Just in case you have gotten bored of my style of writing in the last while, I decided to let my best friend and fellow traveler on this trip do the talking here. This is Kim’s account of the Roman leg of our journey through Italy.
The best way to start our Rome story is with the end of our Cinque Terra adventure. We made it to the train station, paid our 10Euro to book our seat to Rome (We’d learnt our lesson after our experience in Venice), and made our way to our faithful (and cheap) friend, McDonalds. Whilst we were charging all our devices and waiting for our train, a fellow traveler, of Canadian origin, joined us at our table. We were happily exchanging travel stories when all of the sudden I realized that I had lost my purse. I went back to the counter where I had paid for our burgers and asked the Italian man if he had seen my purse. After a few more attempts of Engtalian and charades, the Italian man returned with a spoon. I went back to the table to borrow Lindy’s purse so I could show the man what I was looking for and when I got to the table all I heard was Lindy asking, ‘guys what time is our train?’. After which a frenzied rush broke out to gather all our goods and rush to catch our train… the only thing was I was still missing one very important item. I ran back to the Italian man, flashed Lindy’s purse, He said ‘Ah!’, handed me my purse, I ran back to our table to see Lindy and our Canadian friend running off without me, but I caught up, we ran fast, we got to our platform and… no train. I attempted some more Engtalian and asked another Italian man if our train had gone, to which he responded, ‘still come’. Phew. Relief. 18mins later we were sitting in our booked seats (extra 10 Euro… I repeat, 10 Euro) on an empty train.
We made it to Rome! Our host, Roberta, was the friendliest and most helpful Italian we had met so far. She gave us great tips of what the ‘must do’s’ were in Rome. Now at this stage of our trip we were in desperate need for laundry to be done. I think we were both down to our last pantylons :) We went round the corner to the Laundromat and handed in our 2 tiny parcels of laundry. We walked away 16 Euros poorer, feeling gutted.
One of the great tips that Roberta gave us was to download the Rick Steves Audio Europe app. It honestly changed our experience of Rome – It’s a must for traveling on a budget. By the end of day one we had covered most of the big spots – The Coliseum, The Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain, and a whole lot in between. That night we went back to the coliseum and Trevi fountain to get some night shots – the joys of traveling with a passionate photographer :)
This was the first view we had of the Colosseum. It really is an engineering marvel!
Kim’s gladiator feet. :) Rome is a rather dirty city and if you walk with slops…your feet might end up looking like this!
The next day we were hitting the Vatican City. We sat down on the bus and at the next stop a nun and her entire family got on the bus. The nun sat opposite Lindy. I got up to give my seat to one of the old ladies, being the nice young person that I am, but Lindy didn’t move. This is not because Lindy isn’t considerate. In fact, anyone who knows Lindy will attest to the fact that she’s probably the most considerate person they know. The reason why Lindy didn’t move is because she was trapped by possibility. You see, in South Africa, it’s not every day that we see nuns walking the streets. So this was naturally something that Lindy was dying to photograph – The Lesser Spotted Nun. Only, nuns are actually not so much ‘lesser spotted’ as they are ‘everywhere’ in Rome. The only thing is that getting a good photo of a nun was proving to be quite a tricky task. Mostly because they seemed quite upset if they saw you taking pictures of them… and their glares made us feel like we had wronged God. With a bit of prayer for forgiveness and a few meters on, Lindy’s mission continued. So on this day, when the nun chose the seat opposite Lindy on the bus, she wasn’t moving. And we were in luck. This was a friendly family and when they found out we were from ‘exotic’ South Africa, they were all too excited and asked if they could take a photo of us, to which Lindy responded, ‘Only if we can take a photo of you.’ She did take a photo alright… after 50 others… all of the nun and none of the family.
The memory of the rest of our day is pretty much on fast forward. Michelangelo was a boss painter. Really, respect. Unfortunately our fascination with his talent was quickly overthrown with the incredible pain that Lindy was experiencing – her feet had given in. Full-stop. She was so close to tears and unfortunately it had nothing to do with Michelangelo’s artwork.
So we caught the bus back home, gathered our goods and waved goodbye to Rome as we headed to our final destination, Holland.
Traveling tips for Rome:
1) Wear good walking shoes. Pack in some pain killers too.
2) Find out the price of laundry before you give it in
3) Download Rick Steve’s Audio Europe, or learn Italian, or do both.
4) Take iced water bottles along with you. As the day goes by you’ll be so thankful for a cool beverage! And take lots of sunscreen!
5) Try get a picture of a nun :)