Once I realized I was moving abroad, there was one place that was always a must-see for me, and that was Italy! At the end of my parent’s visit in July, I was finally able to make the journey to Italy and see some of the beauty that this country had to offer. From Rome to Positano, we were able to see a lot in the short few days we had to spend there!
After we wrapped in Paris, myself, Nick and my parents took a plane into Rome to begin our Italian adventure. We had a full day in Rome, a full day in Venice and three days on the Amalfi Coast, lounging in Positano. Our arrival in Rome started out smoothly, but what we didn’t realize is that it was the calm before the storm. I don’t know what it is about Rome, but it seems like a cursed destination for travellers who try to do it in a day, (Kiani and JD can back me up on that notion). We arrived in Rome with a bit of time to spare, so we had our driver drop us off near our AirBnb, where our host had instructed us to meet him on the app at 1:00PM. As it was too early to check-in, we decided to head into a nearby market and buy some bits and pieces to make ourselves a little picnic. All the while, we were thinking that everything was peachy-keen-jelly-bean. Low and behold, things were not peachy keen. Our host had differentiated from the original plan (ONLY A COUPLE HOURS BEFORE OUR ARRIVAL, AKA when we were flying 30 000 feet above the precious earth) and didn’t let us know in a reasonable timeframe where we could have actually spoken to each other and gotten organized. As we were all traveling with international/Canadian plans, we couldn’t access the apps on our phones without wifi where we would have received the updates for how to get into the apartment. As time surpassed 1:00PM, we began to get sweaty, antsy and in desperate need to pee. Which turned into a wifi-manhunt; where I would walk aimlessly around searching for open wifi networks (in the middle of suburban Rome, where wifi doesn’t exist), trying to get in touch with this fucking tit of a human-being. Long story short, I ended up in the lobby of a Holiday Inn where the staff there were incredibly kind and patient with me as I walked in, very sweaty and sad. They gave us access to their wifi, called the host themselves and communicated with them to find out what the hell was going on. In the end of it all, we got our keys to the apartment a few hours later, relaxed for a bit and got cleaned up before roaming about Rome.
*Cue stressful montage of trying to go around Rome with their inefficient public transit system!*
Don’t get me wrong, Rome was absolutely beautiful and I’ll always be grateful that I was able to see all these monuments and buildings that have been around for hundreds of years, but GOD DAMN, Rome; get yourself a proper bus schedule. I have done a lot of traveling in Europe, and I’ve always been able to find free public wifi, and a functional public transit schedule but, that wasn’t the case in Rome and that made everything all the more difficult. All that being said, we were able to see the Colosseum, the Vatican, the Trevi Fountain and a pretty castle that I don’t know the name of. When visiting the Colosseum, there are different ticket packages you can purchase; ground level unattended, the whole colosseum unattended and then a fully guided tour. For us and our time crunch, we decided just to have the ground level, unattended meander. Once we were in, we were able to wander the lower levels as we pleased and we didn’t have a time limit for how long we could stay. We went to the Colosseum a bit later in the day/closer to the closing time, and I didn’t find that it was very busy once you were inside. So, if you’re not a fan of crowds, take that into consideration. Seeing the inside of the Colosseum was a must for me, but definitely not necessary if you’re in the area for a short amount of time and have other things you’d rather prioritize. You’ll be able to see the iconic outer shell of the Colosseum from different vantage points in the city for free. After we left the Colosseum, we walked around the area for a little bit, where my parents were cornered by scammers who thought I was grumpy because I wouldn’t pay them for their stupid bracelet after hearing the same “Hakuna Matata” speech in two different countries, and then made our way to the Trevi Fountain. If you don’t like crowds, DO NOT go to the Trevi Fountain during peak season. It was like a can of human sardines, there were so many people fighting for the perfect spot to take a photo and throw a lucky coin in the water. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful sight to see, and the water was surprisingly clear all things considered. After our quick stint at the fountain, we took a cab to the Vatican; walked around and saw what we wanted to see before we headed off and stumbled across a random castle on our way to dinner. We hadn’t planned ahead a specific type of restaurant we wanted to go to when we were in Rome, so after we had finished our day of sightseeing we had decided to just walk around the side-streets until we came across something promising. We ended up sitting on the patio of a quaint Italian restaurant until nightfall. Then the real fun began — trying to make it home. From one bus station to the next, we couldn’t find a real schedule, or the bus that we needed to take. This search probably lasted for about an hour before I began entering the preliminary stages of a mental breakdown, which is where Nick decided it was time to call it quits and get us a cab.
After our cab driver dropped us off at the Air Bnb, we spent the evening drinking, relaxing and playing pinball — for all the faults of our host, he actually had a really cool place with a functioning pinball machine. We headed to bed after a few rounds of mildly competitive pinball, and got ourselves organized for the next day in Venice!
For all of the disfunction that Rome thrusted into my life, I don’t know if I would really feel the need to go back. After seeing all of the sights that I wanted to see in this trip, I’m not sure of what else the city offers. In a lot of ways, it felt like it was a bit behind on the times with the lack of wifi and public transit system, and as an avid traveller that slightly deters my interest in returning. Then again, whenever you’re traveling there is bound to be a bit of bad luck, and maybe that was the case for Rome.
Would you ever visit Rome?