On my way to Palazzo Barberini last Wednesday, I encountered a mysterious event at Piazza Venezia. It turned out to be very special to me. Have you ever listened to your national anthem live in a foreign country?
9.30am – I am on the bus 44, which is full as always. I need to change to another bus near Piazza Venezia to get to Palazzo Barberini.
Suddenly the bus takes a strange detour just before reaching Piazza Venezia. Oh, another road closure? Classic Rome. The same thing happened to me exactly three weeks ago on my way to the Vatican City.
Security. Police. Carabinieri. Everywhere. It seems like a serious event is taking place in front of the Altare della Patria (Altar of the Fatherland). I do not have time for this. I need to walk to Palazzo Barberini and be there by 10am for a class site-visit.
Something makes me stop walking. A familiar melody. A patriotic one in fact. It is the Vietnamese national anthem!
I cannot believe my ears. Playing the Vietnamese anthem in the center of Rome? What a great surprise!
23 November 2016
Later I found out that it was a welcoming ceremony for the Vietnamese President, Tran Dai Quang. I have never listened to my national anthem in such a splendid setting nor have I seen Piazza Venezia in such an orderly manner. I really felt emotional!