Benvenuti in Italia, Papà! I am so lucky that dad could visit this weekend before heading to Germany for a work trip. While hearing stories from home made me miss my family even more, having him here also cured a lot of my homesickness and I was so excited to share Italy with him.
After Italian class Thursday morning, I pulled up a chair and waited anxiously for any sign of dad in the piazza below my apartment. After finishing homework and still seeing no trace of him, I pulled on my jacket and gloves to go searching. However, before heading out the door I glanced out the window once more and saw him coming around the corner. The man’s a trooper. It was freezing outside, pouring down rain, and he was towing along two roller suitcases on the cobblestone streets, along with his lap top bag thrown over his shoulder (keep in mind one entire suitcase was filled with mac & cheese, ramen noodles, nutter butter cookies, special k bars and tons of my favorite snacks from my family. What can I say? They’re the best.) I was so excited and ran down the stairs of the apartment as quickly as I could to greet him with a “buon giorno!” and a big hug.
The rest of the day I showed him around Viterbo; my apartment, the university campus, some of my favorite shops, and a pretty church I had previously visited for art class. I also took him to one of my favorite cafes for his first Italian pastry. Later that night, we went to The Spaghetteria for dinner. There was no menu that night; we were just brought dishes. While this made us a bit nervous as first, I was happy that they brought out two dishes I would have NEVER ordered on my own, yet I loved. The first spaghetti dish had bell peppers, chili and olive oil while the second was a dish with mushroom sauce. I know, I can’t believe I ate it either, but I am so glad that I did! Dad booked a hotel in Viterbo and I got to stay there with him while he visited. Hot showers, heat, and free breakfast… of course I had to take him up on that offer.
Friday I wanted to take dad for a day trip, so we decided to go to the Monster Park, also called “Basco Sacro,” meaning “Sacred Wood,” in Bomarzo. Since I told dad that I never used the bus system before and I wasn’t sure how it works, he was a bit iffy about going. He assured me many times that he was content staying in Viterbo, but I had confidence that I could figure it out on my own. Whether it was confidence, or believing dad would fix it if I messed up along the way, I’m not sure… but let’s just go with the first one. It ended up being a great trip and the Monster Park was so cool! The artist created these unique sculptures to “confuse the senses” and cause amazement for anyone that entered the woods.
Saturday morning we woke up super early, grabbed breakfast at the hotel and took off for Rome. Our hotel was literally a minute walk away from the Trevi Fountain, my absolute favorite spot in Rome. I took dad on the tour that I went on my first time in Rome and he got to see the Vatican, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon and Colosseum. We also went to the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps after dark to see them lit up. I made sure that dad also had his first gelato (as well as a few chocolate pastries throughout the weekend), which he really liked. I am much more confident with the metro system now and we were handling it like pros on Saturday.
While dad was bowing at the taxi drivers and saying “gracias,” to everyone when he first arrived (too many business trips to Japan and Mexico), I was extremely proud when he replied “grazie” to the hotel manager after checking out… better late than never right? After our last breakfast together Sunday morning (a chocolate pastry for me, of course), we headed to Termini train station for dad to head to the airport and for me to get back “home.” I was really nervous about finding and taking my first train alone, but it all worked out in the end and I made it back safely in Viterbo!
It was such a great weekend and I don’t even have time to be sad that it’s over because I am going to PARIS this week for Valentine’s Day!!! Au revoir Italy, Bonjour Paris!