June 10, 2009 17:15
We are done with Rome and off to Florence. Sitting on the Leonardo Express on our way back to the airport to pickup our rental car I am reminded of how poignant the European body odor is. It must be 95 degrees in the train right now as we sit waiting to leave and there is no A/C. However, its been a few moments and I think my nose is getting used to it because the smell is fading. Well, we had a n interesting time in Rome (I know you are thinking "Interesting Good? or Interesting Bad?". Neither, just interesting). We did all the "touristy" things while we were here, The Colosseum, The Palantine, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and The Vatican with a few piazzas in between. All of them were great but Miah and I have decided that the tourist scene is not for us. We are looking forward to renting a car and exploring Italy on the off beaten path on our own. One of the things that I did find very interesting and that I was fascinated with was the everyday life outside of the city center. Our hotel was about a 45 minute bus and Metro ride from the center and because of that got to experience a lot of "everyday" life. We would ride the bus through a few ghettos every morning, afternoon and night and saw working people and students in the mornings, Grandmas and Grandpas in the afternoons going to the local market and young people, mostly teenagers, in the night time. The older people would literally get on the bus at one stop and immediately get off at the very next stop, sometimes no more than 100 yards away but I guess at that age and with the heat it is necessary. Each time I would see this I would imagine the little Nana or Tata going down the street to visit an old friend for the afternoon or going to the market to buy some fresh veggies for dinner.
Our Rome hotel was in a residential neighborhood, so each day our bus would ride through endless apartment buildings, one after another and another. I never saw a single house in all 3 days on the bus, just apartments. Every building was almost the same, laundry hanging out the windows with store fronts on the bottom floor and all covered in graffiti. Oh, and tons of satellite dishes on the roofs or hanging out the window. It was all VERY REAL! By day 3 the ride got hard and long, probably from the heat and the excitement of this new place wearing off but it was still very interesting to see.
As far as the actual city of Rome goes, it is amazing. There are so many ruins and so much history right in the middle of a huge city. (Even in the residential areas they are excavating ruins under demolished buildings, makes me wonder what is under all those apartment buildings!) All the ruins and history makes my mind wander thinking about all the amazing and historical events that took place in this amazing city.
Now we are riding on the train back to the airport on the outskirts of town and as I look back to see the city in the distance with the fields in the forefront I imagine what it looked like 2000 years ago when it was ruled by Ceasars and was the greatest empire in the world. Then I start to think about the all the ruins again and the buried cities and realize that they may never be found with so much built on top of them. All in all Rome was beautifully chaotic and amazingly historical. It was truly wonderful to stand in a place where so much has happened and where the soil has been tread by not only famous painters and sculptors, but Peter and Paul.
It makes the US seem like a baby in comparison!