Commuting Like the Romans

Roman subway crowds

When in Rome for a work meeting, one commutes to the office like a Roman. On a random Wednesday in September, I did just that – commuted like a Roman – and was shocked by the similarities and uniqueness of a Roman commute.

First, most Romans live in apartment buildings. So you’ll wipe the sleep from your eyes as you navigate winding stairwells down to the street. Then you’ll walk to the nearest bus stop, maybe a block or two away from your apartment building.

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Hitting My Hippodrome Stride

My morning run route

Back in Roman times, the Piazza Navona was not a piazza, it was a hippodrome, a chariot racecourse where Rome’s fastest drivers competed for fame and glory in front of cheering crowds.

Two-thousand years of history later, I am competing with myself as I run the very same course as those chariot drivers. I have not their horses, crowds, or any real glory. Just the clear morning air and the joy of running seven laps around history:

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Water Fountain Wealth in Rome

Water from death

Image that you lived in Roman times. When clean, fresh water was a rarity in most cities of the world, cholera was a constant risk and dysentery was the norm. Now image coming to Rome where every city block had a fountain that ran all day and all night, gurgling with clear mountain water drinkable from the tap.

This water wealth was one of the defining characteristics of Rome, a stunning accomplishment before the advent of indoor plumbing or even urban sewers. And when the Goths broke the aqueducts that brought this water from afar, the city crumbled and fell into a thousand year disuse.

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Trevi Fountain’s Tourist Traffic Jams

Too many tourists!

The Trevi Fountain is a famous landmark in Rome mainly due to a myth that says coins thrown in the fountain will ensure you return to Rome. While I can only confirm that means you threw your money in a fountain, I can predict that no matter if you return or not, there will be crowds at the Trevi Fountain.

Amy and I stayed at a hotel just around the corner of the fountain, and no matter the time, day or night, the Trevi Fountain was crowded. And not just a few tourists crowded, but mobbed by people watching the waterspouts. Check out the Trevi Fountain scene yourself:

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Congratulations Sean and Tara!

The wedded couple happiness

Hello everyone, a moment of your time, please, for this toast to Sean and Tara.

For those that may not know, I am Sean’s cousin, Wayan. Sean’s American cousin. And to the many who have asked me this Friday night before his wedding, yes, Sean has American relatives. In fact, here is a dirty little secret:

Sean is half American. I would suggest his better half. Certainly, like me, his better looking half.

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