A week ago tomorrow I waved farewell to the waters of Venice and hopped on my last Flixbus (until, like, next Thursday, anyway) to Rome.
The bus had the absolutely appalling gall to not have decent wifi — what is this, 2003?! — but the scenery was pretty neat. Maybe not 7 12 hours’ worth of neat, but still neat.
So I got to Rome, and managed to figure out how to get to my hostel with only relatively negligible fuckups. The hostel was kind of weird, one of those where there’s not really any staff, per se, just the owner and like a back-up door person. Which is fine, except that the back-up door person doesn’t necessarily tell you things like “oh there are two different wifi networks” and “sometimes the front door key doesn’t really work.” But my dormmates were chill, so I abandoned my vague ideas of wandering the area in favor of sitting on the floor drinking wine and processo and talking in a weird mix of mostly English, some Spanish, a bit of random French and some unintelligible (to me, obviously) Portuguese.
Time well spent, I think.
Tuesday I apparently decided to make up for all the time I’ve spent being a sloth in various places instead of sightseeing.
In all honestly, I’ve never had a burning interest in visiting Rome, despite how endlessly fascinating ancient Greco-Roman history; I really don’t know why. I guess maybe I’m used to history being carefully cordoned off into museum displays and special exhibits and gated castles, but jesus christ, I was not prepared to just wander down the street and see the fucking Colosseum just kind of lounging in the distance like it ain’t no thing.
Didn’t do a tour inside, because I figured I’d kinda wander around the first day and pick a one or two things to actually see on Wednesday, which didn’t really happen, but oh well. From there I headed to the Trevi Fountain, except not really, because I got lost, of course.
Fortunately, in Rome, apparently “getting lost” sometimes just means “oops, I accidentally wandered into the Roman Forum,” which, I mean, I guess could be worse.
Also the Temple of Minerva, which was somehow even more striking than the Forum, because it’s just right fucking there, these millennia-old ruins just off the roads that people wander tiredly along on their way to work. I mean I get it, on a smaller scale, having lived in DC and Boston and such, how short a time it takes to get used to things that people travel from across the globe to see just being a part of your daily routine, but like, the Jefferson Memorial is not, like, this.
I tried to take a break and found some wifi to
catch some Pokemon absorb the amazing atmosphere around me, but was immediately approached by some dude who’s like “Hey! You are from Africa?” I’m like yeah, dude, what clued you in. Which is what sucks about these super-solicitous areas, the laws of inertia apply so hard: if you’re walking, you can just keep walking and ignore them, but if you’re sitting still already, it’s infinitely harder to get up and start walking away. But he shoved a couple bracelets and a carved elephant at me; I sighed and took them, gave him a couple euro in change as entreated but not, however, my number.
Which I guess is as good an impetus as any to move on, and Trevi Fountain was pretty fucking spectacular.
From there I went to the Pantheon, and I have to admit here, the Pantheon did not do all that much for me. I mean, it was cool, of course, and worth seeing, but I sort of walked in, looking around, was like, “huh, that’s cool;” looked up at the ceiling, was like, “huh, that’s cool, too,” and kinda… walked out. Perhaps some of you will have more appreciative eyes than mine.
And the Piazza Novella, which was (a) astonishingly gorgeous, and (b) made me wonder exactly what hallucinogens the ancient Roman sculptors were actually on.
Which I’m sure has been the subject of more than one interdisciplinary PhD thesis anyway.
And finally limped to the Spanish Steps and hobbled along the Tiber River for awhile until I finally found a metro station, as I’d been planning to do about six hours earlier.
And so finally oozed my way back to the hostel, where I discovered that on top of my general body fucker I’d sightseen my way into some sort of exceptionally attractive bloodblister/callus hybrid on my big toe, so minus one sock there. No pictures of that, because you’re welcome.