It has always been a dream of mine to visit Rome, Italy, to go to the coliseum, St Peter’s, and the Vatican. One of the few reasons why I joined the Navy was to see the world, the other was to serve my country.
When we anchored off the coast of Naples, Italy my best friend Christina Rico and I took a three hour bus ride from Naples to Rome. We spent the day driving around, touring Rome. The bus finally parked and allowed us a few hours to visit the Coliseum, then St Peter’s. After that it took us to our hotel where we were given a real Italian meal. Though some of the people we were with wanted to call it a night, but I looked at Christina and said, “I’ve finally made it to Rome, I’m going out.” She agreed with me.
The thing about Rome is that there are fountains every where you look and some of them are lit up so that the streets of Rome are never dark…I said some of them. We walked and walked until we found the Spanish Stairs. Then walked some more until we found a small pub where we ran into a couple of friends. After a few drinks, we walked around some more and found a coffee shop that was oddly opened at the wee hours of the morning.
It was near five in the morning when we decided that it was best to head back to our hotel. We started to walk around, looking for our way back when we found the subway. This was my first and only time ever riding a subway. It didn’t appear to resemble anything that I’ve seen on TV. In fact, it was quiet and so very clean, I was impressed.
When we got to our room we decided a quick bath and a nap was probably best before we got back on our tour bus at seven. The tour bus took us back over to St Peter’s and the Vatican, where we had more time to spend walking around, seeing the sights. Since Christina and I already walked around St Peter’s, we decided the Vatican was next on our list to see.
The Sistine Chapel was all that I cared to see, though I was amazed at all the statues and tapestries we saw along the way to the Sistine Chapel. When we finally walked into the Sistine Chapel I felt a moment of awe. I honestly cannot explain it. I even felt the same spirituality when I walked into St Peter’s Basilica. An overwhelming sense of calm and peace. I looked up to the ceiling, staring at the beautiful paintings of Michelangelo and began to tear up. Words just cannot express what I was feeling, but if you have ever been there, then you understand. Maybe it was my understanding of what Michelangelo went through while he painted these murals, or maybe it was my knowledge of the history of St Peter’s, or maybe it was the fact that I was standing in such a holy place that I could feel the presence of God.
Though this trip was back in 2002, it will always be one that I will remember, and one that I will always cherish.