Hey Now, This Is What Dreams Are Made Of

First off, yes the title of this post is a referene to The Lizzie Mcguire Movie AKA greatest film of all time. Just kidding. Maybe not. Don’t judge.

If you are a millenial like myself and appreciate all this, you might venture to guess that we went to the Colosseum today. Yes, this morning began with a tour of Rome’s most iconic landmark, where gladiators fought to the death and Russell Crowe asked if we were entertained (just roll with the movie references, because they’re not stopping anytime soon). Walking the perimeter, our excitement grew bigger and bigger, and when we finally entered, our expectations were exceded. 
I’ve said it many times before that the most important thing traveling does for a person is give them perspective: about culture, people and in this case, time. Exploring ancient landmarks never ceases to leave me in a state of awe; we are able to follow the same path and see the same structure that human beings inhabited two thousand years ago. If that doesn’t blow your mind, I don’t know what will. 

After making the {literal} rounds, we exited the Colosseum and entered the Roman Forum. Once the center of Roman life, we hiked through the countless ruins, picturing their grandeur in a time gone by. One specific appeal of Rome’s historic lineup is that you are able to behold the full spectrum of living back then: palaces and temples are just a few short steps from modest plebeian structures. Yet another example of perpespective.

By this point, it was only about 11:00 AM, and we had already checked the two most important things off our to-do list. As I mentioned in my earlier post, much of Rome’s appeal comes from the call to wander: we resolved to make our way through various piazzas until we reached the Pantheon, then go from there. We were blessed with gorgeous weather, especially when there was a breeze, so the journey around the city was quite enjoyable. Jordan and Alex are both very similar to me in their comfort with plans, so it took us the morning to really let our gurads down and just explore. Once we realized how relaxed of a schedule we needed, our Roman adventure became that much sweeter. 
We approached the Pantheon and fought our way through the crowds — the first of many other times to come — but it was worth it to see the gorgeous interior (much more impressive than the outside). We then made our way to the Trevy Fountain, which ended up pleasently surprising us! I knew that it was under rennovation and was drained, thus preventing me from having my true Lizzie Mcguire movie moment and tossing a coin in (which would inevitable catch the eye of an Italian popstar who would show me around Rome on his moped while “Volare” played in the background). A girl can dream…. Anywho, poor pitiful me took a picture in front of the empty fountain with a frown on my face, only to realize that they had a baby fountain for the tourists to toss in coins. How thoughtful! Alas, no pop star, but it was definitely a fun memory to make. 

We then weaved our way through the masses to reach the Spanish Steps, where we enjoyed some pleasent people watching despite the constant interruption of, “Selfie stick?” Coming to Rome, I knew I was going to have to be aware of beggers and pickpockets — none of which have bothered us yet — but I had no idea just how annoying the street vendors could get. The Spanish Steps is arguably the most touristy public area we went to, and these solicitors know it. After shoving their product in your face, it takes about three firm “no’s” before they finally leave you be. While we are three very smart girls who are aware of our surroundings and not ones to fall into a scam, it’s still very frustrating to know that you have to really have your guard up at all times. But hey, that’s travel for you, there’s the good and the bad.
After eating a tasty pasta lunch and walking through several other lovely piazzas and churches, we hiked up to the top of a hill overlooking the entire city. I do not use that term lightly: in fact, Jordan’s Fitbit informed us that we walked a total of 12.4 miles, (30,208 steps) and 72 floors today. Our feet are currently rejoicing as we sit in our hostel bedroom.
Atop said hill, we looked out onto beautiful Rome and took in the splendor of the vantage point, then exploring the Borghese Gardens. The gardens were lovely and gave us a much-needed rest stop (I took quite the power nap) and were very lush and green with ample shade and pathways. 

Realizing we might keel over and die if we wandered much farther away, Jordan, Alex and I started making our way back to the area of town where our hostel is located. The hostel, Nika Hotel, has been great so far. It is a hostel, so we’re sharing a bathroom with the other tenants (not really a huge fan of this, but I’m no complainer). The important thing is that it is clean and safe (Marvin, our host, has been very welcoming, as well), plus our room is very pleasant with three, comfortable beds, several mirrors and a sink, lockboxes, a table and most notably, two fans keeping the room from being too stuffy (the Europeans don’t like their air conditioning quite like we do). All-in-all, the location is great, as is the price, so we recommend it! 
As we headed home, we stopped for a sweet gelato/water break (it’s a running joke how much we covet our giant water bottles because we get so thirsty), and then ventured into a beautiful church, the Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiorie. It is such a mind-blowing experience to witness something so ornate, and, while there were still lots of tourists, it felt a little more sacred due to the mass being held in a side chapel. With rest on the mind, we finally approached the hostel and relaxed for a bit, before having a delicious Italian dinner down the street. Tomorrow we head to Vatican City and explore the Roman catacombs, but for now, I am looking most forward to a good night’s sleep!

You may also like