Wednesday, March 07, 2012

When in Rome

Andrea, Anna and I went to Italy last week. A couple of months back I got a sweet deal on airline tickets from Singapore so we nabbed them to go when it was Anna’s birthday. We saw Italy, ate really good food, drank good coffee and red wine, met new friends and celebrated Anna’s birthday.

I like to run when we travel so I can say that I ran in whatever country we happen to be in. I took my running shoes to Italy but almost didn’t get to use them. Every day was filled with things we wanted to do so in the morning I would wake up and get ready to go to the next thing on the itinerary rather than stretch and get ready to run.

The last day in Rome was an exception where we really didn’t have any plans. Anna wanted to sleep in a bit and Andrea and I were planning to go get some coffee and wander the streets so it gave me a chance to wake up early and put on running clothes and stretch and run the Roman streets.

We stayed in a very central location in Rome and were able to walk and see most of the sights. When I got out of the apartment I knew where I wanted to run. I stepped out of the door and ran west on Via Tomacelli. The weather was overcast and a bit chilly. I ran past coffee bars where people were standing and drinking their espressos and cappuccinos. I have never been to a place with such consistently good coffee.

I took a turn south on Via di Porta Angelica and could see the columns in the distance that line Saint Peter’s square. I ran between the columns and stepped into the square that is in the shadow of Saint Peter’s Basilica. I slowed to a walk and started in a long circle around one of the most holy places on the earth.

There are statues of Jesus and the disciples and various figures of importance to the history of the Catholic Church. Scores of priests and nuns filed across the square towards the basilica for morning mass. It was quiet and still and a moment I cannot capture in words.

After a while I turned my back on the square and started running towards the Tiber River. I ran past Castel Saint Angelo which is an imposing structure and crossed the river to head back towards our apartment. As I ran along the river I passed the only other runner I saw on the whole run heading in the opposite direction from me. Instead of stopping at the apartment I ran past towards the Spanish Steps. When I got there I ran to the top and stopped to look at Rome from the hill above. After a short pause I ran down the steps and back to the apartment.

It was a short run but totally worth it. When in Rome run … whether the Romans do or not.


K said...

I can only dream of a run such as this! So happy to hear it from your point of view, Tommy!

Tommy said...

If anyone could appreciate a run through part of Vatican City it would be you Karen. I hope someday you will run there too.

Adrienne said...

Wow. I'm jealous and happy you got to do this at the same time! Awesome!