Visiting the Vatican City

We were in and out of this place very quickly. It was all very weird to watch crowds of selfie stick gangs and pilgrims line up to pay money to go into religious sites and buildings.

The long queues, cashier booths, metal detectors, trailer post office and unofficial tour guides made it hard to view this independent sovereign state as the centre of the Catholic Church. Its historical and religious significance, impact and power, as depicted in our textbooks and the media, were sadly masked by its alternative image as a tourist attraction.

I assume that depending on which time of the year you visit will result in a completely different experience.
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Brief Escape in Rome

We flew to Rome to celebrate a particular milestone last year. S deliberately planned something abroad so that we could focus on the occasion properly. I didn’t admit this at the time, but I was so grateful that he did because this brief escape gave me the opportunity to catch my breath in the midst of a very busy time at work. I felt a sense of relief similar to resting on the side of the boat after a tiring swim. I was probably free-diving deeper than I should have been, but I thought I knew what I was doing at the time and dismissed his concerns.

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Naples: Sunsets and Memories

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We made it back to our favourite spot once again. It was a much needed pause especially on my end because I was so busy filling my mind with new experiences, people and conversations.

It made me happy going back there despite Christmas being very different that year. Our hearts felt heavy with memories but we were able to release some of them with a smile with every sunset we saw.

Sand trickled through my fingers as we talked. We were quiet sometimes, not because we ran out of things to say but because we didn’t have to. We spent time together preparing ourselves for 2015 and rebuilding our lives around the events of the past year.

I was eager to get back to what I was doing and S said something which I thought and said that I understood at the time. It actually took several months after that day for me to take his words to my heart and really realize what he actually meant.

Note to Self: Hope

It was just us there standing by the viewpoint on a sunny afternoon at the Cabo de Gata-Níjar Natural Park in Spain.

I could hear the waves, the seagulls and my heart beating. I should have been scared of the unknown waiting for me at home once this road trip was over but instead I felt hopeful.

I found hope as I looked out to the horizon because I finally understood the purpose behind the magnitude of the battles I fought up to that point.

Fast forward to today, I find myself foolishly forgetting this every time I stare at the peak that I have to climb once again.

I know that I’ll get there eventually. I also know that when I do, I’ll be smiling like the time these photographs were taken because all this right now will finally make sense.

Please remember that.

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Cave Houses of Guadix, Spain

Guadix was such a fascinating place to visit. There were chimneys scattered along the hillsides and ancient cave entrances still intact and visible on the mountain. I didn’t know functional cave dwellings still existed today.

Most of the cave homes were modernised with electricity and running water and some even had extensions added to the original sandstone home. We briefly toured a local’s home (Cueva Jose) and got to experience how naturally cooler the temperature was inside. The owner was such a sweet man who welcomed us into his property with a big smile. His home is located in Plaza del Padre Poveda and a must-see when in the neighbourhood.

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