It was truly a life-changing experience, which has yielded so much more than I was expecting in knowledge, understanding, appreciation, and confidence. The appreciation came to bear at each and every step--e.g. appreciation for the opportunity, etc. At the current time, though, the appreciation is more focused on resting and enjoying being at home: a home that now feels like a palatial estate after the discomforts of travel. With regards to the cramped living of Rome in particular, our 2-storey, three bathroom home in quiet Monmouth, Oregon is such a wonderful retreat for a few days of healing and rest. It makes one not take daily luxuries quite for granted the same way anymore. And, there's ice!
I was fortunate in that I really had only about half a dozen instances of what I would call trouble on this trip, but other travel companions from Marylhurst ran into some more serious issues. My low point was getting dropped off by a Roman taxi on the wrong side of the Tiber (I think). Even with a map and iPhone, I managed to get completely disoriented and ended-up wandering up and down the sides of the Tiber for hours until I could establish my bearings--and get a new taxi. Another time, I left a gathering late at night with a very low iPhone battery. Google Maps is hard enough to follow in the United States, but in Europe one must at times disregard the voice directions and pay more attention to the directional arrows; the streets aren't as standard in direction or size as found in the states. So, imagine a thunderstorm starting at about this time with my iPhone almost out of juice. Almost half my turns seemed to be in error, and I kept having to retrace my steps. At one point, Google Maps advised me to turn into a dark and narrow alley that seemed like a particularly bad idea; I kept plodding ahead in the rain. I finally made my Roman apartment, but I was soaked to the bone, and the phone was almost dead. All in all, though, the good experiences outweighed the bad ones like this, and we all managed to get along through the end of the journey.
I surprised even myself with my photos. In the end, I returned with more than 5,000 photos and videos from my Canon--more with the iPhone. After deleting a couple hundred poor photos, I flagged my favorites, then uploaded those to (public) albums on Facebook. As I do with all my photography, all the photos--the great and not so great--are in the process of being uploaded to Flickr. (This is my photograph backup measure with most photos identified as public, except for family pictures, but restrictions placed on the ability of the photos to be downloaded without permission.)
So, here's where you can find photos online. I'm also planning an old fashioned slide show event for friends and family. Contact me, if interested!
Flickr (more photos coming)
Bigstock (in future)