It’s been tough to resume the travel tales because some thoughts won’t leave me alone. We spent the last few days of our good Italian fortnight in Rome and I am confused. Ever since the first visit, Rome was the one for me. Not the one and only but the one I imagined I’d have the hardest time to part with. The one I expected I’d always return to being happy.
I always thought if the opportunity arose I would have no problem spending the rest of my life exploring Rome. Wandering the side streets, admiring the details of the countless historical buildings, every now and then popping into one of the 900 churches to have a quiet moment in the serene coolness marvelling a piece or two of the immeasurable art treasures, feeling calm and contented.
It was exactly two years since our latest visit and the changes we found were not for the better. It seemed the streets were even more crowded, even more unclean than before. The signs of the unbearable inequality still prevailing on this planet were even more clearly visible than two years ago. I found it hard to envision the Rome of my dreams in the Rome of today and it made my heart sink.
The choices made in the past centuries, millennia even, have lead us to this point where we no longer bear to have our eyes on the street level but would rather turn them up to the rooftops to avoid seeing the world we have created.
Maybe it is that I am turning old and just cannot stand excessive crowds, mindless mess and outrageous inequality any longer. There must be thousands, millions of people like me who believe that the course of the ship we call planet Earth must be radically changed. We must not take it any longer. Ban the tax havens. Demand sustainable and responsible actions. Boycott those who do not deliver. And pray it will not be the ones who have nothing that will be the first ones to rise to the barricades.
The photos are taken from Gianicolo, the Janiculum hill west of the Tiber, down to the centre of the Eternal City. This is one of the places I always drag him to in Rome, preferably just before sunset. The views certainly are ten times worth the trouble of climbing the hill.