Departing Copenhagen on Saturday morning, our flight veered close to the edge of the sea. The sun shone, and with sheer excitement, I made my way.
What did I find? A city to fall in love with, a city that is iconic and everything in between. But what stuck with me the most, were random thoughts walking through the streets of Rome (and believe me, walk we did, 35 kilometres to be exact), which I’ve managed to collect here.
First things first, the birds of Rome are not afraid. They’re almost as accustomed to tourists as the hopeful taxi drivers waiting at the airport, with their ‘Scusi, where are you going? I can take you there, it’s cheaper than whatever you were thinking of, I promise!’
My guess is that when it comes to picking bread crumbs, the glorious Italian food that these birds anticipate emboldens them. Pigeon-pecks on foot, and posing seagulls are definitely an interesting Roman musing, and I will admit, an Instagrammable one too.
On a more serious note, the city feels old, quaint charming but also fast and modern — a paradox best seen by nuns walking in groups, all deep in prayer, mere streets away from graffiti on funky neighborhoods and even a new age take of the Pope.
The streets are deserted on Sunday, with a quiet calm, and for a minute, you almost believe that you might be a lone tourist. And suddenly behind a corner, you will find throngs of people queued up to enter the Vatican City, or grab a slice of pizza from that one cafe that Lonely Planet endorses.
Tourists mill around, the locals swat them like flies and keep moving.
The cars and Vespa riders snake their way through traffic, pedestrians, whatever have you, in a constant flux. The city goes on, sirens wail right through the ruins, forging a future stacked on ancient history. The Roman Empire stands guard, in the form of ruins and relics while people go about their business, paying no heed to the wonders of the world that surround them.
Culture embeds much of daily life — in the names, the mannerisms, in small details of the quotidian…a quiet and filled to the brim book store — paintings, post cards, cozy streets. Sonorous priests preach the good word inside gorgeous churches. Devotees nod and sing fervently, kneeling on the pews. Ghettos, signs proclaiming “refugees welcome“, an international melting pot, with people that look different, speak different languages, all in a city that’s charged with protecting history and wisdom of the old world. The eternal city, it is indeed.
The streets are enchanting, cobble stoned streets with overpowering history.
Mysterious doors, proud trees, harbouring secrets and stories that beg to be told. The sound of water, wild rivers cascading through the night, broken bridges sporting gargoyles. Fountains, with a melody that refreshes you constantly.
Welcoming cafes, aperitif glasses gleaming in the sun. Old people waking dogs, small children dressed for the Carnevale, playing while scattering coloured paper and glitter on squares. A garden of pine cones, locals enjoying a sunny day, lovers holding hands. Smiling, coming together as if to say,
‘Come, this is Rome, this is where the old world meets the new’