A few months ago I thought that for a living I would like to be a travel blogger. For a moment I thought that the idea was going to be like any other: I get really excited and put everything into it, then lose interest because other people are much more proficient or at least more passionate about it. Then I realized that no one is as proficient at and passionate about being me as myself and that to blog I don’t really need to be much more than that.
Today I am going to write about Rome. It is the first trip I have ever done on my own where I didn’t meet anyone I had previously known at all. Some think it’s great, some think it’s sad. For me, it feels like the ultimate act of liberation. I’ve been working so hard that making this holiday about what anyone else wants to do on the day is a truly outrageous possibility.
Before coming here I went to Portugal. I was massively under budget, but admittedly I was saved by some family and friends who were really generous and gave me some money spontaneously. Up until that moment, I must have had around €10 to spend. I wasn’t planning on asking for any money but things like busking, fasting and online dating crossed my mind. Thankfully I have been able to pass all of those.
I am glad I brought some money with me. Can’t think of anywhere worse to be ripped off. Salesmen in Rome have these special techniques that are so next level you have to be ripped off at least once to understand. This African guy placed an elephant on my table whilst I was dining outside, I said I wasn’t interested, he said he wasn’t trying to sell anything, he was giving it away because he was celebrating his wife having had a baby. He placed a turtle next to the elephant. I then said I’d give him €1 as a kind gesture. He picked up the elephant, left this boring turtle and walked away. I wasn’t even sure what to think of it.
The waiter told me afterwards that apparently this man becomes a father on a daily basis. He was very nice to me. The restaurant seemed a little cheaper than the others I had seen, but I ended up paying €25 for an unimpressive risotto, a beer and a bottle of water (because a beer cost more than beer in London and they added service charge). So as far as restaurants go, only enter restaurants where you can see a menu in Italian only. Not only will you have better food, but nobody will try to rip you off.
I didn’t really want to spend a lot despite having been given that money so I decided to walk everywhere. Rome is truly gorgeous. Although traffic lights and road crossings have decorative function only and you should be careful because, God forbid, you might get an Italian into trouble for running you over, walking around Rome is like being a woman: there are high peaks around every corner. You begin to take in what you have just seen and “bam!”, along comes another magnificent sculpture or building. There is no getting bored around here. And I don’t know about you but I just love the smell of churches, of which you’ll see a lot. Perhaps it takes me back to being a child, when dipping the tips of my fingers in holy water was a fantastic sensory experience.
Also if you are indeed a woman, you feel so beautiful because everybody who greets you calls you “bella” too. It’s almost impossible not to say hello back. I am currently sitting in Villa Borghese, while this guy is playing the accordion a few meters away from me and it’s so much like being in Paris: super romantic. However, I was a bit perplexed to find that this park has signs for the Wi-Fi area but no signs for the toilet. I suppose if you can connect to the internet, google maps can point you in the right direction eh?
The Vatican city is a must see. It is worth booking a tour, for which you pay €35-40 if I can remember correctly and you skip all the insane queuing. I had the pleasure of being guided by this beautiful knowledgeable Italian woman who told me so much about the history behind it and so many impressive stories about Michelangelo and the Catholic life I felt inclined to dedicate more time to studying religion. I guess that once you rebel away from it so much and realize your potential as a human being capable of making self informed choices, knowing about religion and even participating in it can’t hurt. You need chaos to find yourself but order to succeed.
I believe I would come back here one day, the same way I go to Lisbon and would return to Barcelona. They are all super rich (in content). However, I feel that I should first explore all the places I haven’t seen. Either way, I think travelling solo gives you so much clarity. It is the only way I can get enough time to reflect upon each experience and find the motivation to share it with more people, in this case you. I mean, if it weren’t for the internet, how could my experience become true? How would it even matter? It mattered in terms of present energy of course even if I will never cross paths with the people I have spoken to. However, I am sharing because I think humans can sometimes achieve more when in touch with their inner universe. Get on it!