Rome was a nice departure from being with the group. There are real perks to group travel – people to talk to and you don’t have to figure out everything by yourself. There are also drawbacks in that too much time with people can breed annoyance. Plus, most of us need some alone time now and again.
In Rome I stayed in an AirBnB that ended up just being a normal BnB. I also happened to be the only one staying there. Which in hindsight was kind of odd, but at the time it was just nice to be blessedly alone. My flight from Vienna was on time, but I got a wee bit lost in the Rome metro system. I ended up taking the Leonardo Express from that airport. It was a little more expensive than it would have been to try and find my way just using regular transit, but the convenience was worth it to me. I arrived at the BnB around 8pm and after a bit of interesting conversation trying to communicate with my host’s limited English and my non-existent Italian found myself safely ensconced in a nice little room. A nice little room that was air conditioned which was my favourite thing in the summer heat of Rome.
I went for a short walk to try and find some food, but mostly that night was a write off. I figured out what I wanted to do the next day and uploaded pictures to Facebook for my family and friends. It was nice to just relax.
The next day my plan was to try and see as much of Rome proper as I could manage. The place where I was staying was about a 20 minute walk to the Colosseum so naturally that was my first stop. Before I made it there though I happened to come across a random park where there was a band playing pop culture music (i.e.: I heard the Star Wars theme and followed that until I found them). So that was kind of neat!
I managed to make it to the Colosseum where I ended up waiting in line for way too long in the heat. I probably should have expected it, but there was not much I could do about it by that point. I am proud that I managed to get through it without buying any of the super overpriced frozen water bottles that people were wandering around selling to people in the line though. I will admit to having been very tempted though. I hadn’t realized that my ticket to the Colosseum would also get me into the Roman Forum, but it did so I obviously had to take full advantage of that.
I spent a lot more time in the Roman Forum that I had intended to… this was partially because it was pretty big, but also because I had some trouble figuring out how to get out. By the time I found my way out I was super hungry. Even though I’m usually bad at eating while on trips I couldn’t exactly skip eating in Rome of all places! Real Italian food. And, boy was I happy to get out of the sun for a bit. Plus, the lasagna I had for lunch was absolutely delicious.
After lunch I wandered towards the Trevi Fountain. Other than when I went to and from the airport I walked everywhere in Rome. Part of me regretted that because my feet were killing me by the end, but Rome wasn’t huge and I probably saw a lot more than I would have otherwise. On my way to see the Trevi Fountain I ended up veering off to see the Pantheon. On the way there I got awkwardly flirted with. Some random guy stopped me in the street to tell me my eyes were beautiful and ask me to have coffee with him. First of all I was wearing sunglasses so he couldn’t even see my eyes, but regardless I obviously did not have coffee with him.
There must have been something in the air in Italy though because one of my eyes was basically weeping the entire time I was there. It was awkward, but what can you do. I’m glad it was only Rome where it was a problem at least.
I never thought I would get bored of looking at fancy old architecture, but there was so much of it in Rome that I eventually started taking it for granted. Which seems hard to believe now, but at the time it was just the way I started to feel.
Another cool thing about Rome was that there were just churches basically everywhere. Fortunately for me I thought to bring a scarf with me everywhere to cover my shoulders so I actually was able to visit all the churches. I definitely saw more than a few people be barred from churches due to not meeting dress code and I’m glad to say I was not among them.
My second full day in Rome I had to take a visit to The Vatican. First of all how can you be in Rome and not visit The Vatican and second of all that’s the kind of thing I’m a huge nerd about. I had to pick up a long skirt to head over there since my skirts were mostly knee length, but it was fine because I needed one for when I would be in Jerusalem regardless.
I did end up spending most of the day at The Vatican. The lunch I had was pretty good, but it’s hard to know whether it was actually good or whether I was just starving. I think I’m just going to let my some of my Vatican pictures speak for themselves.
The next day I had to check out of my BnB at 10:30am and my flight left the airport in Rome just before 3pm. I basically just spent a while at the airport. I was pretty nervous because my next stop was Tel Aviv via Istanbul. Obviously I lived to tell the tale, but that tale will have to wait until next time.