Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Rome wasn't build in a day...

... and I am afraid it might take more than 24 hours to at least get an idea of what this city is about. So forgive my laziness during the past weeks, I just wasn't able to turn my feelings and thoughts into words.

I took some very extensive walks through the city. This created pizza-size blisters on my spoiled feet, because they are used to asphalt, not copplestone. I neglected the "2500 years and still rocking"-monuments so far and concentrated more on the churches and palazzi. I have always been very interested in the Eternal City and spent a lot of time reading books about its history (only from the 1st to the 18th century, though). When I dig my way through the hordes of Europe-travelling baseball caps, that by their inaccurate and sloppy grasping of this peacefully pulsating beauty degrade it to a mere cold historical corpse. Or when I almost trip over salesman from every imaginable country and ethical/cultural background, who are offering fake Louis Vitton, Ray Ben or Rolex or not so fake plastic crap on the streets. Or when I enter a church where I see electronic candles burning in front of one side-altar, while in front of another an indescribably horrid peace of clay resembling some Biblical scene is presented as the visible proof of the connection between church and art. When any of this happens, I sometimes get the strange feeling, that there exists an invisible second population in Rome. Prelates, coachmen, artists, beggars, courtesans, Swiss chocolate manufacturers, German writers, muggers and sbirri, who all press themselves against the walls, intimidated and confused and ask 'What have you done to our city, and why don't you just give it back to us?'

Ah well, you have to take what you get, I suppose.

The Angelicum is a nice place. Most of the students are men from the USA or sisters from Africa. Studying might actually proove to be less hard than I feared, which is good, because I want to keep this short and sweet. Being as old and grey as I am, you don't want to waste any time on your way to becoming a priest.

An interesting thing I found out the other day is, that if you do not want the sometimes fairly surly romans to give you any grief, it is best to leave a first impression that says 'I want this and that and I am willing to kick butt if I don't get it right here and right now!'. That makes most of the cab-drivers and shopkeepers think you are a kindred spirit and so they will treat you with some respect, if not kindness.

As for the Roman traffic: It is not an urban myth, it is everything you ever heard about it and more. Let me put it this way: Never in my entire life have I NOT been run over by a car so many times. It amazes me every day, that I am not up to my hip in smashed cars, pulverized motorbikes and strangely twisted corpses while I walk through Rome.

That's it for now. If you got any tips (restaurants, antique book stores, the best coffee in town etc.), let me know!


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