The most amazing city, quite possibly in the entire world...
Rome Travel Blog› entry 22 of 29 › view all entries
Freezing and excited, I found my way early to the train station to make my way to Rome, possibly the greatest city in the world, where I would turn 21 on an airport floor with new friends just 2 days later. I almost lost my camera in the station when I had to transfer trains because mine was broken, but once on the way to Rome, I met a cute and charming Italian who entertained my with stories of his days in Texas, training to be an Italian Navy fighter pilot (don’t ask), where he informed me they Italians weren’t trusted. I asked him why not, and got the unexpected but hilarious answer of “Well, because we cheat and lie!” he reminded me again of European lingo as he got laughed at for at least 10 minutes when he proclaimed to the class loudly in the middle of a test (in hopes they wouldn’t think him a cheater? Not sure how much sense that made) “Whoops-I made a mistake, does anyone have a rubber for me?” you can only imagine what that sounded like a bunch of rowdy American men.
To my dismay, I was told in broken English that I’d missed the stop to Rome-I hadn’t seen anything that looked like a city! Turns out the man was confused, but he scared the crap outta me-turns out this wouldn’t be my last frustration before I started to like Rome. I couldn’t find anyone to speak English to me once in the Stazione Centrale Roma Termini and I couldn’t find the address to my hostel, the Two Ducks where I was supposed to meet two friends from my program. After a near crying experience (only time I almost cried in 4 months in Europe) I finally found the place, (down a fairly sketchy alley) where they didn’t have my reservation or my deposit. Oh well, when in Rome!
First plan of action was the coliseum as the sun was setting, and man was it magnificent, but only a small jewel in this amazing city’s collection, as I was to find the next 2 days. Not entirely surprisingly, there were about 5 vendors selling all sizes of tripods to tourists who needed a stunning shot of this world wonder. I used a trashcan as a tripod. Whatever works, right? I also got a few shots of the Foro Romano, the political and religious center of ancient Rome, wishing it was free to get into this part of the city, cursing capitalism silently. I never did make it inside as I had only two ridiculously short days in the city :( Next time... On my way back to my hostel, I strolled past the Complesso Vittoriano. Not gonna lie, at first I thought it was a palace, later to find that it's a giant museum complex. Out front are huge statues of men on horses, and the white stone facade is intricately carved with details of Romans. Simply magnificant. I couldn't help but take a few pictures just about every time I passed the complex the next two days.
Suddenly snapping back to reality and remembering that I was in a foreign city where there was a 30/70 chance (or so it seemed) that a local would actually give me directions (in English) back to my hostel in the dark, I decided I'd better get my tired booty back up the Via Nazional before I was forced to hang out with the tripod men on the streets and give up on finding my way home; this time there would be no kind Portuguese man and his cute elderly mother to help me home find my way like there was in Venice.