Saturday, September 22, 2012

Roman Holiday

"Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0"

For some reason I have been missing Rome a lot lately.
I suppose it might be because Rome provided me with one of those moments that simply take your breath away.
I am not easily awed by the things that I see. The tragedy of living in today’s world is that nothing surprises us anymore. We are a generation that has grown up believing that anything and everything is possible. Sometimes I miss the element of surprise and disbelief our forefathers experienced when some thing extraordinary was introduced to them.
So under the circumstances when some thing spectacular comes along, I for one cherish it. Coming back to Rome; my captivating moment came as I stood at the center of St. Peter's square in the middle of the night.
There can be no describing the feelings that I experienced standing in the heart of that magnificent centuries old square. There was complete silence and emptiness all around us, both things, a rarity in today’s world. I don’t know how long I remained there but every second of it was mesmerizing.
The enchantment did not end there. After leaving St. Peter's my husband and I wandered around for a while drinking in the beauty of the grand Roman architecture spread all around us before finally sitting down on some stairs near Castle de Angelo. In front of the steps a group of performers were practicing some traditional form of dance (the kind in which the dancers all moved around in a circle). There were a few people already seated there watching the performance so we sat and watched with them. Suddenly it did not matter anymore that it was close to one in the morning. It did not even matter that we had had a looooong (why so long? That is an even longer story) and tiring day. Infect sleep was the last thing on our minds.
Why should we sleep when we can sit on ancient Roman steps and watch people dancing in front of us?
As bizarre as the above question may sound now, somehow at that time, it made perfect sense.
There was music, there was dancing, there was joy: it was the perfect Roman holiday.
Since our hotel (hotel sole) was at walking distance from the Vatican City, we went back there again in the morning. St. Peter's square was still there but the magic was gone. It was now full of tourists, cameras and even occasional cars that sped right through the square as if it was some common road (I had not expected that). In the morning it was just a tourist site like thousand others scattered all over the world.
But even thought the enchantment of the night had disappeared in the light of the day, the beautiful memory of it, thank God, will always remain.