What I love about travel, aside from actually visiting a place, is the anticipation beforehand and then the memories afterward. I’m years and years past my first trip to Rome, and my memories of my solitary adventure there are a bit hazy, but I remember being drawn to the Roman Palatine because that is where Nero supposedly fiddled as the city burned in 64 B.C.E.
What I remember about my 1989 visit was how deserted the place was in August. My most vivid memory, though, stems from my exit. Out of nowhere, a band of gypsy children descended upon me, clearly making aim for my Nikon. They sprang suddenly and circled around me, grabbing at my camera, my backpack, my arm. I felt strange shooing little children away, but theirs was clearly not intended to be a friendly visit with a foreigner. That little encounter served as a good reminder not to become too relaxed on my month-long trek through Italy.