Thursday, July 17, 2014


I have watched the movie and liked it. I was planning a trip just like Julia Roberts’ in the movie (and in the book) and was searching for best places to go to.  But little did I know, I would end up experiencing everything in Rome.  In awe, that’s actually my first reaction when I first set foot of Rome (and I was not even near the tourist spots yet, just the normal neighborhood). Visiting Rome was like visiting a museum. From the entrance, one would see beautiful yet unknown work of art and when one finally reached the center, then that famous piece would take your breath away. Walking along the streets of Rome felt that way. The small alleys and streets of its neighborhood would give you the relaxed feeling away from the hustle and bustle of urban cities. Then when you reached the Vatican or the Old Roma, oh my, you'd be lost for words to describe the feeling of being there. If you’d force me to explain it in one word, that would be BLISS. I was in bliss roaming Rome. My smile was permanently fixed on my face during those three days of being part of the city and I would tell you why, it’s because of three simple words: EAT, PRAY, LOVE.

I have been a fan of Italian cuisine all my life. I remember being asked when I was thirteen about my favorite food and I would immediately tell them it’s Italian cuisine – pesto, alla puttanesca, carbonara, and Bolognese.  I didn’t even like vegetables when I was younger but mix it with pasta or put it on a pizza crust and boom, you’d see me devouring my food on my plate or tissue perhaps. That’s how much I love the cuisine. It’s probably because of how simple the ingredients are, but how magnificent the combination would taste after. Or I just simply love tomatoes & cream? Either way, I love the cuisine, period. Of course, I really didn’t know what authentic Italian Pasta taste like before my trip to Italy. Asia could have added some of our available spices and ingredients that would have deviated from the authentic taste of the cuisine. But in any case, I had high expectations and pretty much I did not get disappointed with the original and classic. Oh boy, those dishes I have tried were soooo good. They were like pieces of heaven for normal people to experience.  I would always visit Italy whenever I have the chance; one of the reasons is always the FOOD. Fantastico!

Have I visited enough churches prior my Rome trip? Of course I had. From Paris all the way to Austria, I have entered too many church doors and said a little prayer. But in Rome, it was a different experience. The Vatican’s a different experience. I have actually cried a little from the overwhelming feeling I could not contain for the unbelievable chance to visit the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. Paris has been the reason for visiting Europe and I have told in this blog a number of times that I would come and visit the city in this lifetime. That's one goal I intended to attain and have attained. But Vatican? Never in my entire life have I imagined I would have a chance to visit the Holy See. And that chance I took?  It made my first Europe trip a memorable one. It felt like I have freed my soul or my soul felt home. Spiritually, it felt good. 

Whenever I'm being asked which place I loved the most of all the cities I've visited, I would immediately say it's Rome (with a contented smile on my face). Why? What's there not to love about this city - it has rich culture and history dating back Roman Empire; all of the city-it's neigborhood and tourist spots are breathtakingly beautiful; it offers the cuisine my tastebuds are in love with; generally, Italians wear that addictive smile and are eager to help out others; because it seems time runs so slow in the city and you actually enjoy it; because the city offers you an experience almost void of urbanity but still appreciate it; and because you will feel you belong in this place. The list goes on and on about what I love about this city. I maybe too dramatic if I tell you all that I fell in love with Italy because of my visit to Rome and I've only visited Rome. Can I say, it was love at first sight? Because it felt exactly that way. I have promised myself that every chance I'd get in the future to visit Europe, there would always be another city in Italy that I'd visit; Venice, Naples, Milan, Bologna, Sicily and much more. Hmmm, I think I better start learning the language so that I would feel more at home when I'm in the country again. 

Rome, thank you for welcoming me and making me feel a whirlwind of emotions (from simple joy to utmost happiness, or simply bliss) from my tummy to my heart and deep down to my soul. 

Until next time, Italia. 

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