As Easter approaches, it’s not a bad time to think about our famous city to the west, Rome. They say all roads lead to Rome, and so did mine.. on a return flight from Marseilles, I flew into Rome (because Zadar was booked) and spent a short but meaningful day sightseeing. The Vatican tour was fascinating, and as a tour guide myself, I enjoyed it thoroughly. Let’s consider the photo above, which continues to impress me. Two worlds – a world within a world. But what does it mean? It can be interpreted in so many ways. A few possibilities – the independent Vatican government within the city of Rome (a tiny world hidden within a larger one). The Catholic church within the world at large. I am sure there are many other possibilities. My favorite one is the human being within society.
The microcosm (individual) affects the macrocosm (society) to the extent that he / she develops themselves.
A single individual has the power to affect his / her environment greatly. Consider the following quote:
“A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation, and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.” – Daisaku Ikeda
The quote and the image fit well together, since revolution is a circular motion, like the earth rotating on its axis.
Next mystical object in the Vatican is this pine cone sculpture. Graced by peacocks, it was made by the ancient Greeks and adopted by the Vatican and now on display.
What does it mean? That the Greeks adore pine trees?
No… remember the red dot many Indian women wear on their foreheads? It is the symbol for the third eye, or perineal gland which – surprise, surprise, resembles a pine cone. It exists within the human body, and is filled with water. This is what the Ancient Greeks are glorifying – the human ability to follow one’s intuition.
Back to the “all roads” comment. Like I said, I had a layover back from another destination, and took the city bus to my hostel. From there I was fully impressed by the underground subway.. Two euros and 180 minutes you can travel wherever your heart desires. In my 24 hours there, I spent 10 euros and did quite a bit of travelling.
Getting out of Dodge was no big deal either. With two airports, there are several options, but I chose a pre-paid TrenItalia ticket for 9€ booked online. The train was virtually empty, and no one asked to see my ticket either (amazing)… It took me on a scenic route across the Italian boot to the other coastline – Ancona – where I borded an overnight ferry for Split. The ferries are great in the summer – running at least once a day, and cheap (20€)- but offseason is another story. The last time I checked, ferries ran two or three days a week via SNAV or Jadrolinija from Ancona to either SPLIT or Zadar. The SNAV ferry has live entertainment – and quite a few people got busy and cut the rug until the wee hours of the morning.
Ancona trains leave you off at one end of the horseshoe-shaped harbor, so you need a bus to the “confirmation” desk and another bus to the “check in”. A half hour advance is advised.
Rome was not only relatively clean, it had an upbeat attitude. I felt no fear but still kept an eye on my purse because “Toto we are not in Croatia anymore”. My 50€ tour was the most expensive expense but it was well worth it. Gelato was 3€ (the same price as a small chicken!). Be sure to bring a scarf, since they won’t allow bare arms inside the complex. I bought fresh vegetables and fruit (10€) to cook at the hostel (25€) and managed to get by very cheaply courtesy of AirBnB. I even bought a blue polka dot dress in the bazaar for only 5€!
For me the two best ways to visit Italy from Croatia is the ferry – train combination, or catch an autobus from Dalmatia to Trieste which runs Wednesday evening, arriving in Trieste early morning. From there go from the bus terminal to the train station and all Italy is at your fingertips.
Ryan Air from Zadar is also cheap… check online at www.ryanair.com but be sure to book early.
Croatia is centrally located so it is easy to visit neighboring countries without having to spend too much cash.
Just another one of the benefits of being here 🙂