As some of you know, I’ve just returned from a twelve-day trip to Italy.

Colosseum

Colosseum

I’ve been there a few other times in my life, but it has been sixteen years since I’ve traveled to Europe.

I couldn’t wait to take my kids on their first Italian adventure. We’d planned a trip that included a nice balance of sight-seeing, shopping, and leisure activities.

Not surprisingly, their favorite “tour” was the one spent in Pompeii, and their favorite days were the ones they enjoyed swimming in Lake Como.

Pompeii street

Pompeii street

City kids they are not!

Pompeii

Pompeii

Throughout our trip, I couldn’t help but compare my prior visits and memories to present-day Rome, Venice, and Lake Como.

Interior of St. Peter's Cathedral

Interior of St. Peter’s Cathedral

Naturally everything changes with time, but what struck me most was a sense that the country didn’t seem as “foreign” anymore. Part of that could be due to some familiarity, but I couldn’t help but wonder if technological advances throughout the past sixteen years hadn’t also affected the culture.

Venice

Venice

The Pantheon

The Pantheon

With much of the planet’s population now having instant and continual access to people, products, and cultures around the globe thanks to the internet and other media, it shouldn’t be surprising that once-unique cultures might start to adopt aspects of others. It made me a little sad to think that such a trend might continue and, sooner or later, countries around the world will lose their individuality (excepting certain physical features, such as the ruins scattered throughout modern Rome).

Parking, Rome-style

Parking, Rome-style

Am I alone in my perception, or have you experienced seeing such changes when you travel to other countries?

In any case, I hope you enjoy some of my vacation photos. Italy remains a beautiful country in which it is much too easy to gain weight!

xo-Jamie