It’s been 3 weeks since I arrived in Europe! I think about the places that I have visited, the experiences I have had and the great people that I have met – it really has been life changing…and I’m not even halfway through my trip!
This morning, I woke up at 5.30am, the sun was rising outside my window so I really quicky pulled on some clothes, threw my hair in a bun, grabbed my handbag and jogged down to the Trevi Fountain. It was so incredibly busy the previous afternoon I could barely see it through the crowds, but I was pretty sure that it would be a different story at dawn.
I arrived at the fountain and there was a small crowd of maybe 20 people gathered around. Some lovers in the corner locked in a passionate embrace, some young Aussie backpackers with a guitar and some instagrammers’ capturing the golden hour. I took a seat in front of the fountain and took in it’s beauty and intricacy for the first time. I sat for a while, then made my wish, throwing coins with my right hand over my left shoulder (which felt quite weird as a lefty).
I started chatting to the only other person at the fountain that was over 30, an Indian man named Ronald, and we left to visit the other places that would be inundated with tourists later in the day.
We went back to the Spanish steps and up to the Altar of the Fatherland, where the tomb of the unknown soldier is located in a huge marble building with incredible statues and monuments all around.
Next for me was the Vatican Museum. I booked a tour and am so glad that I did because I learned so much more about the significance and story behind many of the sculptures and artworks in the museum as she walked us through. I gained insight into the incredible mind of Michelangelo but also into the works of Raphael and his approach to creating and sharing his creative gifts.
My favourite part of the tour was most definitely the Raphael rooms, in particular, room 1. The four walls of this room represent the philosophers, the academics, the muses and the philanthropists, the tour guide explained that the room reflects the balance of life, that we need all elements – faith, knowledge, inspiration and generosity in our world.
Next I walked through the stunning Sistine Chapel with its intricate roof panels and the fresco on the rear wall depicting the last judgement.
My original plan was to head back to the apartment, have a quick nap and get changed for the Opera, but as I was walking back, I saw the sign for St Peters Square, and I just couldn’t resist walking through that iconic place that I had seen so many times on the television over the years.
An hour later I got back to the apartment, quickly changed, grabbed some takeaway McDonalds and walked as fast as I could to St Pauls in the walls, where I would be watching La Traviata. The chapel provided a stunning backdrop to the musical and the performance was beautiful.
I walked back to the apartment at around midnight, enjoying the cool night air and admiring the marble of the fountains and buildings along the way, which seemed to glow in the moonlight.