Greetings from Rome!
As I said in my last post, I successfully completed the walking journey to Santiago! Some friends and I celebrated the night of my arrival with tapas, beer, and even an octopus.
It was nice to walk with a consistent group of people the last 200 kilometers. Since I injured myself after Pamplona, I walked significantly fewer kilometers than the average person each day. I walked so slowly that I couldn’t keep up with anyone, so I made many temporary friends during that time, but always ended up behind them after a day or two. It was funny to actually pass a handful of those people as I zoomed along the Meseta on my bike. After healing up and ditching the bike though, I started talking to the same people day after day, which added a nice touch of consistency to the transient nature of the Camino.
I bid that group farewell my first night in Santiago. Most of them continued their walk towards the coast. Meanwhile, I took a quiet, well-deserved, rest day before flying off to Rome. This leg of the journey is probably the most spontaneous thing I’ve done; a week ago I had no idea that I would be here.
I arrived in the city running only on the two hours of sleep that I got on the plane. I was exhausted, but I started walking around and the city gave me so much energy. My original plan for day one was just to rest, but instead I dumped my bag at the hostel and set off. It’s been two days and I’ve crammed in four museums, three churches, Palatine Hill, the Colosseum, and the Roman Forum. Plus, I’ve already eaten lots of pizza and gelato. In my six days, I want to leave no stone left unturned.
The history of this city just fascinates me. There’s over 2700 years of civilized history just outside my window, and for hundreds of years, Rome was the center of the ancient world. This city served as the capital of an empire that reached from Spain and Scotland to Eqypt and Mesopotamia. All those names you learn about in school really come to life when you see the ground they walked. I imaged Cicero speaking from the forum’s steps, Caesar’s funeral in the public square, and Constantine gazing at his triumphant arc.
A lot of the museums that I’ve visited so far have covered Rome’s classical history and religion. I know I’m a nerd, but I love learning about the pagan beliefs and practice. Their myths were so thoughtful, rituals so elaborate, and temples so grand. I wish I could devote an entire unit to Roman religions, but unfortunately I only have the time for one day in my World Religions course. Nevertheless, the things I’m learning in Rome will certainly enhance that one day.