Dancing in the Forum

If you haven’t read my last post about my Italian pasta class and visiting the Roman Coliseum, check it out!

Our guide led us down several ancient stone steps into a patch of grass that glowed in the bright Italian summer sun. All around us were ruins in various states of completeness at the Roman Forum. Some stones barely stuck out above the grass line while others almost resembled buildings. As we walked around, the guide pointed out where old buildings used to stand and their importance to Rome’s history and culture. The 10th grade online Latin classes were finally paying off. 

Big door

A Great Accident at the Roman Forum

Forum ruins

He told us that earth had covered the ruins for centuries right where we were standing. Nobody knew for centuries that they had been walking right on top of one of the most treasured historical sites the world knows to this day. Someone discovered the ruins during some kind of routine construction project, if I’m remembering correctly. 

Roman Art

After listening to the guide’s explanation of the Forum, and feeling quite insignificant in the timeline of human history, we began exploring on our own. Dounia and I decided to check out a nearby site that was on the river: Castel Sant’Angelo. This mausoleum/citadel was one of the coolest places we visited during the entire trip. The entrance rests at the base of the giant cylinder, with the guided path slowly taking visitors up the steps to the citadel’s gorgeous view of Rome. The stunning history and ancient walls make this an unforgettable stop, with tales of dungeons, battles, and crazy Roman tales.

Rome Castel SantAngelo

battles around the forum


Gelato and People-Watching in Rome

After we finished touring the citadel, we ran into some members of our group. We decided to walk along the shade in a quieter section, certainly appreciating the slowdown from our busy itinerary. I picked up some cute Rome-themed magnets from a local vendor before we grabbed some gelato. Grabbing a spot along the wall that rested above the river, we spent the afternoon people-watching until it was time to go back to the hotel. That night was opera night. 


Putting on the best thing I packed for the whole trip, the whole group met in the lobby. After a short bus ride, we finally arrived at an elegant-looking restaurant. The host escorted us to a table with a great view of the stage. One of the performers even invited me up in front of the whole audience to dance as one of his co-performers sang. It was such a fun night filled with friends, laughter, and song. 

Join me next time as I talk about our trip to the Vatican!

Cassidy Kearney at the Forum

by Cassidy Kearney


Big Red Suitcase and a Canceled Flight


It was 3:00 PM, and I was waiting at the Madrid airport. As a European traveler, I was not the average flier –  I was the anomaly. I was used to carrying my big, red suitcase everywhere I went. I was used to waiting in long check-in lines. “Big Red” and I had bonded throughout my travels over the last couple of years. However, we didn’t know what would unravel in just a few moments.

Canceled Flight

I rolled Big Red up to the counter and slung her onto the scale to get weighed, hoping I had finally packed light. Phew, I thought Red was under this time. My packing skills had gotten so much better that year. A trip to Paris would have had my bag popping at the seams. The fashionista in me wanted to pack every shoe I owned. However, a voice went off in my head as I was packing. I reminded myself that each pair of shoes I took out could be replaced with a new memento I could bring back. Win-wins are always the way to go!

A Canceled Flight

Big Red suitcase

As I stood at the counter, the woman stared at Big Red. Then, after a glance at her computer, she stared at me and said, “Pardon, your flight has been canceled.” My first thought was that she spoke English. It took me a moment to realize what she had said. I knew then that my plans were off to a soggy start.

“Well, what now?” I asked as I looked at her incredulously.

She told me that the airline only flew families and preferred guests out, so I had to stay the night in a hotel. Thinking more about my fate and the already booked (and bought) tour and hotel room that I had waiting for me that evening, I gave her a mumbled “ok.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, an annoyed sigh building up. “How will I get reimbursed for the events I paid for this evening?”

“Call our helpline!” she said, trying to cheer me up while glancing at Big Red again.

The Nonexistent Shuttle

I walked away from the front desk like a middle schooler who was denied access to an R-rated movie. Big Red and I headed toward the outside traffic lanes to find the supposed airport hotel shuttle. She told me my new flight was at 0800 the next morning. I walked around for about 45 minutes, looking at every shuttle stop twice.

canceled flight paris travel abroad airplane landing tale board

I could not find the shuttle for the life of me. Maybe it was the fact that this had never happened to me before. Or, it could be the fact that I was wearing a Eurosock that kept riding toward the end tip of my toes, impairing my ability to walk. I had been abroad for a year, and yes, my footwear and euro socks (peds) always became an issue in the most dire situation. Regardless, I wanted to find the shuttle, and get this hiccup over and done with.

As I was looking around for the nearest cab, I saw another lost soul searching for what could have been a shuttle that didn’t exist. She turned around and asked, “Are you looking for the shuttle too? Was your flight to Paris canceled?”

I nodded my head and told her yes. “I’m about to take a cab. You wanna split one?” I asked, offering her a smile.

Tune in next time to find out what will happen during Leesa’s adventure in Paris!

map of Madrid