They call Rome “The Eternal City.” While that may be overstating things a bit it is perhaps worth noting that I have more souvenir pieces of bric-a-brac from Rome that I rotate on my desk than from any other city.
There is the snow globe of Pope John Paul II, who later this year will be officially canonized as a saint. I picked that one up in some souvenir shop in a Roman back alley during Benedict XVI’s papacy. It was old stock, on sale and I thought incredibly cheesy. I mean really, a papal snow globe? I haven’t taken that one to my parliamentary office – I can see that some people might find it offensive.
I also have a small replica of a Swiss guard in traditional gear. Actually I think I have two in two different sizes, both gifts from family members who visited Rome. I won’t go into the history of how and why this Swiss military unit came to be established in Vatican City. That’s your reading assignment for the day, if you so desire.
And there’s my replica of the Colosseum, which is my favourite of the three. There’s a lot I could say about the place and the stirring of emotions that I felt on visiting. But I think I’ll save those for another time.
I’ve never gotten around to making a “bucket list” of things I want to do before I die. I figure there’s no point to it. If I were to make such a list and check everything off, then I would think I had lived too long. Alternatively, if I failed to make real inroads on the list it would be depressing. So no list, I just take life as it comes. It seems to be working out okay – things that would be on my bucket list if I had one seem to get accomplished almost by accident.
Visiting Rome was no accident though. It was something I had wanted to do for more than forty years before I finally managed it in 2009.
I’m not sure why Rome held so much appeal. Maybe I wanted to justify three years of high school Latin. And I have no idea why I decided as a 12-tear-old that I wanted to study Latin in high school. It’s not like it is a particularly useful language to know, though it does come in handy in reading inscriptions on monuments and buildings in Rome.
I can’t decide if Rome is my favourite European city. For a while I said it was, then I visited Istanbul. Not that I have visited enough places to really judge – the rest of my family prefers Berlin, but I have never been there. It always is an issue of time and money. I never seem to have enough of either.
Also, I haven’t seen all there is to see in Rome, not by a long shot. I have a mental list for next time, always assuming there is a next time. And there are places I would revisit.
Actually, now that I think of it, I think I would revisit every spot in Rome I have already been to in Rome. All are worth another trip.
Alas, there are no trips scheduled. But I need a break from Donald Trump and all the other cares of this world. So I plan to take a mental trip to Rome for the next few days and share some photos from that 2009 excursion. I hope you’ll join me.