Roaming around Rome

[I’m sorry, I couldn’t help myself when it came to the title.] About two weeks after our return to Germany from the mysterious land of Russia we took another trip. This time to Rome. It was supposed to be Paris, but seeing as I’m the only one that actually wants to visit France I got out voted. I just want to go see the Louvre, do all things touristy, and experience the Parisian displeasure. One of these days I’ll get to experience it, and when I do I’ll squeal with joy like a pre-teen girl–on the inside.

This time around we drove. Of course being the grump I am, I don’t like road-trips. I know, I know, I’m American, I should LOVE road-trips, but I don’t. Being in the car longer than forty-five minutes has me all antsy and flustered. The drive to Rome is about nine hours. If I could sleep in cars it wouldn’t have been too bad, but I couldn’t. So I started out yet another trip with minimum sleep; however, I tried to keep my mouth shut and perk up so I wouldn’t be the human form of a black cloud during this trip. I think it worked, but I’m probably not the best person to say whether or not I was a gremlin that had been fed after midnight.

Funny story time: When we got to the hostel/hotel/possible brothel (more on that later) everyone else went in to see if we could leave our bags there since we couldn’t check-in until later. I decided to change out of sweats and into clothes suitable for public consumption. There were no people on the street so I didn’t exactly feel the need to be as discreet as I usually am when changing in cars. Whelp, I’m pretty sure I flashed a pudgy, middle-aged Italian man that appeared out of nowhere. Even if I didn’t flash him I’m pretty sure he assumed I was one of the neighborhood prostitutes. Isn’t Rome where magical artsy/historical things are supposed to happen? Apparently not. For me Rome started out with a creepy smile complements of changing clothes in a car.

We didn’t learn about the local prostitutes until after our first day out. It could have just been a coincidence that there were prostitutes hanging out in front of the hotel, but two of them leaving the hotel with a Russian looking man in a tracksuit certainly pointed to something else (Of course he would be in a tracksuit. If he is actually Russian I hope he knows he’s falling into the Russian male fashion victim stereotype). It may not have been a brothel. It could have just been a frequently used location by these ladies and their Johns–although that gives me a few more heebie jeebies than if it would have just been a brothel, I’m not sure why.

Since you’re here to read about Rome and not prostitutes and hotels that are possibly brothels I guess I should talk about what we did. As in Moscow we had quite a bit to see and not a lot of time to see it in–this can’t be helped when you’re only going to be there for a few days. As annoying as tourists can be, sometimes it’s nice to be one. Tour groups are exempt here, because they are awful, always. I’m sorry if you enjoy taking trips with huge guided tours, but you clog everything up and don’t really get to experience the culture while moving as a herd. [I don’t mean to hate on these tour groups–I’ve been in them–, but I’ve just grown to dislike them because they’re EVERYWHERE. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go on one if you want. Tour guides are often chock-full of trivia-esque knowledge of the places you’ll visit. Ultimately you should do what you want and ignore the grumpy ramblings of a woman you’ll probably never meet.]

First stop was the freaking Forum and surrounding area. I have a weird love of ruins of all kinds. If there’s enough left of them I like to try to imagine what the buildings looked like in their heyday, or I get on the internet/open one of my art books and find models, whatever is easiest at the time. I spent the entire time at the forum lagging behind staring at tiny little details of things everyone else walked past. Really, I spent like five minutes staring at tiles for baths that had overgrown with weeds. What weird person does that? Okay, a lot of people do. I’m just riding on the special snowflake train.

After a mediocre lunch and a chilly rain shower we managed to find the way to the Coliseum/Colosseum. [Note: For those that don’t know, most probably do, there are quite a few these scattered throughout the old Roman Empire. This one just happened to be the most famous.] Do you know how difficult it is to maneuver around in a sea of people all carrying umbrellas? I’m pretty sure I hit several people in the face with my cheap umbrella. I know they’ll never read this blog, but to those people I’m so sorry I almost took out your eyeballs. It was completely unintentional, and the favor was returned several times over. I loved the Colosseum even though it’s a huge tourist trap (who am I kidding, Rome itself is a huge tourist trap). It would have been so cool to be able to see more of it close up, but, sadly, that’s not possible for the average tourist. As if to make up for the inaccessibility, they did have an interesting little exhibit of Roman artifacts on display within the Coliseum.

Next up on biggest disappointment that I should have seen coming: the Trevi Fountain. They are ALWAYS working on the Trevi fountain, it seems. Does it ever actually see water anymore? The whole thing was fenced off, no water, all the coins had been cleared out, and scaffolding was set up all across it. It would happen while we were visiting. You can’t really admire a fountain that’s hidden behind scaffolding and fencing. When historical things need fixing I guess it’s better to fix it sooner rather than later, even if it displeases the visiting masses, and boy were we displeased. Although I can’t really speak for the huge group tours of teenagers on their phones and muttering “like, omg” to each other and rolling their eyes. At what I’m not sure.

I think I enjoyed Rome the most compared to Herrball, his sister, and his best friend from home. The city is filled to the brim with tourists, myself included, and it’s dirty compared to Moscow, but it’s still got plenty of charm and beauty. For me, the history was more obvious in Rome than in Moscow. Well, that’s not true. I could see and feel Moscow’s history just as much as I could Rome. The difference is Rome’s history, to me, seemed more grand and expansive, while Moscow’s seemed, well, more Soviet based. Roman history holds a bit more interest for me, but that definitely doesn’t detract from the history, beauty, and fun I experienced in Moscow.

My next Rome post will probably finish the trip. I could go on and on about Rome, just like Moscow, but I think 1,500+ word posts can be a bit long. So rather than bore you–more than I already have–I’ll just make another post. My next Europe post will probably be about Germany.

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