The Spanish Steps

    The famous Spanish Steps in Rome are located in the Piazza de Spagna square, and the Barcaccia Fountain sits at the bottom of them. In the springtime pictures show that the steps are covered with hundreds of flowers. When we were there they didn't have any, but they were impressive anyway.
    I had been told of the traditions of the romantic Spanish Steps a few weeks before I came to Italy. I learned that it was customary to kiss on the steps, and to be sure that I shared a special one with my boyfriend (who also came on the trip), Andrew Thomas. Through the days leading up to our visit of the steps, Andrew and I both teased Mr. O'Conner and Mrs. Hott about letting us share a special smooch. But do you know what? When we actually got there, they said that we could kiss, just not to get too involved.
    We ended up going to the steps twice. The first time, the supposedly romantic, special experience of being at the Spanish Steps was anything but that. It was late at night, and cold rain was pouring down. We'd been touring all day and had walked a long way. Plus, we'd been around a demonstration at the Colosseum that morning and that evening in Rome there were sirens, helicopters, flashing lights, etc. So the atmosphere was not the greatest. To top it off, as the group quickly climbed half-way up the steps, Andrew and I stayed at the bottom to get a picture and find the right place to kiss. As we snapped a few pictures of the Barcaccia Fountain, our film ran out. We frantically changed it in the rain. By the time we had climbed the steps to meet with the rest of the group, they were getting ready to leave. (But not before everyone got a kiss on the cheek from Mr. O'Conner--tradition, you know!) Andrew and I raced to the top and then stopped to look out at the view. We turned to carry out the rest of our "plan" and the group was already walking down the street for the metro station! We raced to catch them and ended up laughing, drenched, all the way back to the hostel because our experience of the steps didn't go quite as planned.
    The next night, however, Mr. O'Conner had mercy on us. As we were walking near the Palazzo di Spagna after eating, he led us back to the Spanish Steps. Suddenly the rain that was still pouring stopped! Mr. O'Conner had a little space cleared for Andrew and I and we were able to share our memorable kiss on the Spanish Steps of Rome. This time, we had film in our cameras! After that, Mr. O'Conner gave me the kiss I'd missed the night before and even managed to give Andrew one. I think our memory of the Spanish Steps improved after having the chance to go to them again, to give it a second try! And Andrew and I weren't the only ones in the group that received a kiss on the steps-- thanks to Mr. O'Conner, everyone got one. All in all, the Spanish Steps turned out different than we'd expected, but that probably made the experience more memorable.


Chelsea O'Brian