To Rome and Back

Four weeks ago we were waking up smack in the heart of ancient Rome, steps away from the Pantheon, in the smallest hotel room we have ever stayed in.  I had brief moments where I wondered if it was some sort of twisted joke and whether the room-bookers who shall remain nameless had specifically searched out a room that made the bedroom in the fifth wheel look alright.  You could walk around the bed and it was a king sized bed, but you had to close the suitcases and put them in the closet in order to accomplish the walk around.  To be completely honest, the bathroom was wonderful and the room was perfectly fine just a tad smaller than our rooms on the swake.

Rome comes alive at night.  This is a cliche that we had heard from many and read in several sources before we left.  It is a truth.  The sidewalk cafes and the narrow cobblestone streets are full of locals and tourists.  Locals walk their dogs in the evening, and Greg loved that but it did make him a bit Kanti-sick.  One waiter told us that the nightlife comes to a quiet rest about four in the morning only to start again about seven o'clock.  The first morning, we flung open our hotel windows as the street started to hum with activity and looked across to our neighbors' windows which were spitting distance away.  Greg hates having curtains closed, but he didn't have a choice.  We were close enough to the apartments across the street that you could read the label on someones beer bottle if you were so inclined.  Close quarters in Rome but fantastic and highly recommended.

Day one we hit the street with energy and anticipation.  Bring on the sights, bring on the ruins, bring on the heralded Italian food and wine.  And don't forget the legendary gelato.  Then the walking began.  The Pantheon was right around the corner; graced with the presence of two gladiators who would pose for photos for a few euros.  It really tickled my funny bone, that they were smoking cigarettes and talking on their smart phones at the same time tourists were having their photos taken.  They had some issues staying or even getting in character.  The gladiators are kind of like Santa Claus in North America at Christmas time, they are almost everywhere except the Vatican which was the next stop on the walking tour.  It was as imposing and awe inspiring as one would expect.  But it was also insanely busy, hot, and nearly overwhelming.   The Vatican left me a little uncertain.  Was I glad the church had saved all that fabulous art work so all could enjoy it thousands of years later or was I uneasy with the church controlling such a vast fortune in art work?  I confess to being conflicted.

Absolutely bone-weary we fell into bed on night one for about three hours of uninterrupted sleep.  That dang jet lag kicked in, but it didn't slow us down on the second day.  We resumed the walking on day two,  explored more ancient ruins and took in the Coliseum.  Yes, gladiators were present and posing at the front entrance.  The tourists came in huge numbers from all around the globe, it was a little like being at the Tower of Babel.  If you tuned your ear you would pick up many different languages being spoken around you at any one moment.  I imagine that Rome was like that in the old days too; a hub of trade with people from many countries converging to exchange their wares.  The citizens of Rome, greeting one another, bargaining, enticing the passersby into their cafe for a meal, and flattering the ladies.  Some things are timeless.

Last night on the swake, the coyotes were howling greetings to one another.  Those coyotes are a bit crafty, always trying to entice the dogs to come out.  The moose are in the rut right now tramping through the property under the full moon searching out the ladies.  We hardly slept last night with all the commotion, kind of like being in Rome.