It has been swirling around in my head for several days of how to write and describe what I am thinking! As our time here in Rome continues, there is so much that I want to write about but so much of it is feelings rather than experiences!
Maybe if I begin with a few comparisons it will help! Rome is not Florence! When we arrived in Florence, my heart was just so full of seeing all the beauty of the bridges, the art, the hills over looking the city itself! The small winding allys they call streets were magical to me! It felt like we were in a place separated from the real world that nothing could penetrate! Beautiful views from every restaurant we stopped. Gelateria after Gelateria where beautiful mounds of colored gelato called our names! We would ride buses around just in awe of gorgeous duomos and museums of the most amazing art and sculptures! The countryside where we ventured just brought into focus more of the magical country of Italy! Hilltop towns where we walked through, feeling like we were in a fantasy world! Yes that was Florence!
Then the train brought us to Rome! We felt excited to be in the Eternal City! All Roads lead to Rome….but as i looked around, all i wanted was to be on a road back to Florence! We began to get out with the crowds of people to see all the places that people come to Rome to see….the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, the Alter of the Fatherland, the Colosseum, Vatican and of course the Sistene Chapel! As we had been in Rome some years back, none of these places were new to us but was so nice to see again. As the days went by we began to get comfortable with the buses and metro! Now we were beginning to venture out to new neighborhoods that we had read about!
As one week turned into two, we were becoming more and more familiar with the grand city of Rome! We spent an afternoon on bus number #916, riding it full circle! It took almost 3 hours. We became concerned as the bus left our familiar area and headed out to a part of town that was way out of our part of town. When the bus came to a station and just stopped, i walked to the front of the bus and showed him on our map the station that we hoped the bus would return to. He nodded that it would. After about 15 min he turns the bus key on and off we go. 31 stops later, the bus driver , opens his door to the drivers seat, steps out in the aisle and motions to Randy and I that in one more stop we will be home! All the bus passengers just look at us and wonder why he did that. Of all the buses we have been in the last 7 weeks, that was the sweetest gesture! It was then that i began to think about Rome and the wonderful feelings that have been so difficult to write about! A few nights ago, as we walked to a restaurant a few blocks away, I had told Randy that I wished I could just turn the video on as we walked to capture the things i have come to love about Rome! Because every neighborhood has everything that they need, it seems that some of the folks just stay in their neighborhood and never venture out to far. As we walk down the street we see some of the same ones every evening. There is a man who sits downstairs with a precious beagle and talks to everyone who walks by. The doorman or our apartment bldg stands and greets us, using the little amount of English he knows. He had helped direct us to different metro stations and told us about different buses.
The grocery store (there are two within a block) now know us and smile and greet us as they carry on conversations with the others in line. Everyone knows the others that are in the stores. Ladies tie up their precious dogs outside the store while they shop and no one takes them. The store has bowls of water out for the pets. We sit outside across the street to have a afternoon coffee (well i have tea) and a pastry. People walk by and stop and talk to the people they know. We noticed that when we were there a couple days ago, that 6 or 7 tables outside just enjoying the afternoon, there was not one person on their phones. They were talking to each other.
As ladies hang out their weekly laundry, they converse with each other from their respective balconies! It has been such an eye opener to me of how precious people truly are. I just hung out laundry listening to the church bells ringing. Each day of walking to stores/restaurants has given us interaction with people that maybe dont speak our language nor do we speak theirs, but it is so easy to see their hears because of their actions! No matter the place, it is the people who make our journeys worthwhile!
Yes, we have loved the art, the beauty of the ruins, the churches and of course the food! But the hardest thing we leave behind is the way of life here! So simple, yet so sincere! We have fallen in love with Rome, but the reasons are so varied, it will just need to be written in my heart because it is not possible to put into words!