The first thing I noticed just before landing at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport was the quality of the light illuminating the trees and fields surrounding it. Lustrous and radiant, I suddenly understood why I was here.
And then I thought of nothing else because I was too exhausted. I had yet to catch up completely with this new beginning of mine.
My day had started in Istanbul at 5 am in the midst of a cold blizzard that cancelled my initial flight. I had a train to catch, an induction to attend and there was no way I was leaving Istanbul tomorrow. My life here was packed.
“I need to leave today,” I told the sales agent.
I arrived in Rome just before 14:00 and then everything became easier. I clicked my passport through the scanner – no visas, no questions, no lines. I picked up my luggage, bought a ticket to Roma Termini and was one my way.
At 18:00, I boarded my train to Bari Central and reclined into my first class seat, ready for the four-hour train journey down to the southern coast. By this time the light had started to fade and my thoughts turned towards what was happening inside the train.
I noticed the women and how beautifully dressed they were. Trendy and stylish yet both combined with an understated elegance that allowed their natural beauty to shine. The men were the same. Both polite and reserved unless engaged in conversation. When they spoke, they spoke with their hands as much as with their mouth. Gestures followed words and words followed gestures as if they were painting the wordscape with their hands. This made their Italian much easier to understand and their conversations enjoyable to watch. From the way they spoke it was evident that they loved their language.
By 22:05 we were in Bari. What I remember from the train station was that it was pink and lively. The palm trees infront reached up tall to the nightsky. I phoned Anas the moment I got home and then fell asleep, unable to resist the pull anymore.
While here I intend to follow the old adage that when in Rome, do as the Roman’s do and see where it may lead.
As always, I look forward to sharing this journey with you.