Do you know the story of valentine’s day? I will fill you in on a little about this day which is celebrated globally by lovers every year.
“Saint Valentine, officially Saint Valentine of Terni, is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and associated since the High Middle Ages with a tradition of courtly love.”
Truth be told there is a lot of debate about who was the real St Valentine, the holiday is after.
Here is an article with more about him: 6 Surprising Facts about St Valentine
It was no accident that I was in Rome on Valentine’s day, when it is to celebrate a roman Saint, some may call it divine. As I felt I was guided with perfect universal love my whole trip.
The day rolled out as magical as can be, heading to see the ruins of the Coliseum and also the Roman Forum, it was a fun filled day with many selfies, laughter and adventure, for me and my travel buddy Edgar.
As we set out in the morning full of excitement we caught a bus to the ancient ruins to learn and see stories of times long passed. We searched for a while looking for where to get tickets and was approached by too many people offering tours, after some time we decided to get a tour with a group which also included the Forum, which would be guided by another person. Little did we know that person was someone we needed to meet for our magical day to unfold.
We continued on our tour, seeing the ancient sights of the old times battles and soldiers. I then set a challenge for us to make things more fun, that the person with the most adventurous phot and most likes on facebook, would win and the other one paid for dinner. So we went on our way getting selfies and photos of each other. I decided I would definitely win, by climbing over the fence at the top and getting a photo of me dangling my feet off the edge, quickly before the security saw. After some thought Edgar decided to do the same, not wanting to be out done by me haha. As we continued adventuring I saw a gate and a path up to a great look out spot, so I crawled under and climbed up the side, with my friend on look out from security, as people walked passed asking him if he knew me and calling me crazy. I just laughed and he pretended he didn’t know me. As I reached the top, I needed to be careful as I realized where I thought I could stand was actually unstable and a drop of the edge to the bottom of the ruins. A few pictures on and I rushed down and slide under the gate, then we made our way to meet the group for the next adventure.
We always fell behind the group taking many selfies and laughing about many things. The next guide was an English man named Jonathan, who was delightful. He effortlessly engaged the group, shared interesting information and waited for everyone to catch up. He had a family with two little kids and a lovely wife. After our fun filled adventure, hearing about ancient things, finding out about the fall and rise of civilizations and the hidden mysteries still to be discovered. At the end of the tour, Jonathan, mentioned an awesome night church tour he was doing and we thought why not, When in Rome, and on Valentine’s day with NO plans, so we Literally ran back to the hostel, I needed to change hostels as the room I was in was booked out and I was playing it all by the seat of my pants, I checked in to the new hostel and we ran like crazy people to the meeting place of the night tour.
As we reach the meeting spot, puffed and looking around for the group, we get worried when we have no luck. After a few circles around the site, we see the group and happily run to catch them before they leave, at the big pillar near some fanciful architecture and more ruins of Rome. Jonathan was happy to see us. We make our way to the first church, and I feel reminded of being on a school excursion, me and Edgar giggle away. On the way, there is roads being blocked off by police, we had noticed this on the streets leading towards our meeting location but did not know why. We were informed there was a protest to be had and there was police everywhere and people watching, there was colourful smoke and we all watched as passing on our way to the first stop. We sneak past and go into the church; it was very dark inside, with candles. Jonathan leads us all to different rooms and we hear about the history of this old and sacred place. Edgar and I get a photo in a hole in the ground and make our way around in a bit of an awe hearing about the way this building came to be. I could sense a mystery in the air and everyone whispered in the group, as a sign of respect. We limited our photos as to not disturb any of the church attendees or priests.
At one of the locations we heard about St Peter and where he was held captive before he was killed. We got to stand in one of the rooms he was held as a prisoner. On our way we got to see one of the places that Michelangelo was buried, apparently his body moved many times as to keep secret the real location. I found this quite peculiar. As our mission to discover more churches and secrets of Rome continues, we are told about the water fountains and the underground ruins that are still being found, that after the area became re occupied and civilization grew, the land was built on over the top of the ruins. Jonathan told us about a friend of his that rented a place under one of the theatre arenas, which is now a cinema in commemoration, in this rented room, there was a wall that had begun to fall and behind it was ancient ruins. It was an interesting story; apparently it devalued the rent haha, for falling apart even though it was special and cool. Jonathan said his friend liked using it to impress girls he took home haha.
At the end of our adventure we were taken to an area that all the locals where, to see some fountains and to get a taste of some of the best food and wine in Rome, and probably Italy. What a perfect way to end this day. Edgar and I got friendly with Johnathan and a family from the states and we decided to all have dinner at Jonathan’s favourite place. Everyone thought me and Edgar were a couple haha, as we got along so well and knew each other’s stories, from all the time we had spent together. We all ordered amazing food and had the best wine, I hadn’t drank in over twelve months as I had given it up for spiritual growth and well-being, but when in Rome, and on valentine’s day, I made an exception. I was sharing about my amazing journey so far and the lovely couple asked me if my mum was worried about me travelling alone, I commenced to tell them of her passing and my adventures from a soul calling and they were very impressed by my bravery. I told the family I would come visit them in America soon and after we all finished our food and wine and amazing chats, Anthony the father of the family paid for me and Edgars food and wine, I nearly cried, I was so grateful. More angels that showed up on my trip, the girls giggled as me and Edgar graciously thanked them and they said they want to be at our Wedding, me and Edgar cracked up laughing and smiled at each other.
We all hugged and parted ways and Edgar and I walked back to the dorm. He went to Pompeii the following day and I did my own thing. I felt a little said, missing his laughter and jokes and we caught up that night for drinks to say good bye and to hang out with some of the people at the hostel we made friends with. I met the amazingly wise young American girl here. It was her 21st and she had come from her studies in Amsterdam to Rome for her birthday. We partied the night away and Edgar paid for everyone’s drinks. I got to dance like I hadn’t in such a long time it was amazing.
To be continued…