First Date With Rome

Buongiorno! It has been a long, long, long day of travels and sightseeing, and I’m so relieved to finally be in Italy! Due to some random circumstances, I was placed on a flight to Rome nearly nine hours ahead of Jordan and Alex’s flight. This meant that I arrived in Italy at 5:00 AM Houston time…..and didn’t get nearly any sleep on the plane. 

My incredible view from the plane of the Swiss Alps!

With exhaustion looming, I took a half hour power nap after checking into our hostel and dragged myself out of the impending sleep coma. A full day without sleep is not fun, but nothing is worse than jet leg. I begrudgingly came to the conclusion that the best way for me to overcome this tiredness was to thrust myself into Roman life by walking around the city until I met up with my friends.

This decision was a big step for me, both physically and mentally. As someone who ALWAYS has a plan — especially on vacation — I opted to seize this opportunity and step outside my comfort zone….with no map or checklist guiding me for a whole afternoon. Carpe diem!

I decided to start heading toward the Colosseum and go from there. Based on everything that I’ve heard, nothing inspires newcomers more than seeing this grand structure initially, and my did it impress. I continued on and resolved to not actually go into any spots because of what we might accomplish later, plus the whole purpose of this excursion was to get a feel for Rome. 

Moving on, I traveled around the Forum, which is remarkable in both size and diversity. I then made my way to the Temple of Venus — a highlight for me — and started wandering from there. Still needing some sort of direction (I can’t quit planning that cold turkey), I set my sights on the Pantheon. This was going to be quite the trek, but still having several hours to kill, I figured, why not?
After miles and miles of following both crowds of tourists and a handful of signs, I finally came to the Pantheon. From the outside, my socks weren’t exactly knocked off (this may seem bratty to say, but I had beheld many, many other landmarks already). Unsure of how long my new route would take to get to the train station where I was to meet Jordan and Alex, I decided it best for me to head in that direction. Knowing that I simply must have some gelato on my first day in Italy, I popped into a little shop and got a glorious chocolate-hazelnut cone. Gelato in hand, I ventured through off the path piazzas, delighted by the simply beauty of the facades.

My very tasty snack!

To me, Rome is a fascinating city. It is smelly, dirty and sometimes harrowing, yet it’s moments like these that make me appreciate it in a way no other city has before. What Rome lacks in manners, it makes up for in charm. On one hand you have hoards of smokers bumping into you and nearly running you down on their scooters, and yet you can’t help but be taken aback by the lighthearted, exuberant vibe this city offers. Rome is the friend that pulls you out of your shell and dares you to be more spontaneous: even the roads take unexpected turns and lead you to places you didn’t plan on going. 

As I strolled through this marvelous  city, my excitement level continued to rise because I knew that these next few days spent here are going to be filled with adventure and intrigue. Rome is called The Eternal City for many reasons, including its ability to captivate explorers from their first impression, as it did mine. Ciao!

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