Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Retro Vacation Photos {Rome & Italy}

I'm skipping ahead in my retro vacation photo series past any trips I took in high school, straight to my very first voyage to a foreign land: ITALY! This bildungsroman will be told in two parts, and contains more anecdotes than most of my future photo series will. You may find that it is one part comedy, one part tragedy. My life is sort of like an opera in that way.

Let me just say that when I was in college, I always thought I looked half way decent...but looking back at myself now....UGH! What was I thinking?

in front of Mt. Vesuvius in the ancient city of Pompeii
In all of the photos from my college trips, I was attempting to dress comfortably and casual, but I was a fashion nightmare. I know that. It doesn't matter now. Well it does matter because I will only be showing a select few photos of myself in 'MSSU' t-shirts, jeans and tennis shoes with a sweatshirt tied around my waist and my ultra dorky 'travel document pouch' HIDDEN beneath my shirt. Our professor insisted that we wear a necklace containing our passports, money, important papers in a pouch under our shirt so it was very hard to wear flattering clothing while trying to conceal a small carry-on on top of my boobs, under my shirt. And a giant lens film camera on top of my boobs on top of my shirt. Layer, layer, layering is the key when traveling comfortably. Right.

Another interesting thing about photos of me from my trips...is that there aren't very many....since I signed up for these excursions on a whim, I wasn't traveling with my BFF....sure I tried to make friends on the trips, but travel cliques are hard to break into, so I just tried to be friends with everyone which meant that I didn't get my picture taken too frequently unless I asked someone to juggle own their camera and get a shot of me in front of a famous volcano or monument (just as everyone else was posing in front of the same scene)...or unless someone randomly snapped a picture of me and I accidentally looked at their camera and a picture like this was born; forever not in my favor.

Look at me, I am in a castle!! I look thrilled.
When I went to Italy, in 2003, I bought the largest suitcase I could find. And the smallest travel journal so that it would be completely manageable for the trip. The travel journal was perfect, but the suitcase experience was horrible. When we landed in Italy, my suitcase was literally wrapped like a packing tape sculpture. It was completely wrapped in saran wrap and clear tape when it came off the luggage carousel. I had to wait in a special line and go to a special office so that someone could help me open it. Inside was a tiny note saying that my suitcase had been searched. No shit.

Apparently the zipper wasn't functioning correctly and they couldn't close it. After that day I had no trouble with the zipper, but it was scary and horrifying to arrive in my first foreign country with everything that I could fit in an enormous suitcase rifled through. I can't say that I blame them for looking through my suitcase actually. One of my professors had recommended that I do some art history research throughout the trip so that I could stay informed about the places I would be visiting. It made perfect sense that I listen to his advice, since I had never been out of the United States before. So, when he lent me the text book on Italian Art, I made sure it had a spot in my suitcase. A TEXT BOOK people. I clearly had no clue that I would be lugging this enormously monstrous suitcase around Italy. And that many of our hotels and monasteries wouldn't have elevators. I also carted around a language dictionary, a travel sketchbook, and a travel journal. So I had well over 12 lbs of books in my checked baggage.

One clever idea that I had was to buy enough underwear for the entire trip and then just throw it away each day so that I wouldn't be hauling around dirty panties for 2 weeks. Because a few pairs of ladies underwear take up so much more space than half a library. Very sensible.
A peek inside my journal. I will admit, I collected some pretty amazing 'art teacher' artifacts in Italy!
Here is my travel journal.

I was fairly diligent in my journaling from this trip. The phone number at the top was for our tour guide, in case of an emergency. I couldn't say 'right' or 'left' in Italian if I got lost so I don't know how I would convey to a stranger that I needed to use their cell phone (or who am I kidding, home phone....or maybe I could've used a pay phone....it was the early 2000s).

the Italian mafia is enjoying a scoop of gelato

we were literally steps away from so many famous Roman landmarks

scooter envy


I don't think I took this one because of the digital date stamp on it, but it is in with my photos and its a cool picture!

the Pantheon

Leaning tower of Pisa

the island of Capri

I have so many beautiful photos from Italy, it was difficult to choose the right ones for this post. But these are the pretty 'touristy' photos that just gather dust in my albums so thanks for looking!!

No comments: