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If money and time, and all the other reasons I don’t travel magically disappeared, I know where I’d go. It surprises me a little bit every time I think about it! Take me to the Eternal City – Rome!

I started saving for a trip to Europe when I was 8! I opened my first bank account and faithfully deposited my birthday money, my allowance, and my first paychecks. Nothing was going to keep me from seeing the Scottish moors, the English castles and the gorgeous green of Ireland. By high school, I had added France, Germany and Austria.

But it wasn’t until 1999, 18 years after I started saving my pennies, that I finally boarded a plane with my Mom for the trip of a lifetime…except that it didn’t include Scotland, Ireland, Austria or Germany. We would wend our way from Italy (Rome, Florence & Venice), Switzerland (Lucerne), France (Paris) and England (London), on a flying bus trip! The mornings were early, the pace grueling, and the temperatures scorching.

In all the cities we passed through, none captured my heart like Rome. Everything was covered in history. In North America, our history is so “young”. We don’t begin to treasure what little history we have, so we tear down and rebuild, losing character and history for “ticky-tack” houses and large box stores.

Being able to do this with my Mom made it extra special! We both  love history and so we soaked it all up. There was so much we missed, so much we were herded by with no time to ponder or reflect. We furiously wrote in journals, comparing our notes so that someday, as we sat graying in our chairs, a pot of tea between us, we could relive these moments.

If I could choose to go anywhere in the world, I would choose Rome. I would meander down quiet streets, and take time to sit in the piazzas to people-watch. I would wander leisurely through the ruins, worship quietly in the churches, and pause in the catacombs.

I may never get to visit the Eternal City again, but just in case….I’m learning Italian!

Forse un giorno!

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July 1999

She had always been fond of history, and here [in Rome] was history in the stones of the street and the atoms of the sunshine.”- Henry James