As a traveller (not a tourist), I enjoy immersing myself in the local culture rather than sticking to the comforting English menus and “home-brewed” beers.
For that reason many thought that I would not enjoy Rome for its touristy nature. To be fair, so is tky.
I love Rome.
It’s an open air museum. It’s the center of modern civilization. It’s a city of love.
Anybody who knows me knows that I’m not big on relationships, love, or anything mushy like that. You might also know how I feel about falling in love when traveling. (Hint: it happens faster, harder, and deeper).
Whether you’ve known them for 12 hours or 12 years, you can definitely tell when you have a connection with somebody. Mine was the former.
I’m not saying that I’m in love with him, but Rome definitely lends itself to the possibility.
To ride on the back of a motorcycle and be taken to hidden gems across the city. Parks (that are open only during the full moon) overlooking the city at night. Peepholes that frame St. Peter’s Basilica. History lessons at the Roman Forum. Seeing the Colosseum open up in front of you. 0 mile markets and fruits you’ve never tasted before.
When you are standing at the center of modern civilization with another human, you kind of feel a connection. The Roman Forum is where the entire Roman Empire was ruled from. They were far ahead of their time being a relatively inclusive empire, giving other nationalities citizenship. The foundation of modern government and society lay in front of me, and it made me feel insignificant in the most significant way.
If that wasn’t enough for my little brain to handle on my first night, I watched as the Colosseum opened up in front of me. Completely unaware that we were heading there, it was mind-blowing. Like, literally forgot-to-hold-onto-him-on-the-bike mind-blowing.
The history, the magnitude, the beauty, and the resilience all add up to why the Colosseum must have been named one of the 7 Wonders. It’s not necessarily the most intricate structure I’ve seen, however to imagine that it was built 2000 years ago puts things into perspective. Nowadays if we tried to build something like that it would take months, if not years, even with modern technology.
I’m no architect, but I imagine that there are three basic steps to building something: imagination, engineering, and execution. The Romans needed to have creative people in the capitol at the right time to even imagine an infrastructure that contains the technology that the Colosseum has. The thing has ascending floors, underground walkways, and a means to flood the bottom to have naval battles. That’s some high tech shit for the first century. It’s one thing to have an idea of having all this cool high-tech shit, but then they had people who could engineer it. Furthermore, the number of slaves needed to flawlessly construct a monument that has stood through wars and natural disasters for over 2000 years is pretty insane. The blood, sweat, and lives that have gone into the making it (and then the bloodshed once it was constructed and essentially used to watch people fight each other/animals).
It’s unfair for my first experience of Rome to be with a beautiful pilot, at night, on a bike, like a movie. Nothing can really compare to seeing one of the 7 Wonders of the World at night.