five years ago this month, I submitted to an insatiable case of travel bug and headed to Italy to visit my college roommate, Stephanie, over Spring Break. I’d returned from London to the comparative claustrophobia and mid-America suffocation of Knox and Galesburg in January and suffice it to say the transition back was difficult. as anyone who went to Knox (or endured a quarter- or term-style academic year) well knows, Winter Term is a tunnel of academic stress, personal horrors, and underexposure daylight only vaguely insinuated by winter months in the Real World. to help mitigate the heightened misery of my 2005 Winter Term, I booked a flight to Rome, installed iTunes on my computer and put Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down” and Maroon 5’s “Must Get Out” on repeat. I spent the next ten weeks confusing my Latinate-language tenses (somehow thinking that I wouldn’t get confused by taking Spanish 101 and 300-level course on France during the Vichy regime … Tim Foster would tell you otherwise) and giddily imagining all the nauseatingly historic places I could see in Rome and Florence with a Classics major.
first stop on the itinerary my first full day in Italy (as Stephanie had class the day following my arrival): the Basilica di San Pietro. my sister took the night train down from Vienna (where she was spending the semester with Earlham’s choir program) to join me for a couple of days, and the pair of us were up early to tromp down the hill to Vatican City and check out San Pietro and the Musei Vaticani before lines got out of hand. climbed to the top of the dome and were rewarded with spectacular views across the Tiber to the east (pictured above), as well as north, south (from whence we’d traveled), and west.
a week or so after Kate and I stood atop the dome, Stephanie and her friend Rachel sat in the folding chairs set up in the Piazza to hear Pope John Paul II give his final Easter address (27 March — he died 2 April).