Back to Blog Home

And I Found Myself in London and Rome

April 14, 2020 Peter Jones 4 Comments

In my Facebook and Instagram world, I find myself traveling to all of my familiar haunts and daring to step into places that I am not so familiar with.

 A friend of mine, who lives in the center of London, keeps me updated with his afternoon walks through the deserted city. It makes me nostalgic as a Londoner. I remember my mother telling me stories about the Blitz in World War II. She lived in London and they would have to take shelter in their houses until they got the “all clear.” The streets were empty. I wondered if that emptiness was a little like the emptiness that we see now.  

As a traveler, it’s fascinating to see a city like London with all of its craggy alleyways, pubs, and bookstores, its parks and squares, laid out perfectly with not a hint of a car, taxi, bus, or person. I know that this is a temporary state of affairs, but the magic of my friend Jim’s afternoon walks replenish the soul and makes me smile and reminisce.  

Then there are those memories in my photo library that I can plug straight into, like a Roman walk that I do every time I go to Rome. Pictures from the past that I find myself scanning and then I recount in my mind the history of these walks that accompany me every time I return. And I wonder, how many years it will be again before we see this quietness. Not a plane in the sky, not a horn on the roads. It is as if the world has decided to give us a break and show us a “what if” in an attempt to slow down the madness of global warming and self-inflicted climate change.  

When I look at the pictures that our beloved Carlotta posts from our Rome office, I walk with her through the empty streets around the Circus Maximus and look at the ancient temples and stroll through the Capitoline Hill, and look down to the Piazza Venezia, and it seems peaceful. My niece, Jessica, who lives near the Piazza del Popolo in Rome, looks down on empty streets that lead to the Spanish Steps. The beautiful, the Baroque, the Roman, all empty.

Every city almost feeling like a busy museum that was on a lunch break. Statues and churches that we had barely noticed come out of the woodwork. Crossing the streets, you now have time to look up rather than trying to avoid the chaos and cacophony of cars and buses and scooters. There they are and they have always been there. We just never noticed.  

And I wonder, when it all ends, when we return and jump on the planes and populate the places again, whether we have learned anything at all. We do not have much time to think about it but it’s worth the thought. These places need to be beautiful for the next 2,000 years. It’s down to us. We can have an impact on how we maintain the gardens we live in and how to proceed for the future. 

Peter Jones In 1978, Peter Jones founded ACIS with a few colleagues, who all believed that travel changes lives. Knowing the important difference between a trip that’s mediocre and one that’s extraordinary, he built ACIS from a deep belief and understanding that ACIS group leaders and participants deserve the best—from itinerary development to hotels to perhaps most importantly, the people hired to guide teachers and students throughout the journey.

“In 1978, Peter Jones founded ACIS with a few colleagues, who all believed that travel changes lives. Knowing the important difference between a trip that’s mediocre and one that’s extraordinary, he built ACIS from a deep belief and understanding that ACIS group leaders and participants deserve the best—from itinerary development to hotels to perhaps most importantly, the people hired to guide teachers and students throughout the journey.”

4 thoughts on “And I Found Myself in London and Rome

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I know I’m like many who are dreaming of future travels, but part of me wishes I could sneak away to see the places of the world so quiet and undisturbed. An introvert’s dream, but then I remember why it’s so and pray for better times. Take care, and I will think ahead to my next ACIS adventure!

  2. As a group leader I cannot thank your team members enough for helping me guide my families through these tragic times. My heart goes out to those in Italy and I hope very visit them next summer instead of this April.

  3. The photo of the fire house looks very familiar to me. We where on a ACIS tour in London we had free time our guide Steve Hart suggest we walk from our hotel to the British Museum. We passed a fire house that looked exactly like the one in your photo. I had also taken a photo of it.

    1. Hi Marilyn,
      The photo you refer to as one of a ‘firehouse’ is in fact the side/back entrance to a disused London Underground station, ‘Aldwych’ or ‘Strand’…it’s on Surrey Street, WC2, I think. But yes, it does resemble a NYC fire station!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe Now