I made it to the Rome Airport and was greeted late by my driver, a nasty looking man in a black leather jacket who looked like an amalgam of every unnamed James Bond assassin. After a white-knuckle ride through the back streets of Rome, literally inches from slapping side mirrors with hundreds of cars, I made it to my hotel room in the heart of Rome. I hooked up with a couple of great guys, Rick Dupea and Kirk Allen, who are also my roommates for this first evening. (Note: Kirk snores. Thanks for reminding me to bring the earplugs honey!)
We decided to take in some of the sites in closer proximity to us: the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and innumerable other monuments and statues. There is art everywhere you turn. Make no mistake: This is one beautiful city, one brimming with beauty and richness of history and warm people and really short-tempered drivers. And the weather now is perfect too, bright and sunny, exactly between chilly and hot.
We were joined by Randy Stonehill and Mike Pachelli for dinner. More tales of lost luggage and short sleep cycles. More of a sense of God’s hand in all of this. We sit at an outdoor bistro and eat pasta and talk about music and ministry and life, like overly-hip Christian Bohemians. Mike has played with everyone, and related a story of how he once sat with Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Count Basie and talked for hours about baseball. Kirk was a touring drummer who now produces jingles and stuff. Rick is a commercial videographer who described a project he once did for National Geographic. And of course, Randy is a Christian folk rock icon. I think to myself, I’m the only normal one here. Depending on your definition of normal.
Food scorecard: I know it sounds weird, but a specialty here is spaghetti with eggs and bacon (“spaghetti carbonnera” I think). It was awesome! Also, some caramel gelato from a shop near the Pantheon (thanks for the tip, Steph!).