Peregrination Vignettes

Walking around Rome

Despite it being September, Rome was hot. And humid. Not that I had a good reason to expect Rome to be anything other than hot and humid. I managed to get sun-burned my first day. Also unexpected, as I usually don’t get burned. After a few days, I discovered a great escape from the heat – churches! I’m not much for religion, but the churches in Rome are filled with art – sculptures, stained glass, paintings, gold leaf, and explosions of color. Much of it didn’t even seem all that Christian. Certainly not pushing Christianity like churches in some other countries tend to do. Moses could be anybody. What’s a few angels? Very few Jesus on the Cross, and no Jesus dying after being removed from the Cross stuff.

Most churches were open to visitors. Many had pews, vast space, and best of all – they were cool! One could walk in, sit down, and rest in blissful relief from the heat. Sip some water (discreetly) or eat a snack (even more discreetly), study one’s map and tourist notes. Or just breathe. One could meditate. One could feel comfortable quietly mentally practicing any religion in these spaces. Not sure you could get away with napping unless you are good at doing it sitting up. The pews weren’t really designed for laying down or stretching out and not sure if you’d be let stay or not. Most churches were open during the day, but they usually had set hours and limits.

When I planned my trip to Rome, I really had not planned to visit churches, other than the famed St. Peter’s Basilica (which is best visited when it opens in the morning – beat the crowds, and the sun shining in the big upper level windows. Not even a line for the dome tour!) And the Pantheon (which I did not know had been converted to a church.)  After peeking into a few churches, I decided to pursue a few more.  I actually felt compelled to go see Peter’s chains and Moses with his horns.  I discovered that visiting churches was a great way to rest and cool off.

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