Oct. 24th, 2009
In the end, my month’s first foray into Europe came to a close without any great fanfare. Our sightseeing stunted somewhat by pouring rain, Abby and I went through the motions; gaping at the Colosseum, somehow smaller and less remarkable for all the grand things that had preceded it in the previous weeks, wandering the National Museum when we couldn’t stand the rain any more, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain… We simply couldn’t gather more than a passing passing interest. We were monumented out, and the city itself was not beguiling us. The apartment we had secured was for lovers, not for friends, and the feeling of squatting in someone’s empty apartment simply alienated us further.
This at least eased the sting of leaving my wandering lifestyle to return to my little apartment in Sydney. After only two nights I was all too happy to be going somewhere, anywhere other than Rome, even if it was to return to the mundane. Abby and I parted ways with a certain absent-mindedness, our heads still swimming in travel plans; while I made my way home, she would be catching a ferry to Croatia, and then on to Greece. I had to admit while I was satisfied with returning home, it was by no means the most enjoyable option, and I envied her for her travels still to come.
Catching the airport train from Roma Termini, the weight of my last moments in Europe hit me. Flipping through my camera memory, I marveled again at how so many moments seemed like a lifetime ago. London barely even registered anymore. Yet it was all there, all crystal clear. Unforgettable.
Offloading at the airport, I fell into the familiar motions of air travel, checking my backpack so as not to have my German pocketknife confiscated, filing into the longest security line I’ve ever seen in my life, and idling in airport chairs engineered for a precise amount of discomfort. We boarded with all the noise, bluster, and mismanagement of any Italian endeavor, and finally lifted off, the coast of the Riviera slipping under the wing as the sun set on my last glimpse of Europe.