Photo essay: A summer break vacation across Europe

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(Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

(Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

I looked down at the Colosseum floor trying to imagine what a gladiatorial fight would have looked like. Men battling exotic animals from across the empire while the crowds chanted for blood. Visiting ancient ruins takes a sense of imagination to see them in the glory they once had and in this moment my imagination was in overdrive. I was lost in a world that had disappeared millennia ago.

My tour of the Colosseum was my last experience before I left towards Rome’s airport; and Rome was the last city I visited during my sprint across Europe. My quick European trip this June was the first time I had left the country. I had always wanted to travel but I could never choose the right time or destination.

With summer beginning, I had finally found time. College summer breaks are an opportune time to travel. For me, it was a great way to celebrate another successful year of school and I did not have to worry about missing work or taking care of a family. Cares like these may have made a working adult think twice before boarding a plane to a foreign destination, but being a full-time student, nothing could have stopped me from boarding my plane.

I traveled with my grandfather, and his friend. We first landed in England and spent three days in London. After that, we made our way to Italy where we spent three days in Florence, and then our last three days in Rome, leaving the tenth day.  The rationale behind this was that for my first time abroad, I would have the first few days to dip my toes in international travel in another country that spoke English. After getting used to being out of the country, we would transition to being in Italy where English was not as prevalent. The trip worked out great, and I came home with a countless memories and refrigerator magnets.

I hope my pictures below might get you to consider traveling. I understand that some people have to work or must continue going to school during the summer. If you can, however, try and make some lifelong memories. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

(Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

Big Ben and Parliament. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

The Bank of England. Notice there are no windows on the first floor. It makes it tougher for would be thieves to break in and run off with cash and gold bars. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

The Bank of England. Notice there are no windows on the first floor. It makes it tougher for would be thieves to break in and run off with cash and gold bars. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

A view of the Shard from the Tower of London. The Shard is an 87 story building that is tallest building in the European Union. The tower of London was built around 1,000 years ago for William the Conqueror after he conquered Europe. The tower was used as a prison, an armory, and still today holds the Queen’s Crown Jewels. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

A view of the Shard from the Tower of London. The Shard is an 87 story building that is tallest building in the European Union. The tower of London was built around 1,000 years ago for William the Conqueror after he conquered Europe. The tower was used as a prison, an armory, and still today holds the Queen’s Crown Jewels. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

My meal in Florence was pizza for dinner and cream gelato for dessert – reason alone to travel thousands of miles. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

My meal in Florence was pizza for dinner and cream gelato for dessert – reason alone to travel thousands of miles. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

I had a chance to pose with the massive and ancient Pantheon. (Photo courtesy of LEE MCCULLOUGH)

I had a chance to pose with the massive and ancient Pantheon. (Photo courtesy of LEE MCCULLOUGH)

A view of Rome from the corner of Hotel Diana’s rooftop. St. Peter’s Basilica is in the distance. Everything about this hotel was great, except for the frozen pizza they served me for lunch. It was my fault for eating at a hotel instead of venturing out. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

A view of Rome from the corner of Hotel Diana’s rooftop. St. Peter’s Basilica is in the distance. Everything about this hotel was great, except for the frozen pizza they served me for lunch. It was my fault for eating at a hotel instead of venturing out. (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

A view of the inside St. Peter's Basilica with Bernini’s baldachin illuminated by light coming in through the dome. Three cardinals were there giving mass and the smell of incense filled the massive basilica.  (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

A view of the inside St. Peter’s Basilica with Bernini’s baldachin illuminated by light coming in through the dome. Three cardinals were there giving mass and the smell of incense filled the massive basilica.  (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

At 2000 years old, the Colosseum is a lasting testament to Roman civilization. It is an engineering and architectural marvel that housed brutal gladiatorial fights and other violent games.  (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)

At 2000 years old, the Colosseum is a lasting testament to Roman civilization. It is an engineering and architectural marvel that housed brutal gladiatorial fights and other violent games.  (Marcus Cirone / The DePaulia)