Though I’m back in Asia and eating all of the food that makes me happy, I still want to share some of the photos from my whirlwind trip through Europe this fall. With only 1 night in Rome, I had one goal in mind: making sure I saw the Colosseum at night. I visited Rome once before in the summer of 2007 and was mesmerized by the beauty of the many ruins scattered throughout the city. I remember driving past ruins near Ostia with my best friend’s family and asking what they were, only to be told that they were “not important ruins” and that we’d be heading to the more important ones shortly. I tried to explain that my country was so young, that being blasé toward crumbling stone of this magnitude seemed …. kind of insane. But with a wave of the hand and a flip of her hair, my friend’s cousin shot me down. “I will show you real ruins.” And she did.
In my return to Rome, I knew I had no time for sightseeing. I ended up meeting Alberto, who saw on my Facebook Fan page that I would be in Rome and offered to show me around. We had terrific pasta at Taverna Romana for dinner and then wandered down to the Colosseum and the Fori Imperiali. A full moon lit up the sky and made the looming amphitheater even more imposing. I still have a hard time digesting that people drive by this incredible structure on their way to work. (I also couldn’t help but imagine how the area would have fared if Pope Sixtus V got his way and transformed the then-derelict building into a wool factory to employ Rome’s prostitutes.) I suppose such disbelief is a natural byproduct of growing up in a country as young as mine.
With only 1 night to spare, I felt that I made the most of it. A white, round moon against the fall sky, crumbling Roman ruins and a stomach full of homemade pasta. Rome doesn’t get much better than that.