So after 11 days of sightseeing and traveling in two of the greatest capitol cities in the world, we came home and eventually returned to our usual routine. We were smart enough to come back on a Thursday, take Friday off from work and catch up on email and voice mail then. Monday was like returning after a long weekend.
People ask what was the highlight of the trip. We went there for Jono’s Ordination as a Deacon, so that was a highlight. And we got engaged under the Eiffel tower at night – that is another natural highlight. Other highlights were seeing the Colleseum, St. Peter’s Basillica, the Arc de Triumph, and the Eiffel tower.
Another question is which city I liked better. I really enjoyed Paris, but wouldn’t return again without taking some French lessons. Rome was much more English-friendly, with nearly every restaurant offering menus in English as well as Italian. Paris had a more contemporary feel, like a modern city that was still changing and growing. Rome is more like a city-sized museum, but I don’t view that as a negative. It is a great city and an amazing place to visit. If I were to head back to Italy, I would probably explore other parts of the country, not just Rome. Paris though, I could easily spend another week in, especially if I knew more French.
As for the food, we definitely had more consistently good food in Rome than in Paris, but that may have also been a function of the English-friendliness of Rome: we were simply more capable of ordering what we wanted and knowing what we were ordering.
However, more than the food or specific things we saw or did, what really made a difference was just the cultural learning and expanding my mind. To see how another culture lives; the cars they drive, the food they eat, where and how they shop, where they live, how they live. To see the places they worship and where they commit their sins…
Memories to last a lifetime, though I hope I do make it back someday. I feel that in some small way I am a better person for having gone overseas; not better than everyone else, but just better for having a greater understanding of how other cultures live. And isn’t that what travel is supposed to be all about?