I’ve written on this blog a few times about my visit to Rome two years ago. But my very first encounter with Rome actually took place three years before that in a most unexpected way.
Back then, I was living in England as a student, and I was on my way back home from Catania, Sicily after attending a three-week graduate summer school program. My flight was in the late evening. After the long day of walking around the city, I was ready to rest for a few hours on the plane.
There were not many passengers on that flight. Most of them were speaking in English, and they were all very merry, showing what a good summer time they had spent in Sicily. I got on board following a group of happily drunk gentlemen, and seated myself next to a window. Many seats were empty, and I was the only one in the row.
The flight took off on time, and I gazed at the night view of Catania intently as Mt. Etna slowly moved out of my sight. When all the city lights disappeared and there was only the darkness of the sea, I sat back, and doze off.
Some time passed, and I heard an announcement from the cockpit. Usually, we don’t hear many personal messages from the pilots, but tonight, even the pilots seemed to be in a good mood.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are now flying over the city of Rome.”
I opened my eyes, and without much thought, I looked out of the window.
There, right below my eyes spread the coastline of Rome, lit up by many orange lights. The view was so majestic that I forgot to breathe for a moment.
From there, we steered away from the coastline and flew over France heading for London Gatwick Airport. There was no more interesting view from the window, and I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.
But I couldn’t really sleep. The view of the orange coastline of Rome was so vivid in my eyes that I kept thinking about it.