Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 13 - Bill and Claire vs. Rome. Part 1

Our boat from Croatia landed right at 7am on the dot. We disembarked and went through customs, which was surprisingly easy. The stamp we got in our passport has a little boat on it instead of a plane which is suuuuuper cute. We debated walking to the train station but it was a mile and a half and with heavy suitcases (mine is 16 kilos which I think is around 32 pounds) and being exhausted and sweaty we decided to take a cab. All of our new York city training has left us. We got in the cab and didn't ask how much it was going to be. Rookie mistake that we, of all people, should not be making. We get to the station and the taxi driver rapes us. 15 euro for going a mile and half. Ugh. We buy our tickets and wait for the 8:30 train to Rome.
We got second class tickets because when you quit your job to travel you need to stick to a budget. This meant no air conditioning and slightly cramped seats, but I was excited for a train ride nonetheless. This is the stuff you hear romanticized about in novels and movies, a trip across Europe via train. And it was everything it's cracked up to be. The landscape was quintessential Italy. Rolling hills of vineyards and orchards, valleys with little houses and streams, mountains with winding roads straight out of an Audi commercial, and endless fields of sunflowers. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and with the soothing sound of the chugging train and wonderful scenery passing by I drifted off to sleep. But not before I practically chained my bag to me, Italy is known for thieves and pickpockets. The ride was 4 hours, and around 11am it started to get HOT. the forecast for Rome was 33C which i think is around 98F.

It was starting to get very uncomfortable in the car, the sun was blazing and the windows only open up so much. I started sweating- again. Ive never been so disgusting in my life. I had been sweating in extreme heat for over 24 hours straight. It was really like I was taking a bikram class on the trenitalia train. But I kept reminding myself it was good practice for India and just chill out.

Then we got to Rome. After spending a week in a sleepy laid back beach town in Croatia and our scenic train ride, Rome was like a slap in the face. We were in a big city again and it felt kind of good. We started to load our bags in a cab but the driver was nice enough to tell us that our hotel was in walking distance instead of charging us an obscene amount of money to drive around the block. We did have to wander around a little but we found it and were greeted by an extremely well dressed handsome man at reception. He took one look at us and said "it is hot out, no?" yes genius, it pretty freakin hot out there, and I know I smell like microwaved shit right now.I have to say that our hotel was really nice, when in Rome.... Stay at the Galatea on via Genova. On our way out the guy asked us to leave our key because of the pickpockets. We shrug it off and tell him we are from new York so were not worried about that but leave our keys anyway. We took a shower, nap, and then go get something to eat because we are starving. The last thing we ate was cevapi sandwiches the day before. We are so hungry that we go into the first place we see. Unfortunately we are in the times square of rome so we get overpriced and underwhelming pizza and lasagna. And bottled water that is really tap water. So this is a good tip: when in a restaurant only order the fizzy water. After our sub par lunch we head over to the colosseum.

To be perfectly honest, we walked over to the colosseum, it was hot, we were exhausted and there were hoards of people there so we really weren't all that excited to see it. We only had 2 days in Rome (not enough time by far) so we had to pull our panties up and just do it. Once we got inside though we were glad we came. It's hard to explain, it's smaller than I thought it would be,but large enough I can't fit it all into the frame of the camera. Bill is taking lots of video so I assume we will have that (more on that tomorrow) but the gravity of the place is almost hypnotizing. Here is where thousands of people came to see thousands of people die. It's all still here after so much time, wars, and natural catastrophes. The Romans were really serious about making this stuff last for all eternity. Nothing that is built today will stand the test of time the way this building has. The empire state building? Doesn't have a chance. We build stuff like crap these days. We notice that there are signs everywhere suggesting that people do not climb on the ruins but there isn't one guard in site enforcing this so a sprawl out on a two thousand year old column for a photo op. Bill still doesn't have any sunglasses (he lost them in ny) so he's not having such a good time in the sun, we wander around for an hour then decide to call it a day.

On our walk home we decide to buy some post cards. Upon leaving the shop bill feels someone trying to get into his bag. He turns around and starts yelling at this guy who I noticed kind of hanging around us in the shop. The real new yorker comes out of bill and he's throwing around F bombs and getting in the guys face. All this guy does is just smile and goes "oh I was just trying to pass" and shrugs his shoulders, his girlfriend comes out of nowhere and they run away. I'm kind of pissed. How rude is that?! Like, at least in Brooklyn a guy will pull out a gun and tell you to give him money. It's common courtesy to be made aware that you're being robbed. It's sneaky and disgraceful to rob someone by pickpocketing them. He didn't get anything but it was a good reminder to keep a close watch, and a physical hand, on our bags.

It's around 7pm so we decide it's probably a good idea to go back to the hotel and freshen up then come out later after the sun sets when it's cooler. Of course we totally pass out and wake up at midnight. We do a little tv watching in Italian then go to bed for good for the rest of the night.



  1. Rome is so overwhelming and huge! I remember that everytime I turned a corner, there was always another amazing huge and awesome thing in front of me. Like, that Tomb of the Unknown Soldier...jesus! Huge! I'm glad you guys are having fun, despite the heat! It's going to be 100 degrees in NYC today, so I feel your pain.


  2. Sun Glasses shop anywhere? Sorry about the PickPocketer. Glad Bill let the NY-er out of him. No time for being polite!
    Lots of Love