This month I am taking the kids to Europe for the first time. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to look back on my past European adventures. Some will be when I was traveling before Mike and I got married, while others will be from our earliest escapades as a couple. Either way it will be exciting to hop down memory lane.
My boys will one day know the following story as “the day your dad made me walk down a mountain instead of checking the bus schedule.”
In 2007, Mike and I took our 3+ year belated honeymoon to Italy. It was the first true test traveling internationally together. We learned so much about how each of us tics; I research before hand and know where I want to go, he reads the guidebook that morning as we walk through town so he knows what each ancient ruin’s function used to be.
I planned one-day trip out of Rome during our 6-day stay. We really could have spent the whole time in the city, but I wanted to get out into the countryside to explore. We boarded a bus in the morning and headed up to Villa d’Este in Tivoli.
There was a slight mix up with where we were supposed to get off, which ended in a grumpy bus driver letting us out after he had pulled away from our stop, but it was pretty uneventful after that.
As we left Villa d’Este and headed to Hadrian’s Villa Mike had a brilliant idea– let’s walk!
It wasn’t that far on the map he assured me. Let’s skip the bus; we would be there in no time.
Ummmm…yeah. Not so much.
There were no sidewalks coming out of this quaint little hill town with a road winding its way down to the base where Hadrian’s Villa was located. Cars zoomed pass us causing me to traipse my way through tall grass, passing prickly bushes that caught on my coat.
I was not a happy woman.
Why couldn’t we have just caught the bus down the hill? Was it really so hard to ask where the bus stop was and double-check where we should get off?
We were forced into an adventure we didn’t know we would be having when we set out that day. To Mike’s credit we did pass olive groves and see more of the countryside than we probably would have if we had taken the bus.
But that hour-long walk was a bit much. I was grumpy; I was hungry. I was sure this whole thing would be a huge waste of time.
I remember thinking, Hadrian’s Villa had better be worth it.
By the time we got to the villa the sun was starting to set. We had to quickly make our way around the sight.
The sunset brought out the magic in the sight.
The ancient ruins left over from a lavish king soon made me forget my annoyance and just rest my mind in this historic sight. We explored crumbling stairs and tiny windows. We even said hi to an old alligator looking a little worse for wear after years of neglect.
All was forgiven as we made our way out of the villa and to the bus stop. Mike didn’t even try to convince me to walk the 18 miles back to Rome.
We would be back in the city having a late dinner in no time, but we would have one more story to add to our collection as we began to build our travel memories as a couple.
And yes, the detour down the hill was worth it.
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written by Keryn Means