First Day in Rome

February 21, 2024 

Our first day in Rome was preceded by a 4-hour flight to Toronto and then a 9-hour flight to Rome. Leaving Denver at 11am Monday we arrived in Rome at 10am Tuesday. Without any sleep, we attempted to navigate our way out of the huge airport to get to the train station for a 30-minute ride to Rome proper. We still couldn’t check in to our place until 3pm so we came up with a plan to buy train tickets and a subway pass, then to walk to a luggage drop-off business. It was actually a pretty stressful day. There were credit cards that didn’t work at certain places and others that did. We wanted to see a few things, but we were hit square in the face with the poverty of a big city as many people were begging for money, some even violently so. Trying to find places for Sandi to eat non-gluten food became a challenge and at about 1:30pm we hit a brick wall. We were running on very little food and at this point, we had already been awake for over 24 hours. Sandi encouraged me to rest a little and see if we could keep going. After a tiny bite of food and lots of water, we jumped back on the subway and headed for the Pantheon. 

After a 3/4 mile walk from our subway stop, we were able to get right in. I think our spirits immediately felt refreshed at the awe of this place that once housed a pagan tribute to all the false idols of the Roman state religion turned into a beautiful place of worship to the One true God. The amazing frescos of people from the Bible with tributes to some of the early church fathers adorned every wall. The famous Renaissance artist Raffael is buried there and you can see his tomb. I looked up and I could see the empty alcoves that encircled the upper walls of the Pantheon, right before its huge dome started, and I thought maybe those were the removed pagan idols that once looked down on and cast their merciless stare at their worshippers, now removed to reveal a new church that teaches that all men are equal under God’s eyes.

At the top of the dome, there is a round opening where you can see the sky. Sandi asked me before we got to Rome, “What happens in the Pantheon when it rains?”. Well, as we walked toward the center of the building we felt a fine mist of water, quickly turning into larger drops as the storm outside began to brew. Soon, there were clashes of thunder reverberating through the temple. As if God were speaking to us through as He said in Jeremiah 31:25, “ I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”

We finally made it back to our place by 5pm to check in, and after 29 straight hours and 12,000 steps, we crashed into bed.



Trevi Fountain on our way to the Pantheon

The Pantheon


The “hole”

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