November 21, 2002
"When in Rome..."
After only two and a half days in Strasbourg, it was hard to believe I was already walking out the door for another overnight train ride and weekend voyage. Tuesday morning: Arrive from Prague. Wednesday: Sleep, wash clothes, go to class. Thursday night: Leave for Rome. Keeping a schedule like this makes it hard to remember what country youre in, much less what reality is like.
Rome is one of the best and most important places to visit in all of Europe, but also one of the most stressful. One could spend a month there and not run out of things to do, but the pace and atmosphere is so hectic that some travel guides recommend the city as a day trip from another, calmer location. The first time I crossed the street I learned why. Safely reaching the other side requires the faith of St. Peter himself; you hope the oncoming Roman driver will let you pass, but the perpetuation of your life is up to him.
A short walk through downtown Rome takes you to more world-class sights than most countries can offer. In our first evening in town, Ethan Blackburn and I visited the Pantheon, Trajans Column, the ruins of the Forum, and an amazing gelateria. It was like humanities class, only in person, on foot, and with really great ice cream.