One of the items on My Bucket List was to backpack across Europe. I think it is safe to say that I can mark this item off my list.
OK, so that isn't what most people think of when backpacking across Europe. But, its how we did it. We were stationed in Vicenza, Italy from 1993 to 1996. That's me with Drama Queen in the backpack touring Rome, Italy. We saw quite a bit of Italy and Europe while traveling this way.
Young Sarge always tagged along too. He was about eight years old when we visited Rome. Paratrooper Man and I were in complete awe of all the ancient ruins. Rome was somewhere we'd read about and heard about our whole lives. We were practically giddy with excitement over being able to see and experience Rome firsthand.
We visited the ruins of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. We envisioned gladiatorial fights and ancient Roman senators ruling over their land. We felt as though we were standing on hallowed and sacred ground. Then, Young Sarge burst our bubble. Mom, why are you and Dad so excited about a bunch of dirty, old, falling down buildings?
Yes, he had a point. The awe and excitement of ancient Rome was somewhat lost on an eight year old boy. Now, years later, he fondly recalls all of our travels. In fact, he has hopes of receiving orders for his own European tour of duty. But, we always laugh at how unimpressed he was with Rome at the time.
Know what did impress an eight year old boy about Rome? You can't mention a visit to Rome and not talk about the sidewalk cafes. Dining al fresco. Is there any other way?
The pizza margherita. That impressed Young Sarge. Con molto formaggio per favore!
The spaghetti with tomato sauce. That impressed Young Sarge. Con molta salsa per favore!
The roaming opera singer who squeezed his cheeks and serenaded him. I don't know that it impressed him. But, it sure did emberass him.
Aah, Italy. The fun we had living there. Drama Queen was born there. And we talk of taking her to see her birthplace when she is sixteen or seventeen years old. Legend has it that if you throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain, your return to Rome is ensured.
Let me tell you, I was throwing all of our coins in that fountain. Our return to Rome is practically guaranteed.