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Annelisa+Zamora%2C+with+family%2C+enjoys+her+summer+vacation+at+Vatican+City%2C+Italy+on+July+1%2C2018.%0A
Annelisa Zamora, with family, enjoys her summer vacation at Vatican City, Italy on July 1,2018.

Annelisa Zamora, with family, enjoys her summer vacation at Vatican City, Italy on July 1,2018.

Annelisa Zamora

Annelisa Zamora

Annelisa Zamora, with family, enjoys her summer vacation at Vatican City, Italy on July 1,2018.

Annelisa Zamora, A&E Editor

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If there is one thing my summer vacation taught me, it is that I romanticized places more than I realized.

 

I was lucky enough to travel to Ireland and Italy this past summer and it was a bit of a reality check. The places I visited were undoubtedly beautiful and incredible to experience, but they weren’t the same places I had seen in movies. They weren’t the pristine and perfect cities I had seen in Leap Year and The Lizzie McGuire Movie.

 

When our plane landed in Dublin, Ireland and we walked out of the airport doors, I was expecting to be greeted by the sight of green rolling hills and herds of sheep on the road. Instead I saw a city much like Boston. Buses and trains weaved through the streets instead of sheep; buildings and few Starbucks stood on the hills. It was then that I realized that Dublin was as much a tourist city as New York or Hollywood.

 

We spent most of our time riding in a red double decker bus hearing about the historical landmarks of the city and stopping to eat and drink at different pubs. Being under the legal drinking age in America, you can imagine how excited I was to have a drink or two in an Irish pub. I had a great time. I learned how beer was made in the Guinness factory, ate fish ‘n’ chips and got to listen to live traditional Irish music in a pub filled with some not so sober locals.

 

Italy was more astounding than Ireland. In my head Rome was this small, quaint and romantic city, home to the Colosseum. While the Colosseum was certainly still there, it stood in the middle of a city filled with graffiti covered walls and miles of lines of tourists. In my opinion, it made the experience even better. Walking into the Colosseum, the Vatican and through the ruins of the Forum, it felt like stumbling into a history book. Everything felt more special because I knew outside the worn-down walls of those places was a normal city filled with normal people doing normal things.

 

While I could go on and on about the things I did and saw while in Europe, I won’t bore you with the details. The moral of the story here is that while movies are great and seeing romanticized versions of real places is entertaining, we need to accept those versions for what they are: entertainment. They are not reality.

I prefer the real versions of Ireland and Italy. Not the version of Ireland with rolling green hills and perfectly moonlit walkways, but the version where I got to see a drunk man singing poorly while walking the streets on a Wednesday night. The version of Italy where I was covered in mosquito bites but never bothered to care because I was too busy stuffing my face with pasta and gelato. I’d happily take reality over fantasy.

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