R is for Rome

Keeping up with the goal of documenting all my past & future travels along with the theme of Europe, I thought I’d walk down memory lane again….Italy edition.

I doubt anyone will be surprised when I say that I was am a nerd in middle, high school. My friends took Spanish classes where they watched fun movies about burritos and sombreros while I tortured myself by choosing Latin. In Latin class, the most amusement we had was the pictures of Roman statues in our textbooks that seemed to display suggestive poses. Oh, middle school imagination. Regardless, I learned about Roman culture and Pompeii year after year until college so that Italy naturally earned itself on my bucket list. When I finally bought tickets to go this past September, I was elated.

I could have played a drinking game based on how many times family members/friends/strangers suggested I eat LOTS of pasta and pizza in Italy. I would’ve gotten drunk fast, let me tell you. I obviously DID eat a lot of pasta and pizza (mmmm). I actually found myself craving a different cuisine after three days but of course we were back at it with the pizza again, mostly because a) we couldn’t help ourselves and b) there were no other options, really. But I don’t regret the pizza intake at all.

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Mmm gelato.

We went in September which won’t give anyone insight as to whether that might be the best month to go because Rome is such a highly sought out tourist destination that it’s always crowded. I personally did not feel that it was that congested, and it did help that the weather was perfect.

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It was also a definite perk that my thoughtful travel buddy bought Vatican tickets ahead of time so that we skipped the queue. Yay. Obviously there were endless throngs of people inside but it was amazingly beautiful and I usually have no problem with elbowing my way to get ahead of slow folks (sorry) that I didn’t mind. One thing I did have a problem with were girls who did not cover up for the Sistine Chapel and took pictures  of the (magnificent) ceiling on their phones, despite the MANY warnings plastered outside the entrance. Come on, people.

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Such a long line!
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Mesmerizing.

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There were a few moments of frustration that I can recall though- 1. We waited ages to order at a restaurant and due to lack of staff communication, we were instructed to place our order again. In line with Italian custom of course, we were then told it would be another 50 minutes (um, we already WAITED 50 minutes). I wanted to storm off without paying for the water, but guess which patient person ended up paying?  2. The bus that arrived to take us to the airport had extremely deflated looking tires. Considering our bus into the city veered off course, causing passengers to rudely shout at the driver, we were a bit concerned about our overall safety and timing. Buuuut I survived that. 3. You may have heard that most of Europe charges for public bathroom use. I don’t have a problem with this because the money ($1!!!) ensures that the bathroom is clean and stocked with toilet paper & soap. In public bathrooms in the US, there is no charge, so people don’t care about the maintenance which leads to nasty surprises (urgh). I paid and used the bathroom at the train station and was about to come out when a woman aggressively pushed past me (**she obviously did not want to pay the ONE euro to use the bathroom). In response, I waited for her to come out and confronted her. I won’t share much details except to say that she embodied the stereotypical American tourist behavior that makes us all look horrible. -_-

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Apart from the few moments of frustration, I have such fond memories of Rome. I can’t believe I got to fulfill my dreams of visiting a place I learned so much about. I only explored less than 5% of what Italy has to offer and I absolutely can’t wait to return.

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