This coming weekend I will be flying to Amsterdam. The primary occasion is to attend a conference, but I planned my flights such that I would have several days of holiday in advance of those duties. As I have been reading about the city, however, my enthusiasm has been waning. I am told that it is a great city, and to some extent I can see it, but I haven’t been able to quite shake the thought of the city as one large drugged-up prostitute, and the prospect of spending eight nights there has been losing its lustre.
And so I have decided not to take my holiday there at all. I will fly to Amsterdam, and shortly thereafter take another flight to la bella paesa, to the Eternal City itself, Rome. A few days there will do my heart good, and I’ll return to Amsterdam in time for the conference. Even with this itinerary I will have two evenings and one full day free to take in the sordid spectacle, which methinks will be sufficient.
Ah, Roma, a city of marvels. This will be my third visit, and I am already beginning to compile a long mental list of things to see and do. I’ll want to revisit some favourite spots, of course: San Clemente, Santa Sabina, Santa Maria sopra minerva, Santa Maria in Trastevere. Needless to say I will be making my way to the Vatican a few times, and I hope to both visit the tomb of the late pontiff and catch a glimpse of our new one. There are a number of sites, too, that I have missed on my previous visits: San Paolo fuori le mura, Sant’Agnese fuori le mura, Santo Stefano Rotondo, the catacombs of St. Sebastian, the Villa Borghese. The riches of Rome are inexhaustible. This entire visit has about it the character of a gift, for just two days ago it was not even in my thoughts, and today it is a reality. I want to receive it as such and, mindful of the approach of Holy Week, let it be an occasion for thanksgiving.
If you would like to leave a comment with a tip or suggestion as to how best to pass my time, please do so. Now if I could only find those guidebooks…