This #ThrowbackThursday I’m having an Erasmus Flashback!…
We are only a few weeks into the semester but it is starting to feel like I’ve been here for months. You know this feeling of time-wrapping when so many new things are happening that time seems to stretch like a happy lazy cat? Because it is dense with events, not because you are bored and the days are dragging…
So here we are with the other Erasmus students: taking our first Italian lessons and enjoying the beauty of the language and the unfortunate equivalents of its words in other languages. Like curva (curve, turn), which makes the entire Polish-Bulgarian section of the room go out of control when giving directions…
Anyway. We are like restless children, trapped in a room, while the playground is waiting for us outside…
Somebody passes an idea around: let’s go to Rome! Not tomorrow, not next week, not sometime…Now! Right after classes: run to catch the train, travel for a few hours (between 4 and 6 depending on the price of the ticket), arrive at the eternal city and explore it all night long! Crazy idea. Of course we are doing it.
The distance of 250km (between Macerata and Rome) should take about 3 hours by car and slightly more with the fastest trains, but even with the student discount it is more affordable to opt for a slower train. Anyway, we have tons of things to talk, joke and laugh about. And there is also some white wine and a special dance program with Michael Jackson impersonations by our very own Mr. Cengiz Kaan (yup, that’s his name! :)).
We arrive in Rome in the evening and it is true: you never visit the same city twice. The people with you, the mood their bring in, the improvisation born out of the interaction of a several teens and a few twenty-somethings show me the city in a completely new light compared to the last time I was here.
I remember it as a vast, endless place of curiosities, amazing architecture and sculptures and it doesn’t fail to make me fall in love with it again. Only this time it feels like it is much smaller: we literally walk around it all night and effortlessly manage to see many of its trademark places like:
Fontana delle Naiadi in Piazza della Repubblica,
which looks like a real gem at night
The majestic Fontana di Trevi
We see a couple which hops into the water to recreate the trademark scene from one of my all time favourite movies La dolce vita…
And soon after that we see the local police directly recreating a famous real life scene called “arrest for trespassing a cultural landmark”.
We don’t have any popcorn, but the quarrel with the police takes a while and even bystanders are included.
So we decide to just stick to throwing a coin for luck and go on with the tour around the city to…
Piazza di Spagna and the Spanish steps
One of my favourite sculpots of all time Gianlorenzo Bernini lived and died in one of the buildings on Piazza di Spagna. in fact the trademark fountain in the middle of the piazza is a work of Gianlorenzo’s father: Pietro Bernini.
The square is named after the Spanish Embassy to the Holy See situated there and the beauty of the steps attracts photographers, tourists and movie crews from over the world. You can see the Spanish steps in movie classics like Roman Holiday with the lovely Audrey Hepburn or modern films like Woody Allen’s To Rome With Love.
Altare della Patria
Here is the monument of Vittorio Emanuele II: the first king of unified Italy (yes. the second one is the first king, Vittorio Emanuele I was “only” Duke of Savoy and King of Sardinia). The blurry figures which you will notice if you look with devoted attention at the bottom left are part of our MidnightTrainToRome crew.
For obvious reasons you cannot see many of the essential things in Rome at night: its amazing museums and churches are closed, but the Roman ruins don’t have to be entered in a long tourist line to sense the immense power and beauty of this city. Even touching upon its surface can be a glorious experience.
(It also has its glorious pickpockets, especially near Piazza della Repubblica, so make sure your appreciation of art doesn’t leave you depreciated of other valuables).
So I leave the photos to tell you the rest of the story. We literally walked around all night, took are train and were back to lectures by next morning.
Hard day’s night. One of the best ever.