I definitely feel like I lost a day….I’m exhausted…I mean, I only traveled thousands of miles and walked the streets of Rome in the past 24 hours. I also feel like I’ve been sweating since I got to Rome…the airport didn’t have air conditioning, then neither does my hostel. I stopped in at a museum, and they had air conditioning coming out of this vent. I definitely stood there for a minute…it was lovely. But otherwise I’m extremely sweaty and gross, and I really do not like that.
So the trip went pretty much without a hitch. I did a lot of Sudoku—I was in the airport for about 3 full hours, plus 1.5 at RDU. I think I did over 20 of the easy ones. I also watched the National Treasure sequel, which was satisfactorily entertaining. I tried to sleep for a while, and it should have been more successful since I had two seats to myself (which was, I admit fully, really nice).
Everything since the airplane has been overwhelming, sweaty and exhausting. Not that that’s all bad. I checked into my hostel at around 12pm (I expected to get here at 10am…). The trip here was a bit crazy. I got off the plane and attempted to find an ATM so that I wouldn’t have to pay $1.73 per Euro for the money I needed to pay my hostel and just have money…but eventually, after running around the un-air conditioned airport meet-up area with my huge backpack on trying 3 different ATMs that were only local or not working, I gave in. Then I had to figure out how to get into town, and I didn’t exactly, how do I put this, know which air port I flew into. I had a feeling…and I was correct. But one of them is big and easy to get to town from, despite being farther away than the smaller one. So I flew into the big on and just had to take a train into the center of town, where I had directions to my hostel from.
But I made it, somehow, got my ticket (realizing that there was an ATM right next to the ticket-selling booth….I was only minorly pissed), and then managed to find my way to my hostel with my backpack on my back, sweating gallons…I checked in, but they have a lock-out for cleaning from 11am-4pm. Which is good, because it will make me get out, wake up, etc. So I had to leave immediately, which sucked today because it would have been really nice to have just like a 2 hour nap. But I left on a mission to find some food. The girl who I checked in with at the hostel said there was a place right next door, and sort of stupidly I followed her advice because it was an expensive lunch, especially for what it was.
Appropriately, I got pizza. Just mozzarella and eggplant…it was pretty decent. I ate the entire thing. And it was about 10”, though the crust was really really thin, admittedly. While I was enjoying my pizza, I noticed that a rat kept coming and trying to get closer to me, but then would get scared and run away (I was eating outside…Rome’s not THAT ghetto….I hope…). It kind of creeped me out at first, but then I sort of enjoyed having another being to interact with…I didn’t talk to anyone on the plane (no one was really near me…) and most people I’d seen in Rome didn’t really speak English.
After lunch I perused the Roman streets near my hostel, mostly looking at clothes shops, which all have sales…I have a feeling that they are always having a sale…though my guidebook (I got one in RDU…and I am sooo glad I did) said that they have big sales in mid-July. Anyway, I didn’t find anything too interesting…most of it was moderately expensive. Or at least not inexpensive. And considering the price of the Euro, not the right time to just shop for whatever. But they have TONS of linen, which just made me so happy. More interesting than any of the clothes was this bizarre dancing Mickey Mouse figurine that this guy had on the street. I don’t know how to really explain it…he had a boom box (yah, 90s!) sitting on the sidewalk and then next to it was a Mickey Mouse figurine, maybe 4 inches tall, dancing to the music, which was Indian, btw. For some reason, I thought it was really funny…
I sat down after the half-hearted shopping, trying to decide what to do. I looked at my guidebook and made a plan to walk to a few different sites that were nearby. I first went into a basilica (I think St Mary’s?) that was right in front of me, just for fun. It was GORGEOUS and massive. I continued on to the Palazzo Barberini, a palace in the more Northern part of the city that is now a museum. It was really quiet, pretty empty and beautiful. The staircases were wide and made of some kind of stone (granite? Marble? I dunno). There were lots of paintings, but the most incredible thing was this massive room with the entire ceiling painted. It was so good, and looked like it was 3-D, which I just thought was really awesome.
I continued on to the Spanish Steps, which were WAY less cool than I’d imagined. First of all until I went there, I was really doubting the whole Rome-is-hot-and-crowded all the time (well, the hot part…I got that) during the summer. Everything was pretty moderately occupied…but then I got to the Spanish steps and WOAH. SO many people. Lots of designer stores. Anyway, I headed back after that, stopped by the grocery store, and here we are. I’m about to shower (a very cold one) an take a nap, if the noise that keeps happening in the bathroom by my head doesn’t disturb me too much. Or the bird outside the window.
It’s really interesting, Rome really reminds me of Guanajuato in Mexico, or even more of Doloras Hidalgo. There’s something about the sloping cobblestone streets that is similar. It’s bizarre to almost understand things though—there are definitely things in Italian that I totally get, that are exactly the same as in Spanish. But then there are a lot of things that are totally different, notably the accent. But anyway, I’m going to talk to some of the people in my hostel who just woke up.