Back again at last. It all feels very comfortable these days, having spent so much time here over the years. I am reminded why it is my favorite city in Europe on my jet lag walk – the first thing I do after dumping my bags at the hotel.
The familiar tourists are here, but not in the droves of past summers. Seems the economy took its toll. But some are here just the same, the serious ones who are here to learn something, the college kids taking a break (or unable to find a job right now) the fun loving and the crass. The Romans take us all in stride, and after a day or two or rummaging around town I have yet to talk with a Roman who is exasperated at our presence.
It is warm. Summer his here, and with it the high temperatures and the humidity. Taking a break during a busy day, drinking lots of water, seeking some shade, all make Rome much more enjoyable this time of year and are a must if one is to survive the gauntlet of must-see attractions in this incomparable city.
Rome is a city of churches, nearly every one an architectural jewel in some way or another. Stoping in on what looks like a rather unpromising church from the outside you can be taken aback with wonder at mosaics and marble, at paintings and tombs. Never judge a Roman church by it’s cover. Then again, there are some spectacular facades on nearly every street as well. It’s all just a bit dazzling.
All of this was taken in during my mid day stroll on my first day back in Rome. A stop at the grocery store for fruit and juice and bread and cheese, and it was off to one of the quietes parks in Rome, the trees and grass (weeds, really) surrounding the ruins of the baths of Trajan. It seems the Romans have taken to the whole Family Home Evening thing, for the park was filled with laughing children, happy parents, and ond coupled arm in arm on benches, still very much in love. It was an idyll of family life and love in this incredible city of cities. Ancient Romans kept the idea of family sacred. Modern Romans, the few who are having families anyway, seem to meto treasure them as much as ever. When I got back to my hotel I called my wife in far away Utah, to share a few moments of the same feeling.
It has been a good day – a really good day. A good day to be back in Rome.