“I’ve been all over the world… I’ve been to Canada…”
Going to Rome is a bit like going to Disney World. Everyone goes and everyone takes the same pictures. Still, it doesn’t mean that anyone would want to skip these places or avoid the sights. After wandering off the beaten path a bit in Vienna, I came to Rome to be a tried and true tourist, ready to strap on my proverbial fanny pack and brave the crowds.
On my first day I wanted to get up super early to shower and head out, but unless I have a flight to catch or somewhere to be, I really can’t get out of bed before the sun is fully up and at 7am it still wasn’t. I finally got rolling a little late at 10am and decided to go straight to the Vatican because I heard so much about the lines and because it was one of the farthest places away. As soon as I got there, all I saw were herds of people in some form of a line and couldn’t make out an entrance, so I forgave the idea of going in and just wandered off.
Walking Rome aimlessly is easy because the free maps are detailed and have huge pictures, so I would mostly just walk in any given direction and find myself on the map later. I walked from San Pietro to Castel San Angelo, crossed the Tevere to Piazza Navina to the Pantheon. It was here that I realized just how many of the sights in Rome are free. Generally on this trip the things I’ve done have been so inexpensive compared to the States. Besides hanging in a park or going on the Staten Island Ferry, what can you really do in New York that is under $10? This is why I never do anything at home at all.
From the Pantheon it’s just a short walk to the Trevi Fountain and Piazza di Spagna. Clearly I don’t know enough about Roman history because I don’t really get these sites. It’s a fountain. And some stairs. Didn’t I see this in Las Vegas? Whatever, I still took pictures of them. Disney World.
From Piazza Spagna I was far away from anything I wanted to see, so when I saw a sign for the metro I just jumped on it and went to the Colosseum. It’s a pretty interesting structure, but I didn’t connect with it so much just because it is SO old and over the past 2000 years it has both fallen apart and undergone renovations. I just don’t know how much of what I’m looking at is original. I like to see ruins because they’re… ruined. Not because someone fixed them. That’s just me though. Maybe I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth. Regardless, it’s still absolutely beautiful and I repeatedly thought “holy shit” to myself every time I walked past it over the four days I was here.
By this point I’d been walking 7 hours and my feet could not fathom seeing another sight, so I found the nearest bodega equivalent and went to stock up on some PB&J supplies instead. 20 minutes and 16€ in basic food staples later, I asked the bodega cashier if they carried any plastic knives I could have. He was about to ring me up and charge me for one when I just pretended it was free, put the knife in my bag, said “grazie, thank you so much,” and walked home.