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A few weeks ago we returned from a 22-day vacation. We spent six days in Rome, Italy and did a transatlantic cruise back home to the US. In Rome we had a nice two bedroom, two bath apartment (AirBnB) in a bustling neighborhood near Vatican City. Unfortunately, our travel companion was robbed (pick pocket) near the Vatican on our first outing to sightsee. Though she handled it much better than, I believe, I would have, we did cut back on in-depth sightseeing for the remaining days we were in Rome. That and the crowds we encountered - even in early October! - made visiting sights in Rome less appealing.

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However, not doing “traditional” sightseeing was fine with my wife and me. We like to think of ourselves as ‘travelers,’ not ‘tourists.’ We do not travel to distant places - or even nearby places - to check things off a list to prove that we’ve “seen the world.” No, traveling to us is about experiencing the places we visit, not standing in line to “see” monuments and famous buildings. That meant on this trip exploring the neighborhood, “our” neighborhood, around our apartment. We ate at a restaurant just down the street as well as one three blocks away that was owned and run by the parents of our young landlord. We sat at sidewalk tables, drank great wine, and enjoyed wonderful and tasty food while watching the people passing by. We shopped at a nearby Carrefour grocery store and another smaller grocery store to stock up for breakfast fixings in our apartment. We sat on our apartment balcony looking out at the busy street in front of our building. We watched with curiosity the merchants across the street as they opened and closed and as they stepped out for a cigarette and chatted with passersby they - presumably - new.

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“What, you didn’t go sightseeing at all,” you ask? Correct, but we did do what we love to do: we had a relaxing vacation in a different country, enjoyed meeting new people, eating fantastic food, and drinking great - and sometimes, not so great - wine! And, do you know what? We came home relaxed with nice memories (except for companion’s pickpocketing experience) of Rome, Italy! The only stress we felt was the getting there and getting home part! We are not exhausted from checking things off a list!

What does this have to do with photography, you ask? Nothing except compared to previous trips when I typically have come home with 1,500 to 2,000 images, I only have a hundred or so from this trip. I recorded lots of short video clips that I’ll piece together into some short videos. Best of all, I had fun!