|25 Apr 2006 @ 11:57, by ashanti|
The problem with not getting round to writing up an experience while it is still recent is that you become tangled with a million things, and tend to lose the potency of immediacy. Ah well. I'm going for stream-of-consciousness here, because if I try and structure it, I'll get bored and not finish it.
I was in Rome in February (God, FEBRUARY?????? Time is speeding up even faster now) for work. My work took me right into the Vatican - not kidding - and that was quite an experience. Which I'm not going to write about. Except to say that it is all very impressive - all the collections of things and so on. Magnificent, is the word. The obligatory tour of St Peters happened, and the sheer opulance of gold and marble and finest polished woods, the Pietra (safely behind glass), the magnificence and quality of the artwork, the sheer CONTRAST with the cheap tacky throw-away trash of 21st century culture was all very overwhelming.
The castles and old buildings everywhere, the Roman Empire Himself, right at my disposal. On the surface, ebullient and friendly Italians, great sense of style, the best expresso in the world, and still vibrant and passionate.
Figured the two highest selling products in Italy are 1) the Holy Spirit (there are more bars, coffee shops, and corner cafes selling alcohol than I have ever seen anywhere) 2) Brake-pads (the traffic is a kalaidoscopic infinite fractal of near-misses, artfully within a centrimetre or so, mobius-strip style).
Loved the energy of the place - again, a sense of an intellectual landscape that I could comfortably adapt to - a sense of tradition, history, a PAST, that while bloody, was at a higher level than what we have now. Definite remnants of a ruthless empire. Definite evidence of more than meets the eye.
I enjoyed it, would like to go back and explore more of Italy - not just Rome. But not yet. South Korea is next, in a while. Do love contrasts......