As I stepped off the plane at Ciampino International Airport, there was only one word to describe the feeling.
Undoubtedly, as a Canadian, I’m not accustomed to 40°C (104°F) weather. That being said, I was in Rome – a place I had read about all through school. I wasn’t going to let the heat change any of my plans.
I was traveling with the same guys from my trek to Palma, one of whom was Italian (though he knew as much Italian as anyone who has seen a Primo Pasta commercial). Knowing Italian, though handy, is far from necessary in Rome. The overwhelming number of tourists allows for English to be an acceptable form of communication almost anywhere.
After catching a shuttle bus into the city, the first order of business was finding our hotel. We booked at a small place in Roman China-town. Upon arrival, we dropped our bags and headed back out to see the city. We were on a tight schedule, so we resolved to experience as much of Rome as possible in 36 hours.
If you’re visiting Rome, you should know the rules of the road (ie. there are none). The traffic changes between three, four and five lanes with no rational explanation. Needless to say, every time we crossed the street – I was in fear of being run over.
After playing a game of real-life Frogger, we arrived at the Coliseum. The lineup was massive. While my friends waited, I headed to the washroom (which apparently hasn’t been updated since the Coliseum was built in 70 AD).
After 20 minutes, we were in the Coliseum. To stand in the place of such historical meaning was remarkable.
After the Coliseum, we saw people walking up a hill and assumed they were headed to another ancient ruin or monument. Of course, we followed.
After what I envision a leg of the Tour de France to feel like, we made it to the top. And what was there?
A guy selling water bottles for $1.50. A serious let-down, but yes – I did buy one.
It was getting pretty late, so we headed back to the hotel. On the way, we stopped into a small pizzeria, which had slices to go. The pizza was average at best.
Fast forward to 8 AM the next morning, and it was already 30°C. This forced us to jump start our sightseeing and avoid the mid-afternoon heat.
Here’s some of what we saw.
For anyone traveling to Rome, all you need is a water-bottle and a map. There are tons of tourists, so even if you don’t know where you’re going, you can follow them around. As previously mentioned, this comes in handy for $1.50 waters and large hills.
Overall, Rome was pretty cool. If you’re booking a trip to Europe this summer (and you haven’t been to Rome), it’s a must-see. I wouldn’t plan on staying long, though. You can see the majority of the monuments and attractions in one solid day of walking.
In closing, I would like to note that we had pizza on the second night in a much nicer restaurant. It was the best pizza I’ve ever had.
If you’ve been to Rome, what was your experience like?