Evergreen Magazine

Evergreen Magazine

Evergreen Magazine

Beyond the Familiar Skies

Sam van Bussel

           The plane landed with a few thuds hitting the crumbling runway. I waited for about 15 minutes until the flight attendants had let everyone off the plane. When I walked off into the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport, I noticed how different it was from the usual airports in America. After weaving through the people, the fashion caught my attention. There were pearly white designer dresses, wide coffee brown pants and styling sandals. As I grabbed my suitcase from baggage claim, I tried to understand this place that was so foreign to me.  

           When I walked outside, I put my hand up eager to get the taxi driver’s attention, but he was too busy looking at his phone; I groaned in irritation. It was odd considering the taxis were white and not the usual mustard yellow I was used to. When I finally flagged down a taxi driver, I sighed, grateful I could get out of the buzzing airport. 

           “Where to, miss?” he said with a thick Italian accent. 

           “Rome, sir.” I replied. 

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           “It will take an hour to get there including traffic,” He said sounding irritated for my long trip request. 

           “How much?” I asked, glad I had gotten euros for this trip. 

           “€32.” He responded. 

           I paid him the money and slid into the taxi. The leather seats were worn down and the stitching was frayed. It smelled of sweet bread that made my mouth water. That was when I noticed he had a wooden basket full of steaming hot pastries. It must have had a sweet glaze because there were little crumbles of sugar sprinkled on it.  

           The taxi driver drove away from the crowded airport and into the amazing city of Rome. I passed by tons of old buildings with beautiful structures, and I had never seen anything like it. The way the marble was carved to create an arch to the soaring columns holding the buildings together. I didn’t have these intricate building designs back home in Maine. 

           “We’re here,” the man said unenthusiastically. 

           I had gotten out of the taxi and stepped onto the cobblestone sidewalk with tiny cracks on each stone. I looked around spotting many hidden cafe shops surrounded with historical art, culture, food, music, and fashion.  

           I rolled my suitcase along the wobbly sidewalk until it hit the soft red carpet, and I was met with an exquisite hotel with olive vines growing along the marble arch entrance. I set my suitcase in my hotel room and left with my sage Polaroid camera.  

           I walked the streets seeing the vast history that adorned the streets, which took my breath away. I walked into a petite café and saw the brick wall decor with Italian words. The sweet aroma of the hot steaming cups of coffee made my mouth water. 

           “Are you ready to order?” The tiny woman behind the counter asked. 

           “Yes, can I get a latte please,” I responded politely. 

           When she brought me my cup, I thanked her and asked, “I’m visiting, and I was curious if you knew a good place that really showcases the culture here?” 

           She smiled softly and then said, “Go to Trastevere. It holds great history and is very elegant.” 

           I thanked her and walked out of the café, passing by other famous places, like the Parthenon which had massive granite columns. The Trevi Fountain had stunning structure upholding the marble statue, the Colosseum was an elliptical structure made of stone, the Roman Forum a large plaza, but I really wanted to see what the place the waitress recommended was. 

           When I finally found the alleyway, the street wasn’t simple, but it was very quaint. I stopped to take pictures and let the moment soak in as the Polaroid film captured what I saw. 

           I continued down the alleyway that could only really fit one car. The sunshine cast rays of shimmering glow along the walls of grand medieval buildings. Towards the end of the alley was a cramped shop wedged between a café and pizzeria. It had an alluring charm and when I walked in, I noticed how it held an aged glamor. The store was tidy with silver watches and glamorous gold rings with intricate carvings around the bend. I saw many types of diverse jewels sitting atop the rings and necklaces. An old man walked out from back of the building. 

           “Looking for anything in particular?” he asked. 

           “Something worth remembering,” I told him. 

           “Few tourists make it this far into our city. There are so many attractions that most miss the tiny places,” he explained. 

           “I wanted to really see the culture here and it was very mesmerizing. I love it all,” I said looking around at all the delicate jewelry. 

           “Well, I have something that you might like. It’s an incredibly old piece of mine and it has been around for a long time,” he said with a slight smile. 

           “I’d love to see it,” I replied. 

           When he returned, it was with a gold necklace that had been intertwined with dark forest green twisting at the end to form a circle filled with a dazzling diamond. It was ravishing and I tried it, and it looked like it was made for me. 

           “This is so beautiful,” I paused. “I couldn’t buy this from you. This must be important,” I told him. 

           “No, I want you to take it. It has no meaning to me anymore and you really like it,” he said. I bought it still mesmerized by its beauty and heavy value. 

           Before I left the city, I walked around one last time, taking in the adventure and capturing the scene in my mind to keep forever. When I had begun to wrap up my trip of visiting this extravagant city, I realized that it was more than what was back in Maine. The simplicity of it was comforting but this really made me want to explore the world. My heart will always remember Rome, not with sadness but excitement for when I return to the hidden treasuries in the ancient walls. 

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About the Contributor
Joee Serafin
Joee Serafin, Reporter
Joee Serafin is a sophomore in her first year of journalism. She loves to write and read. The reason she joined journalism was because she wanted to learn more about writing and be able to expand her ability to write with different topics. She also does Cross Country for Sequoyah.

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