Emma Polefko, Contributing Writer
Since August, the fall Romers have embarked on one adventure after another. Some have been planned, others have been spontaneous, some have been out of the ordinary and others are cliché, but one thing is certain, none are ever to be forgotten. Their class trip to northern Italy was no different.
Traveling to Assisi, Florence and Venice, the Romers knew that they would have to make the most of their last class trip together. While in Assisi, surrounded by the peaceful silence of the picturesque Italian countryside, many Romers hiked to the hermitage where St. Francis often went for solitude and silence. While there, Fr. Luke Millet, one of the Rome chaplains, lectured on the history of the area and then the Romers were free to wander and reflect.
On their way back down the mountain, juniors James Volker and Andrew Cole and sophomore Phil Wykowski made a spur-of-the-moment decision to take a shortcut and ended up having an adventure none of them expected. The three happened upon an abandoned old house with decades-old Italian books, lire (the original Italian currency) and a beautiful view of the sun setting over Assisi.
For Cole, finding a wooden, hand-painted and hand-carved statue of St. Francis in a niche in the stairwell was something he’d never forget.
“Spontaneity [is] the driving force of our trip … having a more spontaneous attitude can lead to exciting things,” he said.
The attitude of spontaneity was contagious in Florence, as Romers took a chance in the legendary leather markets buying gifts for their families and splurging for themselves. Each time the Romers met at the piazza, a new leather jacket, purse or watch could be spotted. The market was simple, but went far beyond any expectation.
Sophomore Sarah Donovan summed it up perfectly: “It was every girl’s dream.”
On the last night, the Romers visited an Irish pub, the ceiling of which was covered with signed college T-shirts. The University of Dallas students wanted to leave their mark as well, so the Romers took another chance. Sophomores Anna Macdonald and Hank Walter collected money to buy Jake Loe
l, the only one in a UD shirt, a new shirt. A quick 15 euro later, every Romer had signed the shirt, and it was hanging on the ceiling.
Sometimes the best spontaneity occurs in making a dream come true. While in Venice, sophomore Maria Schena decided that this was her chance to be “stereotypical and do something totally Venetian” – she was finally going to ride a gondola. The magic of Venice and the gondolas was infectious; students, Rome assistants and professors alike wanted to ride in them.
Rome assistant Michael Tann and his group wanted to ride a gondola down the Grand Canal, but instead traveled down smaller canals, which ended up being “a blessing in disguise … especially when we came out at the Rialto, one of the main bridges of Venice, and we ended on the Grand Canal,” he said.
At the end of the journey, every city lived up to the Romers’ expectations – and then some. Every spontaneous decision and cliché moment turned out exactly how it was meant to and made the trip an unforgettable experience for all.