I have feelings for Rome; deep, love-like feelings. It is, by far, my favourite city (well, maybe, neck and neck with Lisbon). During the years, I’ve done everything to visit it again and again. If I were to believe in reincarnation, I would say that I once lived in Rome, maybe during the Roman Empire, when it was in glamour. But I don’t believe in reincarnation…
My first trip to Rome coincides with the first plane ticket I have ever bought (before that I mostly travelled for business, by car or by train). It was in the winter of 2007. Wizzair just launched its business in Romania and it had the online buying system completed with a bank confirmation (you reserved online, but needed to go to the bank to make the payment). I remember the price: 8 million lei (some 250 euro back then, if I’m not mistaken). So, I convinced my cousin to come along in this adventure, as the plan was to surprise our boyfriends of the moment with a romantic Valentine’s Day in the city of the seven hills. Of course, she said ‘yes’, so we went online. Once the flight tickets purchased and the hotel reserved (also, this was my first time using Booking.com), the only thing left to do was to be excited.
From this first trip I don’t have many pretty memories – it rained heavily (I was almost always wet and cold), the hotel was awful (tiny, dark, a bit remote), but I saw enough as to make want to go back.
And here it comes, Rome 2nd (in April 2009), ironically, during a business trip to Perugia, where I and my colleague Daniele (Italian, from Verona) created some travel-coolness – but this is another story. We stopped in Rome for some hours, left the luggage at the train station and started wandering around. He took me to an ice-cream place near Fontana di Trevi, promising the best one in the city!
My next visit to Rome, in August 2010, lasted about five hours:
In June 2012, Kiki (the above mentioned cousin) and I headed to Rome for a long week-end. And what a week-end it was! We haven’t slept the night before, celebrating something in Barcelona. Arriving at the hotel (next to Termini Train Station), we were dead tired! The room was not ready (it was early in the morning), so we left our luggage and headed to Fontana di Trevi, to have breakfast on a little street in the neighbourhood.
And what a breakfast it was! After having checked the prices and agreed that they were normal (2 euro for a cappuccino, 3 for a sandwich), we lingered on the terrace expecting the feast. Everything was delicious, no doubt about it. At the cashier’s, it was payment time. After the guy in front of us paid 25 euro, we laughed and wondered what did he ordered? We were left wonders-free after hearing that our own bill was 37 euro, terrace supplement included. After a good laugh (our first tourist trap was also set in Rome!), we decided to spare our efforts and money for the afternoon, as the luck wasn’t on our side.
So, we took a double-decker tourist bus in which we could just… sit, as the heat (around 40 degrees at 11 o’clock in the morning) and the lack of sleep made us mushy. We got even luckier: the bus we got in – and found some front sits, at the top floor – stopped in plain sun after just 5 minutes, as it was break time.
To make the long story short, we had no luck with this one either, as once it finally started, it stopped again for about 20 minutes at the Vatican. On top of everything, there were some Gay Pride activities planned which blocked the roads.
After the morning adventure, all soaking wet from the heat and extremely sleepy, we finally made it to bed; we took a nap and got up to conquer the city in a fresher state of mind. This is when we visited the Sant’Angelo Castle (if it sounds familiar is because you might have seen it in the ‘Angels and Demons’ movie based on Dan Brown’s homonymous novel).
In the evening, we searched several terraces in Trastevere looking for one that had UEFA Euro 2012 on. We landed on a pizza place where the owner was a Romanian from Transylvania (just like us).
The next day we made a decent stay, as nothing happened. Except for the fact that, while listening to the fanfare in Piazza Navona, Kiki had to quickly eat a huge ice-cream she bought as it was melting at the speed of light.
For which we apologise.