[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][This is a Six part series of my travelogue to Europe]
EPISODE : 1/6
It was a holiday that a family which traveled rarely took. I scantly remember going to a family trip far away to ‘Badri Kedara’ when I was three years old. Other trips were to Tumkuru, Mysuru and Mangaluru. Traveling was never a part of our culture mostly due to financial constraints,different priorities and unavailability of South Indian vegetarian food everywhere! We a family of four decided to travel to Europe, hard core South Indian Asian vegetarian people traveling to Rome, Venice, Vienna, Barcelona and Paris for 12 days. It was a budget and not a tour package travel. The biggest problem would be food Half of our luggage was Ready to eat (instant food), Instant Rasam and Basmati rice.
After the necessary preparations for food, bookings of apartments(mainly due to non availability of vegetarian food), we booked an AIR INDIA flight to Rome (Transit in New Delhi ) from Bengaluru. The flight duration was about 12 hours including the transit time at Delhi. A childlike excitement to see all the luxuries in the flight made me feel like ‘Maharaaja’, the mascot of the Airline I traveled in.
Our in-flight entertainment had lots of kannada movies and songs as well. I was very thrilled that AIR INDIA did recognize other official languages in India, because few years back when I traveled they audaciously had declared Hindi is our national language. But flight announcements in the domestic flight from Bengaluru to Delhi only had Hindi and English. An elderly couple who only knew native language were totally clueless about the safety announcements. I had the best time watching those kannada movies back to back, great Indian food and chatting with the fellow passengers.
We reached Rome (ROMA) 7pm local time,my close friend Monika who studied with me in school is doing her MBA became our guide there. We had deliberately booked our apartment/hotels very near to the city center so that accessing public transport is easier. Do not travel in Taxis until you know the local language and also the public transport is cheap – safe. The whole of Europe had woken up from the terrorist attack in Brussels and Paris,hence every tourist spot had a tanker,hulk men (very good looking though) guarding the places. Indians do not have a problem anywhere because of our good foreign policies and not poking our nose in other’s business. There was warmth by the people welcoming us saying India a beautiful place to naming few of the important cities.
If you are a non smoker and a teetotaler,its difficult to survive. Wine is a staple just the way we drink coffee. The cigarette butts covered the footpath, metro stations because dustbins were overflowing. My friend who is in Rome,did not know the local language until she went there and has learnt it extremely well. She came down all the way from the university to visit us to the hotel. My mother had told her strictly that she should not be visiting us if it’s dark (typical Indian mother you see), but the sun doesn’t set until its 11pm. My friend very happily said “Aunty ilella esht ghantege bekadru odadbodhu, thumba safe”, the biggest lesson we learn there is being independent and not time bound.
We started our journey with world famous Colosseum, the massive stone amphitheater which has stood the test of times since AD 80. This was the largest amphitheater ever built with the capacity to hold 80,000 spectators. This was used for gladiatorial contests, mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles and dramas based on Classical Mythology. In medieval times it was used for housing, workshops, quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry and a Christian shrine. This monument has stood the earthquakes,world wars(the bullet marks, shells, grenade damages are seen) and stone thieves. The difference between the Indian monuments which are older than this is, the compounds don’t read ‘Roopa loves Arjun, heart shape symbols and idiotic caricatures’. The local authorities and the people are extremely careful on ‘others’ spoiling their precious monument. Yes, sometimes the guides to trouble us to tell us the actual story of the Great Roman Empire holding different color umbrellas and receivers with headphones.
The next stop was Arch of Constantine,built to commemorate the victory of Emperor Constantine I over Maxentius. This looked very similar to India Gate but its purpose was very different. Roman Kingdom had the concept of a Senate,a political institution to advise the kings. Interestingly the guides there project it as the first democratic institution in the world.
Roma has the best footpaths to walk. I should tell you pedestrians are most respected there. The superspeed cars,the trams, and vespas stop until the last man crosses the road. Old people do not hesitate to come out or rather not dependent on anyone to do their work and women specially are independent. I saw many lone female travelers, single mothers with their children and people who spoke absolutely no Italian carrying city maps,metro map, a back pack walking miles to know the culture and heritage of the city. My friend Monika, who came here as a complete stranger a year back as a student could take us to every single place on the map without any help and also not really thinking about the timings. Interesting that this country has given her so much of confidence, independence and new hobby of travel. She told me that she has a check list to travel and she would do it even alone. This is something we needed to learn as our travels are just so restricted to few religious places and native places!
Rome reminded me of the Vijayanagara Empire,which was ruled by great kings and it was most prosperous. But never do people there project the leftover parts of old Rome as Ruins. They are really proud of their kings,the culture and music. I really felt every second how easily we say ‘Ruins of hampe’ but why don’t we really give the nicest name to the place and feel really proud, protect it.
The place we next went to was Altare della Patria (Altar of the fatherland), is a monument built in honor of Victor Emmanuel, the first king of a unified Italy. The monument holds the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with an eternal flame, built under the statue of goddess Roma after World War I. My friend told me that the soldiers do not move even if it rains, winds or too sunny.
Well we almost walked about 10kms on Day 1,interestingly weather was with us. Though it was windy,we had the most interesting places to see. I really cherished the day 1 at Roma. The music culture at Roma was very interesting. Street musicians were really good, violins played the best music. Being a Carnatic Classical Vocalist, I wanted to really capture the music of the cities I visited in Europe. I was not disappointed as the best music was heard on the streets and not in the big avenue halls. It was very evident that music was a part of their culture,some left their lucrative jobs to pursue music as their passion. I did not see much difference in the culture of Indians and Italians. They love their children too much and would do anything above their capacity to keep their children happy. Monika did tell me that Government in Italy pays certain Euros a month to young people who could accompany the elders to do their daily activities as the children would move away from them or they do not have children…………
Those amazing Musicians at ROME!
Next Episode: Roma Day 2, the sim card story, vatican city and metro experience
6 thoughts on “ROME, ROMA, ROMAANCHANA !!!”
Rome ge hogde..Rome thorisutte…ee article..nice..
thanks sumakka 🙂
Superb Putta, wish I had the energy levels of yours and the vocabulary. Nicely penned and amazingly captured. Best.
Thanks appa! I thinks its only time factor for you,rest you have immensely!
Well written Meghana. Jannie kattidhagide
Thanks a lot Simha Uncle 🙂
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