22-27 November 2017
The first stop in Italy was Rome. I was tired from the plane ride so I took it easy. Walking around, getting familiar with the area my hostel, Colosseum Footprints, was in and grocery shopping. I bought a bunch of food to cook then found out that there was no cooking aloud in the hostel. Fantastic. Not surprisingly, that night I watched The Lizzie Maguire Movie. I also met a very friendly man from southern Italy that was studying dance and theatre at one of the schools nearby. He was my main company for the two nights I was spending in that hostel. I would only recommend staying in Colosseum Footprints in autumn or spring because there is no heater or air conditioning. I only got a couple hours of sleep each night because there were only sheets, no blankets, and it felt like an ice box.
The first full day I there I was feeling much better than in Barcelona. I headed out early in the morning to shops, a café, and a vintage store. I wasn’t planning on doing much touristy sight-seeing right away but I accidently ended up right outside of the Colosseum and sat on the little hill between it and the Arco di Costantino for a bit watching people take selfies with selfie sticks. I’m a very exciting traveler as you can tell.
I met Christian, the guy from Maryland that I met in Nürnberg, at the train station the following day. We stayed at an Airbnb far away from everything because there were cats that lived there. We had to sort of walk through the woods to get to the grocery store and the subway station but I keep telling myself it was worth it because of the cats. We had, what we later decided was, the best pizza in Italy that night. I can’t remember the name of the place the host ordered it from, which is not good because I want to tell everyone about it. I just then found out that pizza isn’t sliced when you get it in Italy. Christian and I were too excited to take the time to cut it so we folded them like tacos. It was a wonderful idea and I don’t think I will ever fully enjoy a sliced pizza ever again.
One of the days we decided to stroll around the area near The Non-Catholic Cemetery of Rome. On the way there, we stumbled upon a run-down house that has been transformed into a large art studio. The man that was living there let us in to look around. I wouldn’t normally advise going into a stranger’s dark and falling apart home in a sketchy area of a foreign country but I was with a friend. So, ya know, buddy system. Paintings, sculptures, mannequins, and a cold creepy basement made this place one of my favorite unexpected finds. On our way out, the owner even gave us a rock as a souvenir.
We made it to the cemetery and noticed there were cats everywhere. We walked around petting kitties and taking photos for a couple of hours. This became my new favorite cemetery when we found out it is also a cat sanctuary. I’m even more excited now to hopefully open my own funeral home with a cemetery one day. I can hang out with cats while working a job that I love. I don’t think I could get much happier than that.
One night while walking around the city we picked up a couple bottles of wine and went sight-seeing. We sat on the hill by the Colosseum drinking for a while talking and people watching. While chatting, we realized that we didn’t want to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain, which was next on the to-do list, so we decided that I would throw in a rock and Christian would throw in a zipper. These seemed like better wish-making objects than a few cents.
We got a great place to sit on the side of the Trevi Fountain and finished the bottle of wine… And then finished the other bottle of wine. A few other people came over by us and started drinking as well and it soon became the adult corner. We sat and talked for an hour or so until it started raining.
We stopped at a restaurant that, again, I can’t remember the name of. This restaurant had possibly the world’s best gnocchi. It was like butter. Never in my life have I had melt in your mouth gnocchi. When I get home to Florida, I will make sure I set aside time to make gnocchi over and over until I make it that perfectly.
We ended up walking around until the subways stopped. The Uber prices were crazy so we decided to walk. Miles. We walked while playing a celebrity name game. The first letter of the last name had to be the first letter of the next person’s name said by the other person playing. Christina Applegate, Aaron Rogers, Randy Jackson, Jamie Oliver, and so on. We made it a couple hours into the walk and then called an Uber because it was around 2 in the morning and I was on the edge of delirium.
The day following, we headed towards Vatican City. It was extremely small and empty except for one long line that led into the Vatican. Although we wanted to see the art, there was no way we were waiting hours in line to see a church. We weren’t expecting much so we weren’t disappointed. Christian and I then tested out some couches in a furniture store and got fanfreakingtastic gelato. It was a very good day.
On what we thought would be Christian’s last day in Rome, we went to a tiny bookstore café. We read, drew, and drank for too long because by the time we got to the bus stop, we realized that he had missed his bus. I really wasn’t surprised at all. We were both going to Naples but he was just planning on going a day before. Nothing really lost. I couldn’t be upset because now we had company for the bus ride there.