Adventures in Italy – Rome Day 1

Hello, can you hear me? I’ve been so terrible with blogging. Don’t get me wrong, I am still running, and I still love oversharing, but just haven’t been able to gather my thoughts into what I felt was worth a post. None the less, I decided, too bad, and share anyways.

Norwegian Airlines had a killer deal $480 RT from Boston to London and while I LOVE London, lived there for a study abroad, and visited countless times, I decided it was a great gateway to Europe. Plus, after our trip to Seattle, I’ve been drooling over flying on a new Boeing Dreamliner jet. Yes, it was awesome no frillz fun.

Upon a quick in and out of London, we took our EasyJet flight to Rome and to our new home for the next few days.

Rome is the capital of Italy and although it’s not a classic high rise city, it is sprawled out with amazing culture and history! Also, I’m kinda of a ruins addict and these have long last been on my to see list.

After passing out, we got up bright and early, because here’s one tip about visiting Italy that I didn’t know. Book shit in advance, like weeks in advance, especially if you’re traveling May- September. I’ve always traveled in October/November which has soo many perks I appreciate a ton more now (aside from less sunlight boo).

Anyways, the bright and early wake up was because I wanted to go check out Borghese Gallery but completely slacked on booking an advance ticket. They were sold out, but I had this idea that maybe they have will call and I can beg my way in. Nope… these people run a tight shop, no reservations, no entry, so GTFO. Don’t worry though, you’re always welcome in the gift shop. The FOMO in me panicked, but then I realized, I’m spending 8 days in Italy with a trip to Florence included. Plenty of time for me to see naked dudes and duddettes and all the Venuses and Madonnas.

Instead we walked around  the park that surrounds the gallery. I don’t recall what to call it and google map seems to not want to give it a name, but it was a cute what I would call typical city park. You got your runners, your Rollerbladers and your couples making out.

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My brother, working on his OKCupid photos

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Best kinda art, is the free kind if you are me. No need for reservations.

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If you walk south-west of through the park, you slowly bump into Italy’s number one unwanted attraction. Hawkers selling selfie sticks. I guess I haven’t traveled internationally in a while, but it’s all the rage these days. Besides the annoying hawkers, you have a killer view of Piazza del Popolo! It was early as I mentioned so the plaza was scarce of the natural tourist animal that tends to frolic here.

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These sculptures were pretty cool at the end of Via Del Corso, the main luxe shopping stroll of Rome.

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We decided to by pass the Dolce and Gabanna for the side street strolls instead. It was around noon now and the tourist animals have come in packs known as tour groups.

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The Spanish steps were under constructions so no glorious photos there. Yes Rome is full of history. You know what else it’s full off, scaffolding! But actually we were extremely lucky, because as I heard, there was a bit less than in the past this May.

Yes, another FOMO moment, but the Trevi Fountain made up a bit for it. It is beautiful and aside from an tourist lady climbing over a barrier in between me and my brother taking a photo, it was mesmerizing to watch.

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We continued the walks. Honestly, every streets ends in a piazza, so just get lost.

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As you walk around, you might notice these closed off city blocks. This one in particularly is Largo di Torre Argentina. 400-300 BC. My favorite part? It’s also a cat sanctuary! A certain emperor who cried et tu brute was murdered here. #trustnobitches

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Rome is hot…. shade can sometimes be a scarce unlike water, plenty of water with Rome’s cool fountains. So prepare to squint a lot, or bring a hat!

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My brother, Tony’s mom, Tony’s sister, ME, Tony while Tony’s dad takes the photos.

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With all the heat and son, Rome’s churches truly end up being a blessing. Plus they’re kinda cool to look at. But it’s a sweet refuge for some cooled shade.

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After recollecting our energy, it was time for our tourist attraction of the day. The Rome Forum, Ancient Rome’s White House and Washington D.C. Ruins.

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You ticket to the Colosseum, also gives you access to the Forum and Palestine hill, and while you get a pretty good view from above for FREE, if you’re already paying for one, wandering through this mess is still worth an hour of your time. Like everything else, get your ticket in advance, or be ready to queue for a while in the bright Roman sun.

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If I had to describe Italy in one word, I would say confusing. If there’s one industry they want to strongly sustain, it must be the large organized tour groups because there is absolutely no signs in Italian, English or Latin in any attraction we’ve gone. I used the free Steve Rick’s guide and that’s me trying to figure out which stack of old columns he’s talking up.

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If you have a specific thirst to know everything you’re looking at, I say invest into a great guidebook because even as I was overhearing some local guides, it kinda sounded to me like each one made up their own story.

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As for me, my main interest was to stump around and pretend I’m in the land before Christianity.

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No matter what ruins you go, which country you are in, the heads are always missing. Where do they go? Are they in the same alternate reality that one of my socks always leaves to when I do laundry?

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Rome is known for its seven hills, and Palentine Hill as the hills queen of the other 6. There’s something empowering about looking down onto a city, plus the view of the Colosseum isn’t too shabby. I don’t know if not many tourists make it up the hill, or if it was because we went around later afternoon, but it was a refuge from the usual tour group insanity that is Rome. No one even offered us to sell us a selfie stick here.

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I guess models we are not

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and my brother eventually found his new best friend.

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For the evening, we went for a stroll on the other side of the river over to Trastevere, which is pretty much the expat hipster mecca of Rome. A former working class neighborhood with the typical gentrification struggle. It’s relatively peaceful during the day, but similar to us, everyone got the memo that this is the hood to stay for dinner, and it was packed with Tourists.

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With some TripAdvisor guidance, we found Grazia & Graziella. Judging from the appearance of all five of the waiters,  I’d guess that one of the hiring requirements is a properly kept beard. There’s usually a long wait, but we went fairly early (7pm is early to Italians looking for dinner) and only waited about 20 minutes. The host graciously kept refilling our glass with welcome Prosecco.

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I promise, this was a lot tastier than it looks. Mmmmm… rocket with smoked salmon!

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Before we knew it, we were stuffed, and ready for some ZZZzzzz.

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