Roma, day One

I left my flat very early in the morning, but still managed to be so late to my flight that they had given away almost all of the seats and had to put me in business class. Woe is me! I had to use real silverware and drink out of an actual ceramic cup! I wish I could always fly business class--it makes you feel like a real human being. I landed in Italy and found the train into the city. The view from the train windows looked much like Chicago or the outskirts of any major city. Apartment buildings crammed together, laundry hanging from balconies, graffiti here there and everywhere, lots of trash... but there were also Mediterranean-type palm trees (which I haven't seen in a while) and a general Santa Barbara-type feel to all the city-ness that made it quite an enjoyable train ride. The station was a fifteen minute walk from my hostel and I had printed out a detailed map from Google to help me on my way. My little wheelie suitcase bore the jutted cobblestones very well, and the Italians seemed not to mind the entrance of another tourist into their city. There were lots of shops, but nothing remarkably ancient. Chaeli was asleep in the hostel when I arrived, for she had been travelling for about 22 hours or something like that. I was going to go out and explore for a bit, but found that I, too, was tired. So I took a two hour nap, woke her up, and we left to peruse the city. It was evening by this time, so we headed for the Spanish steps (I believe in the film Roman Holiday, Gregory Peck holds a watermelon on these steps while Audrey Hepburn eats gelato. I could be wrong...). The church at the top of the steps is supposed to be worth looking at, but a column-monument directly in front of it was having some work done, so I mostly saw lots of scaffolding. The view from the top of the steps, however, was not a disappointment. There were lots of city lights and a few important-looking domes all lit up across the landscape. Chaeli and I followed this with some dinner (I had gnocchi with gorgonzolla sauce; very yummy) and more wandering around. Altogether, I was struck with a remarkable sense of safety. Either Rome is a very gentle city (excepting the pickpockets), or the Spirit of God was favouring us with particular grace. This sense of safety lasted the entire trip, no matter how late or how lost (though we were never really lost) we found ourselves. All was always very well. Everyone around us was very gracious and full of goodwill.

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