For a long time I romanticized over Italy. I visualised myself strolling through the Italian stradas and sitting in the ristoranti sipping wine, binging on gelato and indulging in pizzas and spaghetti. My desire to travel to Italy was probably heightened when I read ‘Eat Pray Love’. Elizabeth Gilbert’s description of Italy coupled with the artistic marriage between her personal struggles, love for food and the journey of self-discovery was amazingly depicted in her journey through Italy. Her experience was so beautiful that I imagined myself in Italy, reliving her moments in just three days minus her personal struggles and divorce of course! Rome came into existence hundreds of years B.C and the architectural prowess is still mind blogging thousands of years later and as I explored more of Rome, the more cognizant I was of the adage ‘Rome was not built in a day’. Personal lessons can be borrowed and adapted into our daily lives from the example of Rome I think; one that stood out for me was patience and the need to take time to shape best versions of ourselves that we possibly can. Well my first day in Italy wasn’t as romantic as I envisioned it to be; I was accosted by a thug who almost succeeded in stealing my wallet in a crowded bus as I was making my way to the hotel. Luckily, his plan failed. However, what was most intriguing to me was the fact that everyone on the bus knew what this man was up to due to the commotion I caused but none of them did or said anything. That pulsed me quite a bit and questions of race were quickly flashing through my mind? Everyone just stared as though nothing had happened! I am fully aware that no society is similar and that we should embrace our differences, but if a similar situation happened in Kenya it would have attracted a public shun or even worse consequences for him like a mob beating, this drove my mind to ancient Roman tales of dealing with thieves (read up on Furtum and it’s no secret Rome was pretty violent). I should however; state that I do not advocate for violence but some sort of deterrence measure should be employed to deal with such kleptomaniac tendencies. Not to be one-side in my story either, I highly recommend exercising care in Rome over your personal belongings and mindful of your surroundings (by this, I mean people) mostly around Roma Termini, which is the main train station in Rome. I don’t want to seem horrible because I really enjoyed the place but my personal impression of Italy was quite different from what I expected and this does not necessary translate to being bad! A few things to be mindful of in Rome are the roads; some people choose not to obey the traffic rules, the issue of thieves and maybe expect to be stared at. I received some belligerent stares, rude characters even in restaurants while ordering a meal and here I was thinking that Italians were savoir-faire. This is not a general rule of course! I am well aware that there are very pleasant Italians.
Needless to say; I had an amazing time retracing steps through Roman civilisation and history. I visited a number of attractions key among them was the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon, the Trevin Fountain (which was closed for renovation at the time, so sad!!!), Piazza Navona, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums, Spanish Steps, Piazza Venezia, Sistine Chapel (no pictures are allowed due to religious purposes) and being Catholic I respect that. Michel Angelo’s frescoes most famously the last judgment as depicted in the chapel. In my upcoming post I will share more pictures and delve more on maximizing your stay in Rome if you’re planning your trip/vacation there. Enjoy the pictures.