The hottest train ride I’ve ever taken was from Florence to Rome. With 90+ degree heat and 80+% humidity, the ride down was a sauna. When we arrived at Roma Termini (the main train station) we needed to find a Wifi spot because we still hadn’t figured out where we were staying. Yes, my cousins and I like to play things a little more by ear. Fortunately, at the station there was a random “Tour Guide” who offered free assistance to find us a hotel, motel, Holiday Inn…. whatever was in our young adult travel budget.
He called up one of the hotels nearby and we followed him to the building. We pull up to a rather decent looking hotel from the outside – a 3 star; but no, no. Right next to it were huge wooden doors that opened into a floor with trash bags and luggage plopped all around. It looked like a homeless persons den. The layout was like our hotel building in Florence where each level was a different hotel – all 1 star. We all looked at each other and laughed as if we were going to get scammed, robbed, or sold on the black market. Since we were there, might as well check out the whole situation, right?
We took a broke down looking, rickety-gated elevator up to the top floor to Hotel Indipendenza. On the way up it sounded like bolts were coming loose and 2 of the building floors had no lights, so you enter a period of darkness. At the top, the two men at the front didn’t seem too sketchy and we were definitely driven by the 75 euro price point. We checked out the room before we agreed to signing papers, and miraculously this was better than the 100+ franc hotel we stayed at in Zurich. Done and done! Never judge a book by its cover, right? We booked the room for 5 days and went on our way to explore the ancient city. (note: from this experience you can put a little more faith in the random tour guide people roaming the train stations.)
Walking around Roma brought an overwhelming awe of history. Every step we found ourselves at a historic site, which the city tries to preserve as much as possible. Just like Zurich and Interlaken, Roma had elaborate drinking fountains everywhere. Without them, most of our money would’ve been put toward bottles of water since Europe doesn’t freely give out water OR ice like America does. It’s brutal when it’s that hot.
We basically covered most of the spots in the city taking our usual goofy pictures. We took a tour of the Colosseo.
Our tour guide in the Palatino sounded like a narrator from the Travel Channel on the best of shows ending everything in, “…the WORLD.”
We made a wish at the Fontana di Trevi.
Played “Find Me” in populated areas…
We basically ran up the whole way to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica for 5 euros. Why pay 7 for the elevator ride when you can much rather kill your legs? That, of course, meant we had to go back down.
After the first few days of doing the typical touristy stuff, it was time for the weekend. Amazingly, my old friend from Cal Poly, “Jobers”, moved to Rome a few years ago so we met up with him. He introduced us to some of his amazing friends got to experience some nightlife action that we wouldn’t have without him along with a chill day at the beach. Thanks Jobers you made our Roma trip incredible!
Rome is definitely a spot everyone should visit at least once. The few weeks traveling from Germany to Italy has been one of the most memorable trips in my life and I am so lucky and thankful to have had friends in almost every spot I visited. Thanks to everyone who housed, fed, showed us around, and met along the way. It was an unforgettable experience. And definitely a special thanks to my fiancé who supported this trip and my traveling obsession, I love you!