In Italy, my first shock was the AutoStrada, which had no speed limits and where most traveled more than 100 miles per hour. I was terrified, and when I heard that Italians are excellent drivers, I understood that this must be true, since all poor drivers have been killed. I soon resolved to take the train to Rome.
We were headed toward the American Air Force Base near Lake Garda where the parents of one of my former students, Jose Ratchford, were now stationed. They had invited us to stay with them while we explored Venice and northern Italy.
Despite my resolution not to drive in Italy, we drove to Venice. Mrs. Ratchford offered Jose’s fourteen year-old brother as our guide, after explaining that he had an infallible sense of direction. The day proved that assessment to be very true.
We wondered the little canals and crossed many small bridges until I realized that I did not know the way back to Saint Mark’s Square. Marvin had no doubt and led us back by a shorter, less traveled route.
Kelly inside the Coliseum
Our days in Rome were crammed with a list of important sites. The Coliseum and surrounding ruins were impressive, but I especially enjoyed the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. It was fun joining others lying on the floor to study Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling.
Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel