I landed in Rome on a flight from Munich, hopped on a train and made it to Termini Station. After dragging my suitcase on cobblestone for a couple blocks, I made it to my hostel. Quick check in and I’m off. Because I only had half a day to spend, I decided to walk and see some less time-consuming monuments to start my trip. I grabbed lunch on the way- cacio e pepe. I saw the Spanish steps, the Trevi fountain and the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II. The last one is a tad out of the way and was only visited because of my lack of direction skills and decision to follow where the shops were. I headed back to Termini Station for dinner- big mistake. Train station food in Munich is incredible, but this was the worst meal I’ve had in Europe. I decided to call it an early night due to the 4 am start I had that day.
I woke up bright and early to head to the Colosseum and be there when it opened. It just so happens that all museums are free the first Sunday of every month! After a wait in a very long but quickly moving line, I made it in. It was rather incredible. I chose to go guide-less and just take in the scenery. After the Colosseum, I headed to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. Those were more breathtaking. You could actually feel like you were walking in Ancient Rome (which you were but in 2017). Climbing the Palatine Hill was completely worth the hike because what. a. view. Then it was lunch time- Spaghetti al pesto. After lunch it was time to see some more sites- the Pantheon, Tempio Adriano, and Palazzo Montecitorio. I walked and walked (and shopped). For dinner, I had my first real Margarita pizza. I decided to head to the Termini station to figure out how I was traveling to the Vatican tomorrow, failed, and instead bought my train ticket for Tuesday.
I woke up at 7:30, brushed my teeth and headed to figure out the metro. [Side note: I have bug bites all over my right arm and two on my stomach and am now terrified of what it is.] Breakfast consisted of a shot of espresso (my first in Italy) and Nutella with a side of croissant. It cost 1,5€ for a one way or 100 minute pass. I found the A line and waited amongst a mass of people. When the train arrived, I was shocked. I have never seen people crammed so tight like sardines. I couldn’t squeeze myself on the first train, but made sure to make the next one. I got off at my stop and everyone around me started running. I joined the masses and scurried to the Vatican where I met salesman after salesman trying to sell skip-the-line tickets for 28€. I chose to wait in line because the lines on day 2 had moved rather quickly. That was a mistake. I waited for two hours to enter the Vatican Museum/Sistine Chapel. The museum was a lot to take in so there was a lot that I didn’t embrace. It was also difficult to learn or understand what things were without a guide. I wandered until I found the Sistine Chapel. It was breathtaking and I even snuck a picture. Post-museum I walked around the block to enter Vatican City. I had hoped to see St. Peter’s Basilica but the line was at least 3 hours long and it was nearing lunch time. I opted instead for outside photos and a stroll through the city. I ate just outside the city at the most quaint little restaurant where I had cacio e pepe and a glass of white wine. After lunch, I headed back into the city to see if I could find alfresco de Rafaello. I failed and decided to shop my way back to the metro station, chocolate gelato in hand. I walked around the train station to plan for tomorrow’s departure and then walked to find a shady area to sit and stare at the first monument I found. After sitting and wandering, I picked a place for dinner. I ordered spaghetti al pomodoro because it’s mandatory in Rome right? I ordered a carafe of wine and drank as the waiters attempted to fix a broken table. I was so content sitting there that I ordered an espresso just enjoyed my last afternoon.
Unpopular Opinion: I find myself bored here. Is it because I’m solo? Everything here is a monument, which is incredibly beautiful, but if it isn’t a monument then it’s covered in graffiti. It’s quite dirty here and every tourist attraction is full of people trying to sell 2€ water bottles or 20€ selfie sticks. I blame Lizzy McGuire for the unrealistic expectations.
- Not buying my Vatican ticket early online and thus avoiding a ridiculous line.
- Coming in June when it’s 90 degrees out and a UV index of 8 with zero clouds.
One tip: There are a ton of McDonald’s around the city. They conveniently sell bottled water for 1€, have air conditioning, wifi, and seating.