When in Rome—
…be a better version of the one who went there before!
I know that the “When in Rome..” phrase is such an old cliché so please pardon my use of it. I have reminders for my future self on my next trip to Rome. My first visit can easily be classified as a fail. It doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy my trip. It simply means it leaves an opportunity for huge improvement.
I was on a solo trip to Rome for 2 days and 2 nights. In hindsight, company is a must next time I visit Rome. The Romans I encountered were not at all friendly so bringing my own friends will ensure I don’t feel absolutely alone.
Or, perhaps it was only because I got sick.
I wasn’t sick when I got to Rome. I was absolutely fine when I landed in Fiumicino. I would have preferred to arrive earlier in the day though instead of that Saturday evening. Since I knew nothing about the place, I felt that the safest way to get to the hotel was by a cab. I had chosen to stay at a Holiday Inn Express, a familiar and reliable brand within my small budget, and it was far from the airport. If only I knew the hotel had no restaurant. All I could have for supper was something from the vending machine. (Hopefully, it is better now.)
Rome was the last leg of my European adventure before heading back to London, which I used as my base. I was a little tired and decided to do nothing upon arrival. There was nothing much I could do being on my own. I was looking forward to going to the Vatican City and attending the Sunday mass the next day. Happiness! That was an item off my bucket list.
Sadly, I did not know that I would not be able to go to the Sistine Chapel. It did not open on Sundays. My not seeing the Sistine Chapel is one of the reasons why I need to go back to Rome.
At least, I got to go to the Colosseum (Colosseo). However, it started to rain so my time there was cut short. The rain, with travel fatigue, must have caused my flu, or whatever it was I suffered from. I was glad I always carried colds and flu medicine. Since there was not much I could do while it was raining, I decided to just head back to the hotel. I was only flying back to London in the afternoon.
I have to say that I was very disappointed at the train station. I had no umbrella so I couldn’t possibly take the bus to the hotel so I wanted to take the cab. I got no assistance from the security guards who simply stared at me. I had to use my phone, on roaming, to call a cab! Oh, and the toilet facility was horrible – dirty and smelly!
Needless to say, I self-medicated myself to sleep and I couldn’t get up early to do a bit more of sight-seeing. I thought I’d save money by taking the train to the airport.. I had time to kill at the central station. I did a bit of shopping, had lunch and then window shopped while waiting for my train. I had already purchased my ticket. I just wish I had read the back of it or the cashier from whom I bought the ticket had told me that the ticket needed to be validated before boarding the train. It cost me 50 Euro in penalty!
Considering all of the above, and the fact that I had a pretty awful BlackBerry and a little point and shoot camera, these are the only pictures I can share. The more reason I need to get back to Rome.
So, here are what I will do next time I go to Rome:
- Visit Rome with a partner, family or friend/s
- Choose a better hotel – near the attractions or at least a very short walking-distance from the train station, with restaurant and breakfast must be included
- Carry an umbrella (for Paris, too)
- Research the places I want to visit before going there and plan itinerary
- Read the back of tickets and all other instructions
- Have cash for unexpected expense
- Know a little of Italian
- Don’t go to Rome on a budget
And I must remember to be a better version of the one who went there before!