When traveling making quick decisions is inescapable. Having made the decision to leave the comfort and safety of home many decisions follow, research is tackled and some discussions on the merits of visiting a town in Italy strictly to check out motorcycle and fast car factories are batted out. We chose to Airbnb it. We went through the process to become members and booked flats that were in walking distance of everything we wanted to check out in each city.
We stayed in an old (and when I say old I mean ancient) building in Rome where everything was small, dark and a little musty. We walked all over Rome, (we logged about 8 walking miles each day of our trip). The boys loved the coliseum and in fact schooled me on ancient roman factoids- did you know they filled up the coliseum arena with water and had mock ship battles?? Well, I didn’t. An excellent decision we made was to enjoy gelato which we did- every day. Rome, Florence and Venice- gelato, gelato, gelato.
In Florence my boys rigidly refused to stand in any queues to see David’s marble #%€¥, we had stood in a terrible long queue for the Vatican and while the Sistine Chapel is out of this world the boys had had it with statuary…and Michael Angelo. Yes, my boys are philistines. So we decided to check out Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore instead – our younger son was insistent. It is the most spectacular cathedral I have ever seen. The outside alone will have you agape.
We climbed to the cupola 400 something odd narrow round and round winding stone steps. We could check out and marvel at the the horror that is Revelations paintings that adorn its curved walls from the balcony walkway that circle the dome. And up and out to the roof top to see laid out: Florence, and her clear blue sky, it was magical. We explored the Baptismal and climbed more steps up the Bell Tower. Our younger son schooled us on the difference between art of the Middle Ages and Renaissance- and ridiculed our addled-aged memories. The decision to miss out on David and check out these other marvels and sharing it with my son is a highlight.
The boys again were not interested in checking out museums in Amsterdam save one- Van Gogh. My elder son and I read every plaque and checked out every painting. Sharing this museum once long ago with my sister and then again with my son makes this museum an established personal favourite and all the more rich and vivid.
I’m happy to have made this trip with my two teenage boys- learned from them, listened to them and changed my mind and altered our course to make everyone happy. I learned to set aside my agenda and had a better time for it.
[Img.Src: The Coliseum, Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore]