My life has been marked by a lot of fighting. I have felt and seen enough of nasty words and fists and bruises; enough to mold me into a person who is now, rather a pacifist. In words and actions, I dislike confrontation. Even when others try to pick a fight with me, I tend to turn the other cheek. The psychology of all that is another post for another day and isn’t this a travel blog…
Thanks to the Rome itinerary put in place by HouseTrip and Viator, I was forced to spend a day wielding a sword. Like a gladiator. Absolutely, positively the last thing I would normally want to do.We began by learning all about the history and sport of fighting in Roman times. Much of it went in one ear and out the other. Like I said, violence isn’t really my cup of tea. Though I like history, the museum portion of the school interested me more as a photographer than a fact gatherer.This did stick with me: while gladiators could earn their freedom, many chose to remain in the ring after their escape was earned.
That situation sounded eerily similar to what so many people around the world do when they long for an escape from a life they dislike, yet they do not choose to change their lives even when they have the ability to do so. I was once that person.
My blogging friends really had a good laugh at my expense that day. Though I was far from the only one who had a moment or two. When our instructor informed us that scabbards were called vaginas in Roman times…we laughed so hard we were reprimanded and the instructor lost his cool for a few minutes until we could all recover. Admittedly, I did have the er, hardest, time with that one. Then, Dave was informed that he handles a sword really well. More laughter. Following that, the rest of the afternoon flew by in a haze of enjoyable sport because our guards were down and our moods were lightened. We may have fought each other with wooden swords but we grew closer united in the sheer hilarity of being forced to wear utterly unflattering costumes in an Italian theme park dedicated to killing.It was, unique.There is nothing I did in Italy that entertained me more than gladiator school, in the end. Perhaps I should trade journaling for sword fighting, as a means of dealing with turmoil, more often.If you’re looking for the ideal mix of learning, history and fun: please book yourself a visit to Gladiator School with Viator. Even if violence is not your preferred piece of cake, you might find yourself pleasantly surprised just as I was.
HouseTrip rents apartments in Rome starting at just ₤23/night and they were kind enough to provide me this experience during my “live like a local” sojourn in Italy. Opinions in this post are my own.