The Journey to Gilda

Fireworks over Rome

Fireworks over Castel Sant’Angelo in Rome by Jacob Philipp Hackert

“Dove e Gilda?”

We must have said it a hundred times.  The four of us, unlikely companions and fast friends, asking locals this question in our attempts to ascertain the location of a certain club.  Walking the streets of Rome after midnight in the very first hours of that new year, searching for our very own Gadot.

I’m not sure if anyone remembers how we gained the information that Gilda was the place to be that night, the four of us young and daring in a foreign land, looking for adventure and revelry.  But, despite the haziness as to the origin of the information, we were on a quest, and would not be denied the promise of dancing, drinks and debauchery.

It began after a delicious and lengthy dinner at a restaurant tucked beneath the Spanish Steps, shared with our newfound friends from Texas that we happened to meet on the bus from the hotel, two young and carefree couples venturing out into the great vast city of Rome.

The New Year arrived at the stroke of midnight, as it is known to do, and we rejoiced with champagne and fireworks above that immense square, surrounded by what seemed like every single Italian citizen.  Once the celebrated moment had passed, the crowds dispersed, allowing us the chance to wander the city streets, beginning our quest for Gilda.

“Dove e Gilda?” we began to ask as we wandered aimlessly.  We were met with uncomprehending looks, some shrugs, and some attempts to direct us towards our destination.  With each attempt at helpfulness, a different direction would be suggested.  And so, we walked.  And walked.  And walked.

We walked past the Trevi fountain, stopping for just a moment to gaze upon the wonder of those huge statues, the flowing water misting the air around us.  But we did not linger, for we were on a quest.

We walked past the Pantheon, almost not even realizing what the spherical domed building was, until it was pointed out to us by someone.  We dared not go inside to look up at the sky through the round hole in the ceiling, though.  There was no time for star-gazing when our eyes had to focus on earthly goals.

The Roman Forum almost went unnoticed as well, as the collapsing pillars and ruins of that open space were almost too difficult to see in the dark.  But there was no time to stop and view them, anyway.  We were determined to search onward.

The more we walked, the more determined we became to eventually reach our destination.  Spending hours walking the streets of Rome, only to make the occasional stop in a local bar, for shots of Grappa to refuel ourselves for the journey.  Craving the feeling of accomplishment and joy that the eventual discovery of our objective would bring.  Much like Columbus discovered our very own country . . . already occupied, but still claimed as his very own.  Such would we return the favor in his home country, staking our flag in Gilda, feeling as if we owned this sainted land after our efforts to suss it out from its secreted location.

But it was never to be.  The closest we came to Gilda was the question that repeatedly traipsed across our lips during our search.  “Dove e Gilda?”  We will never know.  We spent our night searching and not finding, yet we found ourselves experiencing the city and that New Years Day in a way we never would have expected.  And never will forget.



This is my first foray into the Yeah Write challenge universe.  Click on that badge above to read some amazing stories! 

Somehow, despite the multiple brilliant posts submitted to this week’s Yeah Write challenge, this little ole post right here . . . won.  Woohoo!!  I never would have expected it, but I am so pleased. 





42 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. renée a. schuls-jacobson
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 09:51:09

    Fantastic! And I’m so glad you’re joining Yeah! Right. There are some incredibly talented people over there. And this piece? Absolutely spot on.


  2. Go Jules Go
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 09:57:57

    Well this is a n excellent inaugural entry into the Yeah Write series – as I was reading it I was thinking, “She’s such a great writer.” I especially liked, “There was no time for star-gazing when our eyes had to focus on earthly goals.”


  3. about100percent
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 10:45:34

    This is wonderful. I love how our travel experiences take on different meanings at different times in our lives. I’m sure if you’d visit Rome now your efforts would be focused on totally different goals. 🙂


    • mistyslaws
      Jun 20, 2013 @ 15:36:20

      Yes, I’m pretty sure we would not be searching the streets at 4:00 in the morning for a club, that’s for sure! 🙂 But it’s fun to have these memories of our youth.


  4. andrea-maybe it's just me
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 16:17:26

    Oh that sense of tunnel vision as you focus on the destination. I can’t believe you didn’t find it!!! Love the writing lady!


    • mistyslaws
      Jun 20, 2013 @ 15:37:37

      Confession . . . we DID eventually find it. A week later. My husband and I returned to Rome after staying in Naples for a week, and we finally tracked it down. Once we found it, though, it was sort of anti-climactic. We didn’t even go in. It ended up being much more about the journey for us afterall! 🙂


  5. Jess Witkins
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 16:18:05

    It could have been worse…


  6. Esther
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 16:55:52

    Nights like these are great. You wander and the outcome absolutely isn’t what you were aiming for… and it turns out better than it every could’ve been otherwise. You bring that feeling to life here really well.


  7. Karen
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 18:41:49

    Your descriptions brought me right there with you. Nice work.


  8. ateachablemom
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 21:12:40

    Oh, what a night! Sounds divine. Great storytelling!


  9. mamarific
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 21:32:27

    I feel like I went to Italy with you! Have been to Florence but always wanted to visit Rome. I enjoyed this a lot, considering I’m craving a European vacation.


    • mistyslaws
      Jun 20, 2013 @ 15:40:33

      Well, I’m happy to be able to give you just a taste of Rome, since you’ve never been. It’s a fantastic city, if you’re ever thinking about an Italian vacation!


  10. joannerambling
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 23:35:52

    Oh to be young and carefree wondering the streets in a foreign country makes for a good story when you are not so young also makes one think if my kids new the shit I did when I was young they would have a fit…………..ok maybe not my kids since I lived a pretty boring life but some peoples kids not everyone had a boring life……………right


    • mistyslaws
      Jun 20, 2013 @ 15:41:30

      Yeah, we didn’t get in too much trouble that night. This would be a story I would love to tell my kids when they get older. Maybe some day they can have their own Italian adventure! 🙂


  11. Kiki
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 23:40:13

    Sounds like you guys found the fun in the journey, despite missing the destination. Loved the details of the place you capture.


  12. From Novels to Board Books
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 11:14:01

    This sounds lovely. Thanks for the armchair travel. I needed to be in Italy for a little while 🙂


  13. dorothyadele
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 13:45:33

    I like your vivid images “the flowing water misting the air around us.” It is the journey that makes the experience special.


  14. nataliedeyoung
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 13:53:49

    What a wonderful unexpected tour! It’s really about the journey, huh?


  15. icescreammama
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 15:22:50

    so true.. the adventure is really what it’s all about. lovely.


  16. erin graves
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 16:07:58

    You totally took me back to my own Roman adventure — great story!


  17. flyingplatypi
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 19:35:20

    I’m so glad we’re friends… Friends who ride majestic, translucent steeds, shooting flaming arrows across the bridge of Hemdale.

    I love you. Also, I voted for you.




    • mistyslaws
      Jun 21, 2013 @ 09:03:18

      I don’t know what any of that means, but it sounds magical, so I’m in!

      I love you, too. Thanks so much for your support! You’re like the best and sexiest bra I own. 😉


  18. Trackback: yeah write #114 weekly writing challenge winners: crowd favorite and top row five |yeah write
  19. Dorothy Adele
    Jun 21, 2013 @ 09:33:47

    Congrats, nice post!


  20. Valentine Logar
    Jun 22, 2013 @ 14:43:33

    Wonderful entry, sometimes it is best not to find our original goal and instead just follow the lead of destiny.


  21. Trackback: yeah write #115 weekly writing challenge is open for personal essays and traditional blog anecdotes |yeah write

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