Posts Tagged With: travel Europe

 
 

Seduced by Rome: Arduous passion and entrancing beauty


Andiamo, andiamo, dai!” (“Come on, come on, let´s go“) A cacophony of sounds bombards your senses. There are roars, shrieks, human yells. The strong and sweet scent of sweat jostles you out of your floating state. All around you, you can taste, hear, and feel the essence of adrenaline, urgency, and danger – intermingled with a kinda cruel notion of fun that many in these years of Roman glory and Roman power are accustomed to. This IS the Colosseo, after all, the largest ancient amphitheater ever created,  built on the blood, sweat, and tears of Roman Empire slaves between the years 72 and 80 AD.


 


But back to this frozen moment in time, in which you, yes you, are merging with history by becoming a part of it. All of you is prepared: from your dust-covered feet in those itchy sandals to your intimidatingly shiny silver armor, your wrapped leather and cloth strips over your arms and wrists, to your dark, tightly curled hair and your fiery eyes. You are fully aware of the fact that you could easily die here. But you would at least die for honor, and with bravery- what more could an intimidatingly strong and well-built gladiator like yourself want? Apart from, obviously, freedom and at least one decently sized and delicious “gelato”, ice-cream, at pretty-picturesque Piazza Navona in that world´s best gelateria that you had heard so much about…


The Eternal City cloaks itself in images of artistic divinity and endless stories of passion, compassion, and cruelty, just like the one you just caught glimpses of by morphing into a striking gladiator of days long past. Rome is haunted by tales of human trials and human errors, and by memories of fascinating individuals such as the many valiant gladiators, who were usually slaves brought in from outside of Italy but who stemmed from within the borders of the Roman Empire. These braver-than-brave humans fought for their lives and the amusement of the masses in the Colloseo, which remains one of the iconic symbols of Imperial Rome up to this day.



Through its many neighborhoods, its hidden alleyways, charming piazzas, and its small and big and holy churches, Rome quietly tells the tales of its myriad of former citizens whose legacy remains buried in the forgotten part of its history. And through its imposing architectural feats, like the Pantheon, the Castel Sant´Angelo, or the imposing St. Peter´s Basilica,  it reminds everyone blessed enough to lay eyes on Rome´s glory of its undeniable importance in world – and art history. From legendary emperors such as Marcus Aurelius to the crème de la crème of art-defining creative mavericks such as Michelangelo, Rome is like an oasis to the Spirit of those who yearn for endless inspiration and passion.


It´s a place that immediately lures you in, a place that makes you feel alive- deeply, undeniably, passionately alive! To hear the honking of the Vespas, to feel the warm sunshine on your skin, to see and observe people who seem to have emerged straight out of Aphrodite´s drawing book of immaculate beauty adorning the streets, their gazes briefly merging with yours – to lose yourself in a maze of impossible artistic magnificence, of ethereal and eternally live-giving aesthetics unsurpassed by any other city in the world.



The eternal city truly touches visitors in a way no other place can – or at least that´s what Bella Roma did for me, when I spent a month there back in 2007 to visit friends and to take part in a fantastic two-week- Italian language course in Rome. Those weeks filled my veins with so much ispirazione meravigliosa (marvellous inspiration) that I cannot help but turn to these memories whenever I need to recharge my in-awe-with-life-batteries. I recall contently meandering through Rome´s art-filled streets at night and almost being able to feel the presence of Venus aka Aphrodite incarnate in the air. The Roman counterpart to the Greek goddess Aphrodite, who symbolizes love, passion, procreation, beauty, and pleasure, seems to be palpable wherever you find yourself in Italy´s capital.



You´ll catch a glimpse of her when strolling through impossibly charming, funky and bohemian Trastevere and admire the countless trattorias and artisan shops in the neighborhood. You´ll encounter Aphrodite by exchanging glances with the impossibly stylish Roman ragazzi e ragazze, all of whom seem to ooze sensuality and a sense of composed pride, as if they were very aware of how intricately the fabric of this exceptional place is woven into the very depth of their being. 


You´ll most definitely feel touched by Aphrodite´s eternal beauty while eating yourself through heavenly dishes such as supplì, a fried rice-ball mixed with ragù and mozzarella and cooked to perfection or artichokes alla romana, braised artichokes stuffed with herbs and sprinkled with lemon. These might just be the only artichokes that know how to caress your palate and that subsequently melt in your mouth like little forbidden bites of heaven. Also, of course, try all different types of Pizza available – I promise, you´ll never want to go back to eating frozen Pizzas from your local supermarket aisle ever again!


And let me just chip in from my personal experience – I still recall the sheer mind-blowingly delicious taste of a humble Roman panini from my first visit to Rome 19 years later on! Yes, that´s how mind-boggingly exquisite Italian food in Italy is! Sigh, Sigh, Sigh. 


By the way, you´ll also feel Aphrodite´s gentle a-muse-ment when taking in the sublime art and architecture of the city – from Bernini´s statue “Apollo and Daphne” in the Galleria Borghese to Michelangelo´s Moses in the Basilicia di San Pietro in Vincoli. And those are only a few of countless priceless pieces of art in this city that literally breathes and exemplifies classical art in its many forms: from paintings and sculptures to frescoes, architecture and food-art.


Wait! Aphrodite just whispered something into my ear… she has a beautiful message and announcement for you! Yes, just you! – She wants you to know that there will be another post on Rome´s delights in the future and that there is a special treat in the works for all the ladies who would like to reclaim their inner Goddess! What about that?


A Gypsy at Heart will be offering a 6-week- Goddess Yoga + Healing arts course for women on Saturdays starting in about a month´s time (specific date to be announced)! Feel free to let me know in the comments if you would like to participate or would like to have more information on this, ladies:)


Back to you, dear reader: Have you ever been to Rome, and if so, what were your absolute highlights? As always, I would love to hear from you:) A presto, cari amici!

Categories: Amor und Eros - Love and sensual living, Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel | Tags: , , , , | 38 Comments
 
 

Storming through Switzerland with Jung, Rösti, and Mary Poppins


We are in the midst of a storming sea of crashing sounds, water thundering down, endless cascades of nature´s glorious fury surrounding us and giving us a taste of a might that´s usually forgotten.


Do you really wanna keep driving like this?!, I ask my travel companion slightly stressed out and pretty freaking flabbergasted. I need to ask twice, almost screaming my question the second time around, as he can barely hear me through the thick sound wall of relentless heavy raindrops that are crashing onto the roof of our tiny car. Were cars built for this type of storm at all? We can barely see the highway leading us from Baden-Baden in Germany to Basel in Switzerland in front of us anymore. I need some of that Swiss stoic demeanor now, presto/quickly! And a piece of Swiss chocolate wouldn´t be a bad idea, either.


Road ruminations, Basel bound


One hour later, and the black and heavy layers of thick, electric clouds are still weighing the atmosphere down. Which is not always a bad thing- a concentration of dense and heavy matter can beckon one to re-center, become still, and look into the depths of one´s own being/ soul again, to re-encounter yourself in a world that constantly tries to pull you away from your very own essence and truth.


Is that what I did? Probably not. Rather, I pressed my nose against the cool window-pane to my right, watching the ephemeral traces of rainy water-circles build and dissipate again, observing in awe as the storm washed over the huge ash trees which were dancing wild and carefree in the heavy winds.


The storm was still with us when we finally arrived in Basel for a late night stop-over. The rain was pouring down as if heaven was on water-fire, so we decided to seek shelter in a dimly lit, sweet little Swiss restaurant in the heart of the northwestern Swiss city.


Swiss cuisine and savory exhalations


My meal of choice was a traditional Swiss Rösti, a dish made of potatoes in the style of a fritter. Seriously good stuff, by the way! Originally conceived as a breakfast dish, it was commonly eaten by farmers in the canton of Bern, but is now enjoyed all over Switzerland and around the world. Sometimes breaks can really be the most important part of any journey, right ? Just as we cannot just breathe in all the time without breathing out, so is traveling best enjoyed with a generous dash of rejuvenating time-outs, adapted to your individual nature, preferences, and needs.


Along those lines, the hours we spent in Basel enjoying the local cuisine and meandering through its inviting streets afterwards were a much needed break after the previous five hours of storm-driving. A short yet warmly embraced out breath after the exciting hours on the road!


Crazy enough (in hindsight :P), we decided to venture on that same night. The storm had lost most of its ardent flavor, and the rain was glistening in wet and slippery ways on Basel´s broad roads.


Following Carl Gustav Jung´s thought-trains to Geneva


The next four hours gave me a taste of how Switzerland´s kinesthetic essence, of how the land of wild mountains, calm and composed people, and mind- fortresses of neutrality and containment felt in the dark. It felt dangerous, a bit nauseating and pretty darn dizzying, if you allow me to be frank with you. Quite the opposite to the picture-perfect daylight vistas of the picturesque Swiss mountains. Thinking back of these impressions, two quotes by Swiss genius and founder of analytical psychology Carl Gustav Jung spring to mind:


“I´d rather be whole than good”

“Wholeness is not achieved by cutting off a portion of one’s being, but by integration of the contraries.”


Jung points to wholeness as a more whole-some thing to aspire to, or rather, reconnect back to, than to try and live up to the always-out-of-reach concept of the consistently “good girl” or “good boy”, of living up to external expectations instead of connecting to our own truths. And wholeness does include our light parts, and our shadow parts – which might, ultimately, also just be disguises for more light, beckoning us to embrace all of ourselves, all of our flawed-yet-perfect humanness on our journey through life.


Oopsie, drifting of! Well, that´s what the land that marked Jung, Einstein, and Hermann Hesse, one of my favorite German-speaking writers, can do to you.


Geneva night impressions and Mary Poppins soundscapes


240 minutes of dizzying mind-roulette and dark mountain-silhouettes later, and we found ourselves in Geneva, the second-most populous city in Switzerland. The pointers of the Swiss clock at the nearby train station showed exactly 3:30 AM in the morning. The streets of central Geneva were eeriliy quiet.


Just a few dubious looking men were roaming the streets looking for solace. Or maybe something else starting with S. To sum things up, I was more than happy to reach our hostel for the night: A teeny tiny itsy-bitsy apartment on the fifth floor with a view over the rooftops of Geneva. The quaint views reminded me strongly of the chimney-sweeper-dance in beloved movie “Mary Poppins“, and so I fell into a short yet deep slumber with sounds of Chim-Chimney resounding sweetly in my mind and soul…



…Until the Swiss alarm-clock shrilled me out of my dreams in a rather strict “Common, be-a-good-grown-up-nowjust-like-the-Swiss“- manner.


We checked out of our teeny-tiny place (I knoooow, damn short stay!!) and went off to explore Geneva, known as worldwide center for diplomacy and host of the globally highest number of international organizations.


Find out why Lake Geneva seemed to have a Caribbean flavor to it, how I ended up in the middle of the French Alps with no clue as to where I was during a looong night, and which French town is a well-kept secret paradise that wows like no other in the next post 🙂


Back to you, dear reader: Have you ever been to Switzerland and if so, what were the highlights of your visit? If you haven´t been – what´s the first thing that comes to your mind when thinking of this country? Random answers are more than welcome, too 😉 As always, I would love to hear from you!


Healing tip: I officially declare this a healing and inspirational zone. Let´s focus on topics that feed the soul. From now on, I encourage lovely beings who wanna keep mentioning CV to reframe the very charged word into carrot cake 😛 Thank you!

Also: Check out this GORGEOUS meditation by Self-compassion guru Dr. Kristin Neff to increase self-compassion and compassion. A wonderful tool:)

Categories: Posts in English, Reiselust- Hungry for travel, Reisen | Tags: , , , | 44 Comments

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