Sunday, October 14, 2012

To Italy and back again part 1...

This is me, sitting on the plane at PDX just before takeoff!  Nervous, excited, not completely sure what to expect.  I was feeling especially thankful for my husband being so supportive of my dreams.

A brief touchdown in Toronto...

feeling a bit sleepy on my layover, next up Roma!!!

I made it!  An hour drive from the airport and I arrived at my little apartment in Rome.  

The view from the window was simply put, Awesome!

The mass of people was a little overwhelming and I briefly considered staying in until my classmate arrived the next day.  
I was alone in an unknown city, and I was a little scared.

I took a nap and then decided to clean myself up.  
I really needed to brush my teeth but I couldn't find my toothbrush anywhere. 

I knew I would have to venture out in search of a new toothbrush.  I looked out the window and scanned for a shop.  There was a farmacia close by that I could easily walk to without getting lost so I went for it.  
I found a brush, yes!  
Since I was already out I decided to check out the neighborhood.
I managed to find the pantheon! 
I wandered around trying hard not to look like a tourist.  I picked up some tomatoes and asiago to make myself a yummy pasta dinner later.  I felt really proud when I found my way back to apartment.
I made my pasta, did some stretching and tried to sleep. 

Around midnight my phone rang.  My mom and sister were calling on  face time, they forgot about the time difference.  
I showed them around my apartment and the the view from the window.
After that I really couldn't sleep.  I was up every hour looking out the window.  Even at 2am there was a crowd of people around the fountain...The crowd started to die down around 3am.  
I was wide awake and feeling brave so I grabbed my map and headed out into the night.

The fountain was even more spectacular all lit up.  
I tried to soak in the magic of this quiet moment and I made a wish!

I pulled out my map and headed in the direction of the Forum Romano.  
I was aware that this could be a huge mistake, wandering around alone in the city in the dark of night.  I said a little prayer that I would be safe and kept walking.  
It turned out to be one of my favorite nights in Italy.  

I walked right to the forum, there it all the way back to the 7th century BC!
I squinted my eyes trying to imagine what it might have looked like way back when. 

Pure Bliss walking around on cobblestone streets in the amber light♥

From where I stood I could see the Colosseum!  
I headed right to it.  Sadly, Russell Crowe wasn't there. 
I found a gal there who was also sightseeing alone and she took my picture. 
I love the little star in the top left corner.  

As I wandered back I watched the sunrise over the city, I hope to return here someday. 
I passed the Pantheon  free of crowds in the early morning looking quite majestic.

Later that day I would meet the lovely Jeanne-Marie, arriving from South Africa. 
We met on instagram earlier this year.  She would ask me questions about artwork I posted and I recommended Misty's Book to her.  We later become friends on facebook and she saw that I was trying to get to Italy to paint with Misty.  She is a talented artist and felt inspired that she needed to go to Italy too!  
It was such a relief to meet her and feel that instant connection. It was a dream come true for both of us to make this trip happen.  
I am so happy to have met her and feel lucky to call her a friend. ♥

No time to rest, she got cleaned up and we headed to the vatican musuem. 
We were on a time crunch so we splurged and had a driver take us to the museum.  
Everything was so beautiful.  So detailed.  Everywhere you look you will see something amazing. 

On the way back to our apartment we stopped by a gelato shop recommended by Octavio, our driver. 
It was soooo good.  It was melting faster than we could eat it.  We found a grassy spot to sit and enjoy.

We hurried back to our apartment to get cleaned up and meet our classmates Renee, and Lorraine for dinner.  
Again, so happy to find more kindred spirits.  Everyone in class was a joy to be around.  Lorraine was also travelling with her husband and darling daughter.  One lucky girl to be traveling at her age. 

The next day Jeanne-Marie and I did a little more sight seeing before catching the train to Orvieto for our painting class.  We found our way back to the Forum and the Coloseum. 

I love this picture of Jeanne-Marie taking in the view inside the Coloseum.

This is the outside of our apartment building.  I loved it there. 

A ceiling inside the Vatican...I needed binoculars to take it all in.

Beauty everywhere.  

I'll be back soon with details from Orvieto.

You know, I later found my own toothbrush.  
I'm so glad I couldn't find it or I might not have left the apartment.  ;)

Jenny ♥♥♥