Everyone has heard the saying “when in Rome…”, but it is usually followed by an expectation that the person addressed is going to do something new and out of the ordinary. Now, I usually start to write these posts by considering the strangest and most memorable events that I experienced within the city, and Rome blessed me with an abundance, and as usual, they were not what I’d expect.
I could start with day one, at a water park called Hydromania. And yes, most people would do the cultural stuff first, but ain’t nobody gonna keep me away from water slides.
Cue a few hours later, and there I was enjoying a relaxed swim in one of the pools, when suddenly a wave machine kicked in, along with, bizarrely, some drum and bass, and suddenly we were in the middle of some form of pool party held entirely in Italian. What started as entertaining quickly turned seedy when we realised that there was a dance competition going on, voted entirely by teenage boys, in which the winner was always the girl in the skimpiest bikini. Not wanting to be associated with this kind of thing, we left to be more mature on the watersides. But even there, we witnessed a group of 20 somethings stealing rubber rings for the largest slide off of children. Ah well, we tried.
I could also mention the last night, when we went for food at a quiet pizzeria in a nice square…in full view of what revealed itself to be an anti-Islamic protest.
I could even mention our darkest moment, in which we realised that the only place to get a beer in our near vicinity was a McDonald’s. Let me tell you, waiting forty minutes for a McBeer is definitely not something that I will remember fondly. To top off our shame, we were then sat drinking them at a beautiful fountain that became the site for a touching proposal. The couple, and the audience, clapping and elated; us, left feeling cheap and ashamed.
My time in Rome was truly amazing, despite the fact that I was an idiot and let my shoulders get so burnt that the back-packing part of my back-packing holiday became quite painful. I’m currently sat on a train dreading the commute from Venice station to our hostel with our bags.
Fortunately, this couldn’t overshadow how incredible Rome is. Sites like the Vatican and the Colliseum have been on my wish list for years, and whilst the former confirmed my expectations about the pretentious, self important nature of the Catholic Church, the latter was truly awe inspiring, and I’m glad that we decided to take a tour around it.
Combined with more great pizza and ice cream, Rome is definitely my favourite site so far. Although I did learn that just because the pasta was made in Italy, it doesn’t mean that it is necessarily good. Don’t eat near the Colliseum, unless you want budget pasta that tastes like it was flavoured with Heinz spaghetti hoops.
Anyway, onwards to Venice, the city of Romance. Hopefully it’ll be just as nice going platonically with a mate, or I’m going to have some awkward conversations when I get home…