Do all roads lead to Rome?
Mine took me there twice – once on the brink of 2015 and once ten years ago. Back then it was my first time travelling abroad and I was soaking sights and ancient history like a kid who’s grown up in the battered tower blocks of a post-communist country. By the time I got back home it took me years to shake off my feeling of awe at the feet of Rome’s grandeur.
At the end of 2014 a combination of traveller’s restlessness, lack of direct flights between Edinburgh and Sofia, and Rome’s magnetic attraction brought me back to the eternal city. I was naïve enough to think that, now that I was older, skipping around the Roman Forum and peeking into a couple of museums I would be composure incarnated.
I lost my poker face the moment we entered our hotel. It was located inside an 18th century building featuring high ceilings, columned open corridors, and an old school lift. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the ‘magnificent vaulted ceilings with original 19th century period décor and frescoes’ in my room, but maybe next time. Yet, even the view of the neighbours’ laundry hung across our tiny window made my heart flutter with joy. Yes, we do still hang our laundry outside in Eastern Europe, but a pair of colourful bed sheets draped over an artistically rundown Italian façade give off a completely different vibe.
The days we spent wandering the city were sunny and cloud-free even in the end of December. The sky felt so much higher than the one we have in Scotland and I was lost staring in its endless blue. Contrary to my expectations, everything was ‘more’ than I recalled. Colours, flavours, and sounds were brighter and more intense than I would remember them to be anywhere else. Distances made my feet hurt even before noon. Columns of past temples made my head turn and jaw drop in sheer awe.
Roaming Rome is not for the composed. It’s for those willing to let their senses have a feast while their heads spin adjusting to the scale of it all.