Hop On and Off to Overwhelmed
Relieved from the heat, we gladly hopped on the air conditioned a bus 🚌 to cool off and rest our feet. We rode around Rome like Disneyland tourists do on the monorail. Elated to rest our feet, plug in the nifty individual headphones 🎧 (that you get to keep! Yay!) and a lovely British woman tell us wee tidbits about each major spot. We did an entire loop around the city for 45 minutes just to take in the Spanish Steps…….. With our noses glued to the map, we’d plot out which numbered stops to get off at and take in these unbelievably magical sites. It seemed like the Disneyland of Ancient Ruins and history. But of course, so much more than any mere introductory description can articulate.
We’d turn around and see yet another ‘most perfect view of the coliseum!!’. Or stunning cathedral, amazing archway, romantic corner cafe and picturesque and narrow-cobblestone street. You’d NEED to take each and every picture at every turn until your cell phone battery is at 10%, overheated and your library had 400 new shots in it.
Every glance seems that way! You want to sit at every cafe, sip every cappuccino on each corner, wear a scarf with the perfect summer hat while sipping wine and writing the next great novel. That’s what i wanted to do anyway! So, you at least do the first part and get to writing at least a blog post when you’re half asleep in the room that night or on the bus the next day!
I’m sure I would’ve been a better prepared traveler to have studied even the Cliff Notes version of history for this fountain, that cathedral or this statue.
But, I didn’t. 😲🙃🤷♀️
So, instead, I marveled at the wonders of the human hand. The persistence, devotion of craftsmanship and inspiration from faith or life it took to create these majestic pieces.
Barbarianism at the at the Barberini Metro 🚇
It was quite a barbaric experience riding the metro back to our hotel at the Barnerini stop. It was rush hour and wall to wall people were rushing in the subway to enter the crowded train. A young girl, about 20, had a small round pillow/backpack around her waist and she bumped my dad as we entered the train. Clamoring for a pole to hold onto and keeping track of one another, the mob of people shifted into the train like a giant amoeba scrambling to move even a few inches. Just as we pushed off from the station, my dad felt his wallet moving in his front pocket. Frazzled, he yelled out, “she tried to rob me!” And pushed the wallet further into his pocket. The woman seemed to tell all those around her in Italian (from what I could gather with the little Italian and extensive Spanish I know) that she had just been innocently pushed. The woman exited at the next stop with her friend who had pushed my husband and nudged at the phone in his pocket as he turned his body away from her. To our premature relief, we thought we had thwarted a pickpocket!
Imagine the surprise when we stopped for the dinner an hour later to find that 370 Euros had been taken from my dad’s wallet! The woman’s thin fingers must have grabbed the bills from the inside of the wallet as she was pulling it out! The only thing he must have felt was the wallet getting pushed back into his pocket. If he had looked inside the wallet when it had happened, maybe the outcome would’ve been different. It’s something that we’ll never know, but will never forget! We trudged back to the hotel to get some assistance from the front desk at the hotel. They had us take a taxi to a nearby police station to fill out a report. Thankful for Google Translate, we could write what had happened and translate it filling out the paperwork. Unfortunately, our travel insurance wasn’t able to help recover the theft of cash.
Still reeling from the feelings of disbeleif and confusion, it thus imparts a red-face anger at the violation. A mild panic sets into the pit of your stomach sending fears of if you’ll have enough money to pay for the rest of the trip? And how to compensate for such a loss? In the back of your mind, you’re thankful it wasn’t a worse or violent encounter. It may have been a blessing that the victim and assailant didn’t speak the same language. Could it have really ended well if so? The money was gone and no one was hurt. Shouting of money being taken and yells of denial could’ve activated altercations of violence and make an already awful situation worse.
In the aftermath and in the strangest way, you’re faced with a level of awe at the con that unraveled right under your nose. Before you even realize that you were the star of that scary scene. A choice is left in your psyche about whether humanity is to be seen as the terrible turds they are forever marres your faith in people. Or to classify an entire city’s population of “those people” from “that city” can seem all the more uneducated, dirty, rotten, dastardly and villainous. It’s true that the thieves are maddening and you’d be justified in the rage that follows being ripped off the exhaustive hours it took to earn that wage. Yet, at the end of it all, it is just money. The city itself is a treasure of history, beauty, artistry and wonder, all of which to be found in the these ancient relics.
Within these antiquated antiques, the same stories of humanity can be found today from thousands of years ago. Sculpted from long lasting marble and stone, these timeless tales tell of social conditions that we still face today like the necessity of some to steal in response to poverty. The marble covered halls, monuments and buildings still shows the disparity between immense wealth and depravity. We’re rich enough to travel and see these treasures of the world and although inconvenienced, we certainly aren’t fighting to exist. A theft may ignite emotions of anger, vengeance, righteousness or justice. And more pensively, virtues of compassion, honesty, gratitude and love.
In the Eternal City, life goes on as humans go on today like they did centuries before.
Quod non fecerunt Barbari fecerunt Barberini (What the Barbarians did not do, the Barberini did). This particular quote may not fit our exact story, but it’s as true today in some ways as it was then.
It was indeed a barbaric act to have been stolen from, but we as humans all have our choices to make in how we live and respond to life’s beauty and ugliness.