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mussolini's window and the philosophers' metro stop

Happy Thursday, and welcome back to your shelter-in-home virtual travel adventure! As your tour guide, it is my duty and honor to keep your adventure as safe as can be, so please, keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and maintain a safe distance of 6 ft. from your fellow travelers (especially if your current fellow traveler is a loved one who farts a lot - here's lookin' at you, Quigs). Obviously I’m not a tour guide in real life, but hey, let’s keep this shelter-in-home fun, eh? If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post, “pizza in roma,” you can do so by clicking here to catch up (it’s a quick read about my arrival to Rome!). So let’s get started and pick up where we left off!

Once I’d showered and gotten my room setup at my AirBnB, I ventured back out to the bus stop to catch my bus back to the train to Rome. I learned very quickly that although the bus stop times are listed online, they are more of a loose guideline than, say, the train-every-7-minutes type of efficiency I experienced while in Moscow (yet another story for another time). I ended up hanging out at the bus stop for another 30 minutes before the bus came, but luckily, the weather in Rome was absolutely beautiful that day. When the bus arrived, I found a seat and rode the 15 minutes to the train station. I pulled my pass out to swipe at the metro, hopped on and found a seat, and rode the multiple transfers and stops until I finally made it back to the city. Although I’m not one to usually stay right in the heart of everything, I admit that this was a lot of extra travel/transfers than I’d usually do, but given the choice, I’d do the same thing all over again because I got to see parts of the city and outskirts of the city that you wouldn’t usually get to experience if you’d stayed in the heart of the city center. One of my first times taking all the public transportation I needed to take to get back to my AirBnB, I ended up getting off at a stop instead of taking the correct staircase to transfer and got to experience some really amazing street art graffiti, as well as an open outdoor Italian market. A lot of mistakes end up being pretty happy accidents for me.

Once I made it back to the city, I walked around for a little bit on my own since I had some time to kill, and then I made my way over to the meeting spot for my walking tour. One of the difficult things about writing these blogs without my travel journal (it got left behind in the hurry of me flying to LA with just a week’s worth of clothing haha) is that I can’t currently remember my Dark Rome tour guide’s name, but I do remember her vividly. She was wearing the most awesome bright yellow jacket and colorful scarf, and we bonded right from the get-go about the warm feelings one can get from wearing bright, happy colors.

I inserted the audio guide headphones into my ear and proceeded on a journey through history along the streets of Rome. The feeling I had while taking the tour is one that I cannot easily put into words. As our tour guide was giving an oral presentation of the various buildings and history of the city, so many facts flooded back into my brain from my AP European History class at The Hill School with Reif and my world history class with Drowne, and many of the key players I studied in Russian history at Villanova with Boris. I saw the window where Mussolini would address crowds, the birthday cake building that is actually a large point of contention with a lot of Romans, and so many ruins of Roman buildings of the past.

One of my favorite anecdotes from the tour was when our guide pointed out a fenced off area and told us, “this was actually supposed to be a new metro stop, but when the construction workers started to dig, they found a forum where ancient philosophers used to meet.” When I heard this fact, my heart skipped a beat. It was already so much to take in - standing by the window where Mussolini addressed citizens of Rome, walking underneath the same Umbrella Pines where Julius Caesar rode, standing in the ruins of ancient Roman Forums - that I almost couldn’t process just how incredible it was to be looking at a place where some of the most influential Roman philosophers used to meet to discuss life and all its various meanings. As a nerd who really loves history and philosophy (and life, duh), I thought this was truly the icing on the cake…. and then I got to do a night tour of the Colosseum, which you can read all about in tomorrow’s post!

Have you ever experienced that “I need to pinch myself to make sure this is real” type of moment? Like there are so many incredible things coming at you all at once that you just have to take a moment to check in with yourself and make sure it’s all really real, especially when nature is giving you one of the most beautiful sunset skies you've ever seen? If you’ve had a similar experience, I’d truly love to know! Thank you so much for reading, and, as always, if you have any pressing questions or if you want to discuss something further with me, please subscribe in the e-mail submission box below, follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so grateful you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really great, fun-to-read questions and feedback from a community all over the world. Especially during this time of uncertainty and pandemic, it's important to find your tribe and surround yourself with good; we're all in this together. I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU!



P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):

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