Current Location: Rome, Italy
For each destination I have been to, I feel as though there has always been some kind of local story that serves either as superstition, warning ... or just that, a story. Now, even though I feel as if many stories surround the city of Rome, one in particular seems to be walking beside my own life story whether it be by pure coincidence or some kind of cosmic-karma intervention. Have you figured out what story I may be talking about?
The Trevi Fountain. According to "the story" if you throw a coin into the fountain during your visit to Rome (if you're wondering if a specific currency works best ... let me know when you figure out the answer) you will return and once again enjoy everything the Eternal City has to offer.
My first run-in with this legend was in 2006 and, by the time my study abroad program was finished, I was not too sure if I would return (although I desperately wanted to). But the charm worked for me and since my 5-week term, which lead to the discovery of the "me" who can thrive in a foreign country, I've returned to Rome ... not once, but twice!
The city is everything that I remember from the sights, the smells, the ATAC (public transit), and the gelato. Every person seems to have the uncanny ability to find an ancient structure (whether in ruins or not) around every corner and this really only sweetens the generous deal that the city offers.
When I walk down the streets, where I'm back in my element, I remember shortcuts and always seem to find my way to where I want to go, I can't help but call the city home once again. One of my favorite things to do now is to find new paths to get to certain locations around the city by ducking into alleys going towards its general direction. Now, this may seem a bit dangerous, but in reality alleys are nothing like the ones found in the States. In Rome, allies contain life and the true heart of the city's inhabitants as they're lined with restaurants, shops, stalls, and even (for the delighted traveler) souvenir stands.
I did this once again on this trip and found new ways to get to my old (pun intended) stomping grounds. I even walked passed the bus stop that I remember waiting at whenever I would return to the JFRC, or the John Felice Rome Center from downtown (a stop that I hadn't seen in 3 years).
These seemingly random tangents off the "correct" path brought me face to face with recognizable monuments like (to name a few) the Trevi, the Four Rivers fountain by Bernini, the Pantheon, and even the vast piazza that welcomes all into St. Peter's Basilica.
Seeing all these things lets me appreciate Rome even more as I know that she will never let me be lost in her winding streets. It really does bring light to the saying that "all roads lead to Rome," and makes me confident that even though the third time's the charm, I will return to enjoy this magnificent city in the future to come.