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Small Feat, Big Outcome

My Travel Writing Scholarship 2011 entry - My Big Adventure

ITALY | Sunday, 20 February 2011 | Views [222] | Scholarship Entry

Only a few steps more until I finish climbing the wondrous goliath that is Il Duomo di Firenze. My pants are getting heavier with every step I take, and the boy running up the steps in front of me is putting me to shame. I want to make it to the top, but my mending ankle is a reminder of why I shouldn’t be doing this in the first place.

But I am climbing a man-made wonder. I want to reach the top and breathe in Firenze’s skyline of Romanesque architecture – round-arched roofs and buttresses – that comprises the cathedrals, restaurants and apartment buildings. It’s worth every step I have made and will make, and it’s worth every broken bone in my body.

I have been living in an apartment in Firenze with a window view of Il Duomo for about a month, but now is when I get the chance to climb it. Toward the beginning of my trip, I fractured my ankle while running around the Ponte Vecchio, the only bridge in Firenze not destroyed by Germans in World War II. I was trying to familiarize myself with the beauty of Italy – the marble buildings, the clear blue skies, the verandas of jewelers and artists, and the inviting smell of baking bread.

Thought I experienced most of what I wanted to do, the one thing I couldn’t do was climb Il Duomo. If the 376-feet-tall cathedral didn’t seem daunting enough, the fact that I had to climb the 463 steps to get to the cherry on top of the gelato instilled in me an inferiority complexion.

But now that I’m free from crutches and a cast – still pain in my ankle, though – I decided to climb it. So here I am, a little more than halfway up. I reminisce one more time on the great memories spent with my roommates from feasting like kings at restaurants to taking pictures in The Basilica di Santa Croce, where Galileo Galilei – “Father of Modern Science” – is buried.

As I decide to climb to the top of Il Duomo and make my way through the crowd, I think to myself what a beautiful opportunity to be in my shoes this very moment, to see what I’m seeing this very moment. I see the red-roofed homes; the tiny locals conversing and tourists making memories with their cameras; the restaurant where I ate a medley of fried vegetables; and anything else that has been imprinted as a wonderful remembrance into my mind and in my heart.

Then, before I make my way down Il Duomo, I ask a kind stranger to take a picture of me with the skyline in back. Though I only took one picture atop the cathedral, the grand smile on my face is enough to show my family and friends the wonderful life I lived in Firenze, and to remind myself how fortunate I was to experience such beauty.

Tags: #2011writing, travel writing scholarship 2011

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