I took an overnight train from Rome to Venice, managing a decent night's sleep on the small top bunk, though waking a little at each stop. Early in the morning with a knock on the door the conductor let me know we were arriving in Venice (or so I hoped, with my limited Italian), and I switched to another train headed for Borgo Valsugana. The train followed a beautiful valley through the Alps, to the home of an old friend I'd not seen in 16 years.
Ivan Facchini was a foreign exchange student who lived in Haines for a year, my Junior year in high school. We became very good friends then, though have done poorly staying in touch over the years. He has since gotten married and had two wonderful children, all of whom I met for the first time when visiting his home town of Roncegno. He pointed out that when we first met I was 16, and so now 16 years later another lifetime had passed, and yet it felt like only a few days had gone by as we quickly fell back into our friendship.
I arrived in Rome via train, then wandered the streets near the central station until I found an affordable hotel that had rooms available. I felt a little overwhelmed as I read about all the things to do, but once I got my bearings it proved to be an impressive city. I started in ancient Rome, wandering the Forum, exploring Palatine Hill, and visiting the Colosseum. Another day I walked to the Vatican City and visited their amazing museums. The rest of the time I spent wandering around somewhat randomly, seeing what I could find.
May seems to be a good month to visit Rome, as for the most part the crowds weren't too bad. This wasn't true for the Vatican museums where I was quickly overwhelmed by the seemingly endless masses of people. By the time I'd worked my way through the lengthy halls of paintings and entered the Sistine Chapel, though quite impressed I was equally interested in just getting back outside and away from the crowds.