Wow. One week in Rome and it's hard to find the words to describe everything that I've felt already. For starters, it's a beautiful city full of beautiful people but I will rewind back to the beginning.
Leaving the US was a bit of a blur because I basically had to go right from my summer job to the airport. Flying alone doesn't make me nervous but what curse do I have on me that I always end up sitting next to THE WORST PERSON ON THE PLANE. One of them was questionable (possibly a mob boss) and he ate a three pound bag of gummy bears and wouldn't let me sleep because he wanted to play solitaire. The second one on my ten hour flight to Rome was a very mean lawyer who was on the phone all night yelling at people to pay him and purchased three out of the four seats in our row so that he could lie down. What is the curse and how to I remove it?
Arriving in Rome was interesting to say the least. The airport is crazy but the streets outside of it are crazier. Thank the lord I hired a private driver, which I would highly recommend, to take me to my apartment because there is no way I could have figured it out myself at that point of my exhaustion.
My apartment is full of other students who are studying and they are quite adorable because we can have fancy design talks together and get excited about all things design related together. So yay, for people that care just as much about Baroque architecture as me and can name all of the different types of moldings.
So enough about me arriving, here are my initial tips for Survival (and fun) in Italy:
1. You will encounter crazy Italian driving everywhere. THERE IS NO ESCAPE. We are talking like Fast and Furious/ Mario Kart style stuff. I have witnessed three people now get knocked off their Vespas by angry car drivers. I'm surprised I'm still alive because Italians are the craziest and most unforgiving drivers in the entire world. When I said in my last post that I was excited to live somewhere where I can't reliably cross the street... I take that statement back. Never have I ever encountered a city where you have to give yourself a mini motivational speech in order to work up the courage to cross at every crosswalk. Please send positive thoughts my way for all of my street crossings the rest of my stay.
2. THE WATER AND THE BREAD ARE NOT FREE. You think that someone would have warned me about this, but here I am much poorer and a few pounds heavier because of bread baskets I thought were complimentary/ bottomless. When you go to a restaurant and food and drinks are already set up on the table for you, you pay for all of it if you touch it. Doubtful that I will learn from my mistakes though because I love and get excited about carbs more than the average person.
3. Take a walk, you'll get lost but it is okay. The first night Kara and I decided to explore our neighborhood. Around every corner in this city is something beautiful to see. There are random archeological digs every few blocks where you can see temples being unearthed that are centuries old. There are churches with the most extraordinary frescoes, and fountains in every Piazza. Walk around and I guarantee you will be filled with so much happiness from everything the city has to offer. You will get lost because signage in Italy is rather nonexistent, but it is so lovely and the people are very kind and willing to help you with your questions.
4. Public transportation is wonderfully terrifying. Let's start out by saying the first train I saw it Italy was late because it was literally on fire. LITERALLY ON FIRE PEOPLE and everyone was super casual about it because I guess it happens a lot. They also have busses, trams, and the trains to different cities that all run on the same ticket which is good for 100 minutes. There is also no signage to help with with the routes or schedules, and the times are unreliable anyway. However, it all seems to be part of the fun and the lifestyle. It is so fun to hop on a tram and let it take you wherever it may be. I have found many cool places by simply hopping on the wrong bus. Italians also do not care about being late. They like to sit and enjoy things and are very mindful in their lives. They sort of have the "get there when they get there" mindset and always live in the current moment. It's quite lovely, so I guess a train fire every now and then does not phase them and they go about their day.
5. Again, take a walk IN THE ODD HOURS OF THE NIGHT. The main tourist areas are incredible, but they are more incredible at 2 AM. Clearly you need a walking buddy to be safe, but stay up a while longer and go for your walk then. The tourist places are completely empty and the lighting and views are magnificent. You won't regret it
I supposed thats all I have for now, but this weekend I will be traveling to Florence and Cinque Terre so stay tuned for some lovely photos of the sea and some good stories.
I'm Liz Bixenman, an interior design student living in Rome for the semester. When I'm not doing schoolwork, you can find me wearing a cat shirt, reading a book, and most likely eating more carbs than I'm proud of.