I am writing on a train from Rome to Naples. The sun is finally out and last evening’s rain has turned every possible inch of free space into a lush green mini-garden. Trees are on full bloom and you have little villas, their architecture possibly unchanged since the heydays of the Roman Empire, set among lush green estates. We arrived in Rome sometime mid-afternoon yesterday, on a Turkish Airlines flight that gave us a brief stopover in the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. Our first impression of Rome was formed by the time it took for the our luggage to come, which was quite a while, and coming from India, the impression wasn’t positive or negative, just a “Its not only India” (a thought that crossed our minds many times since then). Rome, as seen from the 5 Euro bus that runs from the Airport to the Roma Termini Station, is a city of ruins. Ruins abound in every nook and cranny. On top of a small hill, next to a McDonald’s. What is amazing is the ease with which these ruins live next to the standard chrome and steel office spaces that characterize most major cities today. There is a general sense of their own past, a fact that as a history buff, gets me excited. The thing that really got me going was that the police cars have ‘SPQR’ on their logos. For those of you who know what this means, you know what I am talking about.
The Beehive is a tiny little hostel about 5 minutes by walk from the Termini. It is cheap and beautiful. Exquisitely clean and with a super friendly staff, both Mr.D and I fell in love with it at first look. We shared our dorm with an old American man and three guys and a girl from Shanghai. I would like to say that I walked around a bit or snapped some photos of Rome that night, but unfortunately, I did none of those things. As soon as I saw my bed, I crashed. Mr.D however, went out for a Pizza and walked a bit in the area around the Termini.
The Beehive also contains a tiny café where we had our breakfast today morning. It is slightly expensive (the total meal cost us 18 Euros), but totally worth it. There is nothing much to say so far about Rome or Italy, I guess. Though there is one incident I would like to mention. While waiting for our train to Naples in the station, we saw an old man run across the tracks to the opposite platform. There was a sign right above him that said, “No Crossing Tracks”. Now, the imagery outside my window is of low hills, olive plantations, a solitary fort on a hilltop and a tiny little village clinging to the fort. Next update, from Napoli.