It slowly sinks in: I’m in a majestic city, an entrancing city. Some buildings have been in place for 2000 years. I think of the people who walked where I walk, who looked out of the windows above me. I think of the Colosseum as I stand beneath it in the evening, its arches glowing with golden light. So peaceful, and yet the same place where thousands cheered the upcoming deaths of human beings as lions ripped into flesh.
Everything feels so “big” here – from the towering buildings with their balconies and flower boxes, to the thousands of people filling the squares in the relative cool of the evening, to the long span of history. What I’ve enjoyed most is the countless sidewalk cafés full of human beings, especially the ones on narrow cobbled streets. Cars will fit their way through, with pedestrians moving closer to the walls to allow passage. No one seems bothered by the volume of vehicles and people.
I love watching folks walk hand in hand, whether it’s romance or a mom holding her daughter. I love the hugs I see, the occasional public kiss, the smiles that seem to be everywhere. And I love being together with Lydia, Jo, Anja and Curd. We go ‘sploring together as a family. Yes, I’m been adopted by these fine Belgian folks. I’m included, which is a wonderful thing for a guy who lives alone.
Often we’ve been on the “hop on – hop off” tourist bus, up on the second floor. Huge windows and an open sky show me the world. I love the delicate details of the architecture and the flow of humanity below. At our stops, I have a few minutes to really look at the human beings passing by. Some are lost in their ear buds but most seem engaged with this rich environment. I study the faces and ask myself what their lives are like. Just as textured as mine, I’m sure.
Here are some more images:
A family of four arranging themselves for a selfie in a cobbled square – the two little girls giggling
Our waiter Luigi engaging us with great spirit in English, and then presenting us with a complimentary dessert of sweet buns and whipped cream. He also offers us a free bottle of wine if we come back.
Standing in line with a woman from Los Angeles, reflecting on the beauty of Roma, as well as the smog and freeways of LA. We laugh a lot.
Watching an artisan use pliers to turn a tiny tube of metal into a girl’s name and then attach it to a maroon leather bracelet. One of the Grade 6 girls near Belmont in Canada had asked me to bring her back a bracelet from Italy. I’ve kept my word.
The glow of sunset behind Mussolini’s palace, silhouetting two winged charioteers
Pressed together with hundreds of folks to get a view of the Trevi Fountain. The sheer mass of humanity was overwhelming.
The blessed silence of being inside the Pantheon, an ancient church filled with sculptures and paintings from long, long ago
Sweat pouring off bodies in the 33° Celsius heat as we all choose to be out and about in such beauty
How can it be? In just two days, Rome has become my favourite city. Somewhere ahead of me, a lovely lady will present herself into my life, and we will walk hand in hand through these sacred streets and lift a glass of wine to each other in a café. Ciao!