from all of the other Italian cities we’ve visited. It was super dirty and we observed a rather “cool” attitude amongst the people. We felt like we were inconveniencing them whenever we were purchasing anything, like food at the supermarket or train tickets. Service was just very relaxed (as in, I’ve got all day to get around to helping you out) and overall unfriendly. We concluded that perhaps the people didn’t take a lot of pride in their jobs. On a more positive note, Napoli is known as the birthplace of pizza and it lived up to its reputation. We even ate some Margarita Pizza at the pizzeria featured in the movie Eat, Pray, Love.

We checked out the Amalfi Coast via an incredibly beautiful and curvacious bus ride along the Mediterranean. I spent the first half with my head against the seat in front of me as I tried to keep motion sickness from getting the best of me. Then I took some motion sickness medicine and more or less passed out for the second half of the drive! Thankfully Matt and Ty took some lovely pictures and filled me in on what I missed. How pathetic!

Rome was overwhelming, in a good way. Everywhere you looked there were Roman ruins and they are still excavating and finding more! You could walk down any street and run into something historical and impressive. Matt and I had just finished reading Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown, so it was even more exciting to walk around the city and make connections with the book. I felt we could have gone on exploring Rome forever!

Unfortunately, it was the one place we’ve been where we REALLY kept a tight hold on our belongings. We spent a lot of time on the subway and buses and on two different occasions people had stuff stolen from them. The main trick appeared to be grabbing bags sitting on the floor right as the door closed and sprinting away while the victim was left frantically pounding on the train or bus window. It was really unfortunate.

During our final night in Rome we dined next to a young couple from Chicago. The man had actually been sent to Delhi, Iowa, on business and said he had eaten somewhere that was well known for its chicken. Low and behold it was the Manchester Pizza Ranch where Ty used to work! Too funny! We concluded that he actually ate there after Ty was finished working there. We laughed and laughed and laughed. What a hilarious connection!

Ty was an entertaining travel companion and our time with him was just too short. We parted ways and he took off for London for another year of studying while Matt and I headed to Pisa, Italy, in search of a vineyard.

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