Friday, June 8, 2012

This one will be my last Rome post. I'll cover Ponza, the trip back, and what's it like being back in the states.

So first off: Ponza

Ponza was incredible.

"According to Wikipedia: Ponza (Italian: Isola Di Ponza) is the largest of the Italian Pontine Islands archipelago, located 33 km south of Cape Circeo in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It also the name of the commune of the island, a part of the province of Latina in the Lazio region.

The island was inhabited from neolithic through Roman times. According to local legends, Ponza was named after Pontius Pilate, Roman governor of Judea who tried Jesus of Nazareth for heresy.

Ponza is also suspected to be the island of Aeaea in Homer's Odyssey, as the island of the Circe the sorceress, where her cave or grotto was. Today it is known as Grotta della Maga Circe on the west side of the island, between Capo Bianco and Chaia di Luna beach. She was said to have lived in this cave in the Winter months. Spending the Summer atop nearby Mount Circe on the Mainland of Italy. This is where the Circe turned Odysseus men into animals and cast her spell on and seduced him and lived with him for a over a year."

My pictures tell a far better story than my words can. I had to make a split choice between heading to Venice with the DIGM crew, a place I also wanted to see, or this island that Jeremy hadn't visited, and had little idea of what to expect. He told us this up front; it could be a blast, or it could suck.

We had scooters, a great hotel, and crystal clear water for three days, with good people.

After that, we only had around a week before I was back on the plane to the States.

The plane ride was a rough one, personally on the sleep cycle but also because of mixed feelings about returning. I wanted to get back; I was tired, I was ready for my usual routine, and I missed my family and friends. But the trip gave me so much, exceeding my expectations in every single way. Nothing problematic happened that I wasn't able to handle quickly, nothing kept us from absorbing Roman history and the Italian culture. Our misteps and mistakes, we just laughed off. The trip was a great equalizer. We were all fish out of water, and that's part of what made the trip as amazing as it was.

Someone on the trip brought up that it's hard to really convey the experience we had to people back home who weren't there. It is. Without the frame of knowing the people, the sights and sounds and smells of The Eternal City, your story is little different than one told here. But that really makes the group more essential to us; 25 or so people spent three weeks together, mostly unknown to each other off the plane. But I speak for everyone I can think of when I say that this often wildly different group of people stepped outside of their comfort zones and took care of each other the whole way.

Not to mention the sheer amount of things we saw and learned; I feel like a fool when people ask me to list the places we visited. It was facinating, but a total sensory overload. I never know where to start. Anyone who has the chance to study abroad, no matter how brief, do it. You can read my words, but you have to see what I saw.


- L

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