Skip to main content

The not so perfect perfection: all roads lead to Rome

The last time I wrote something I was pondering on how I need movement in my life. "The northern wind" as I call it. When the northern wind blows through my soul, I am itching terribly from the inside to get on a plane. I even feel relief from the itch just getting closer to the airport. Yes, it's a bit funny, maybe a bit sad, that I have this. Never mind. Doesn't change the fact that the fact IS that I have this escapist, restless thing, which has become ME more and more the older I get.

So whenever I drive to the airport (which you tend to do a lot in the season when you work with tourists) or even getting close to that area, I feel the usual excitement inside me. A relief; there is something else out there, and there is so much more than just THIS.

The trip after last time in Formentera went to Rome. 5-7 of July, to be precise. And it was perfectly imperfect- just like this picture. This picture is just so Rome. It doesn't get much more Rome. But then there's that ugly pole right in front of the cute car, making the picture not so perfect. 

Well, that was my stay in Rome in a nutshell.
The day before I left, I came down with a very high fever. Sore throat, and high fever. That didn't stop me from taking my youngest son and getting on a plane, though. 
I arrived in Fiumicino airport where the AC was blasting, and my teeth were clattering from fever chills. 

I was weak, exhausted, had this glazed fever look in my eyes. I took a taxi to Trastevere, where I had booked a very nice looking room, and as I got closer, the driver told me that he cannot reach the hotel, as now the streets were so narrow. 
I had to drag a pram, a baby, a suitcase and more a few blocks, with soaring fever, until I found the anonymous door, with just a small golden sign with the name of the hotel. 

And as the hotel door opened, I looked up, and saw a set of stone stairs, leading up, up and up. I then almost started crying with exhaustion and despair; hearing a sweet voice from very far upstairs telling me to come on in, come on up. Yeah right. 

She eventually came clattering down on her sky-high Italian heels, and grabbed my child, saying she has got two, not to worry. She handled baby as I took three turns up and down for the rest and then ended up in my little heaven of the next 48 hours. 

I came to Rome with the purpose of getting lost in the beauty. I don't know if the Roman people would agree; but I've watched "The Great Beauty" about 11 times, and each time, I see new pieces of poetry depicted in this amazing movie.

I came to Rome for 48 hours to refresh my eyes and my senses, and wash them with beauty, history, culture. And more beauty. 
I decided to stay in Trastevere, far away from commercial areas and shops, and just have little narrow streets, bars, restaurants and piazzas around me. 

And with the high fever that I had, I was unable to go very far. This as a blessing. I took in the beauty more intensely though the fever, and my son seemed to tune into the more relaxed and restful situation. He slept two siestas a day in our beautiful room, and slept like an angel all night long. (He NEVER does that at home!)

We had ice-cream three times a day. Ice-cream is the best cure for a sore throat, right?

We went for lunch and Noy enjoyed the spaghetti and the foccacia and the pizza and the pannacotta with his whole being. 

In my fever-haze I had forgotten both charger for my phone and for my computer. I had to get one of them; I went searching for a cab the first evening. The lady driver was very helpful, she googled open shops for me and looked in maps. It was already late, about 8 pm, and my mistake being that I've lived in Spain for too long, where everything stays open so late, didn't realise that the Apple shop or any phone shops would be closed already. 
But she took me to Via del Corso, and the ride there was something I'll never forget. 
I mean, I've been to Rome before, but let me make a confession. 
After becoming a mother, I am more able to SEE. I SEE things around me differently; before I became a mother, I was BUSY with MYSELF that it all seemed like a movie with me in the lead role and all things, people and places around me were like... second. Not as important as ME in the picture of them or the place I was in. 
So that ride, in the exact hour of the sunset, also called "the golden hour" by photographers, I sat in the back of a taxi with a sweet lady driver, holding my sweet sweet extra-sweet son of 1 year in my lap, with my window open, and Rome flying by me in my fever haze. 
It was poetry. POETRY.
Such beauty. 
The light, the river, the buildings, the history... It was like a dream, those moments in that taxi. Fragments of buildings fallen apart and preserved in the imperfect perfect state; majestic pieces balancing together making works of art. 

I got my charger and returned to a take away dinner in Trastevere, swallowing my food with such excruciating pain. 

The night was spent with feverish dreams of googling doctors names in Rome.
So that's what I did the next morning. 
It was so easy; there was a tourist clinic about 500 metres from my wonderful Room. 
The doctor talked to me in Italian and said many things that I did not understand. 
Antibiotics; yes please, thank you signor, I am so grateful, and don't you want me to pay? "No signorina, we don't take money from EU-members". Poor Brits, I thought, to miss out on such sweet human deals. 

So much time spent in that beautiful room, with the windows open and the sounds of the street floating in like tunes on an invisible golden string. The white curtains flowing in the wind, dancing slowly together with the church bells that ring every half hour. 

Antibiotics working their magic fast through my pain-filled throat, combing the fever away and washing it down the drain of the hot, comforting shower, while my son looks up at the drops falling on his little sweet face, smiling his huge, beautiful smile that melts my heart every time. 

From the point of healing, just 30 minutes after exiting the Tourist Clinic in Trastevere, it all became poetry. The imperfect poetry I came to look for; the room with a view, the beauty. The beauty. 

That evening, returning back in time, a point of change. Just a few hours, to remember something, something about me, about how things were. 

A fleeting moment of connection, a specific point in time of recognition.
Reconnection, with that, from the past, to this, in the present. 

A change. A huge change, and a burst of a bubble, an opening, unlocking a box that had been stowed away in my heart's closet for years. 

The next morning; a new me emerging. 
Important change came, there, in Rome, during that golden light fever-bubble, like a trip back through the poetry of time into the beautiful present of the Italian skill of living and enjoying life. 

Popular posts from this blog

Linda meets a "real" sadhu on the banks of the Ganges

So it's early morning, before sunrise, in Varanasi. i'm staying at the Yogi lodge in goudalia, the old, smelly, labyrinth of Varanasi old city. my travel companion, Katja, is sleeping sweetly on her thin, stained mattress, bundled up with a trillion dusty blankets.
i'm hunting for a real Aghori baba.
I did my dissertation at uni about the Pashupatas- the really nasty, crazy renunciates, who follow Shiva. they eat dead flesh, they live at the burial grounds, they smear their bodies with ashes from the funeral pyre. they drink water from a human skull, and they behave in different funny, weird ways, to be like Shiva. they scare people and they give respect.
apparently, these sadhus only exist today in Nepal, in the Pasupatinath.
but, I had read and heard, that another, related tribe of sadhus, called "Aghoris", still could be found in Varanasi, close to the burning ghat, where human bodies were burning day and night.

So I was walking, early that morning, toward…

the "fake" aghori baba turns out to be "real"

ok. I wrote this blog a few years ago. the moment was one of December 2008- so a while back.
I was up early, sunrise, just me and the monkeys and the pilgrims and the babas and the chai-wallas...and i guess yeah, it's normal to be up at sunrise in Varanasi, despite the fog, despite the cold- or maybe precisely BECAUSE of these things. No point staying in bed. The monkeys wake us up anyway and it's goddamn freezing, so let's get a warm, energizing chai, and let's pray that we get out of this suffering called life- where it's cold, foggy, and the annoying monkeys steal our bananas.

So I was on the lookout for this type of dude. I had written my dissertation at uni (SOAS, amazing SOAS!) about these kind of babas, admittedly not existent anymore in India, but in Nepal, in the Pashupatinath, yes. I had been told by my Hinduism professor that yes, some of them did still exist in Benares, eating dead flesh, and doing their weird laughing. I love it! How weird and creepy…

getting drunk on absinthe in Bar Marsella

Also called the Green Fairy, from the French- La Fee Verte. Others called it the Green Goddess or the Green Muse.
But the Green Fairy isn't just another name for absinthe; it is a methaphor for artistic transformation and enlightenment. It opens up the mind to a freer state, a place where exploration of poetical pathways and new inspirational ideas can grow wildly. To the Parisian bohemians of late the 1800's, the Green Fairy was a guide into their artistic world, where new, groundbreaking art was created. Absinthe was to the artists of the time what smoking weed was for the hippies in the 60's; their "revolutionairy guide" and what they believed was the substance that "opened their minds".
Artists, poets and writers reached for a glass of the Green Fairy for inspiration to their creative works and during "the green hour", in the late afternoon, many glasses were consumed in Parisian bars and cafes- but not just that, apparently, s…

I finally went on that life-changing trip

I first came to Puglia in 2008, I think it must have been early October. I'd had an awesome time in Tuscany and Rome and Calabria and was arriving there by train, filled to the max with beautiful experiences and electric connections, not really expecting much else than just a half-boring yoga teacher training that I had signed up for, not really knowing what else to do with my life after finishing my degree in Indian Philosophy at SOAS, University of London. 

As the train cut through Basilicata and into Puglia, the amount of olive trees that swooshed past started to be shocking. After a while, I realised that it just wasn't going to end. Endless amount of them, large, proud, thick. Planted in perfect rows, with no sigh of the end, or the horizon. 

My eyes widened as I started to think I was hallucinating. Was I going insane?
It went on for hours. Endless olive trees. I felt as if there was a movie on repeat outside of the train window. 

As the train finally stopped in Bari, I wait…