Rome is a place that I still just cannot decide on.
I spent a week in Rome in January of this year and for 4 of those days, I loved the city, but for the other 3 days, my memories are not quite so fond.
My first impressions of Rome were that it was dirtier than Florence, more touristy and a lot rougher around the edges. I wandered around on my first day, and after I stumbled across the Colosseum, I remember being disappointed. I had devoured books about the Colosseum and ancient civilisations as a child, and it just wasn’t the same as I had imagined. I didn’t even end up going in on that first day, I was in such a foul mood that I walked away and continued to explore with no real goal in mind.
After not too long, I stumbled across an old little chapel with beautiful burnt orange walls. Funny how such a simple thing can be the cure for a case of ‘travelitis’.
The next day I woke up and for the first time in weeks, I could see the sun shining through the clouds and I felt re-energised again. I went back to the Colosseum, determined to try and see it in a different light. Finally, I saw something that I could marvel at, something that I could be bewildered by.
The Roman Forum was also suitably beautiful, although the obvious signs of restoration were a little disappointing. I know why these ruins are being restored (long term planning), but I wish I could have seen them as they have truly aged.
Since it seemed to be the day for hitting predictable tourist stops, the obvious next choice was the famous Trevi Fountain. No photographs can do this place justice. It is simply stunning.
That evening I met up with Sanna, a kiwi friend I had made whilst in Florence. We ended up just wandering around looking for a non touristy ristorante where we could indulge. After wandering down Via Panisperna we came across Ai Tre Scalini. Such a good random find! The wine was excellent, the baked mozzarella with zucchini and prosciutto was delightful and the eggplant parmigiana was truly unbelievable. We stumbled out very full, moderately drunk and exceptionally cheerful.
After a good nights sleep we met up at the Spanish Steps to make our way to The Vatican City. It rained on us pretty relentlessly, but it was a great day nonetheless. The Sistine Chapel was especially gorgeous, but the best part was watching every single person attempt to take a photograph without getting detected and suffer the consequent reprimanding. I partook in this tradition, however half-heartedly.
We spent the rest of the day walking around and ended up at a little place called Donkey Punch. The name may be ridiculous but I dare you to find a better sandwich. I still sometimes have dreams about the pork crackling.
The next day I met up with Sanna again to make the day trip from Rome to Pompeii via Naples. We travelled via train to Napoli with one goal in mind.
After we had eaten yet another indulgent meal, it was on to Pompeii! Although this was of course when the sky decided to open up and weep like I do during the last 30 minutes of Titanic. We forewent booking a tour and instead spent the afternoon exploring on our own.
The next day I hit a bit of a travel rut. All I wanted to do was download horror movies on my phone and eat my body weight in Kinder chocolate. At the time I thought I had gotten sick of travelling, I thought I had become ready to go home. But that wasn’t it at all.
I had simply become ready to leave Rome.
I did have fun in Rome, but it is definitely not a place I could imagine myself staying long term.
To finish this post I will leave you with a picture of me getting far too excited about a calendar full of hot priests.
What do you like/loathe about Rome?