So it’s just another typical Palm Sunday in Rome. You know,
the usual docket: breakfast at the hostel with people from all over
the world, sunbathing in the ruins of a former world superpower,
gelato ice cream, Palm Sunday service at St. Peter’s Basilica,
Pope, etc. Nothing to write home about, right?
I’ll be honest, we made it to St. Peter’s a smidge too
late to see the Pope, but the atmosphere that he left in the wake
of his appearance was still electrifying. Olive branches were sprinkled
everywhere, and I could hear at least three different languages
being spoken at any given time. Talk about a feeling humbled by
your own smallness.
It hasn’t all been sunshine and gelato though. Apparently
we have a knack for finding strikes, rallies, and political demonstrations.
In Florence, a strike of the public sector workers left all of the
museums closed, and in Rome, we stumbled across a bit of a communist
party rally. Yes, common sense said, “Perhaps
you should not wander through the middle of a mob surrounded by
thousands of police in riot gear.” The fact that this
was the first time since arriving in Rome that there were no tourists
to be seen should have been another tip off, but still, it’s
not everyday that you find yourself in the throes of a communist
rally! No, Mom and Dad, this is not a reflection on my political
views, just my own inane curiosity.
There’s just something about crowd mentality that begs for
your attention whether it’s a powerful religious service or
a heated political rally. Even a disinterested spectator can’t
help but feel the raw emotion that such a crowd can breed. In both
cases, the effect is almost chillingly beautiful. So to actually
experience two such events within 24 hours—I feel a travel