The first day of outreach, we left the house at 2am to catch our plane. After several bus, train, tram, and plane rides, many of which were napped through, we arrived at the church that was going to host both us and the 2016 Arts Gathering, a church where Paul himself walked.
The gathering started that evening, so after a restful lunch and nap time to even out our sleep schedules, we helped those who had come a few days early to finish setting up. We started with fire drums and fire poi outside, then went in for worship and a welcome from our DTS leader Chris. We had people from all over Western Europe come this year: England, Austria, Italy, France, Norway and more, to say nothing of the 10+ countries represented by the various YWAM staff and students themselves.
After the welcome, we shared dinner before going out for a quick night on the town. We got gelato together (of course. I had chocolate, pistachio and blueberry with whipped cream on top and they were all delicious), and then had free time, during which Sarah, Jenn, Gabby and I walked along the river before an early night in.
The river at night was captivating. Unfortunately with only my iPhone, I didn’t get the best pictures, but with wide open bridges and trees stretching their branches two thirds of the way down the walls of the canal like fingers, you can start to get the picture. Add a backdrop of yellow-lit islands and bridges, intertwined trees and monuments, and you see even more. Everything in Rome seems big too, towering trees, giant statues, massive flat painted walls fitted with tiny windows and metal scrolls. It gives it an otherwordly feel, like you’re on a different planet where everyone is bigger, and when you’re used to the busy, close-fit streets and canals of London, the effect is particularly impressive. Cafes, gelaterias, bars, and bakeries line the streets, history lurks around every corner with surprising stealth and size, and even the most basic structures are embellished with intricate carvings or metal-work. It’s a beautiful city, and our first day, though a little exhausting at first (and kind of more fun for that fact), was a good one.