Travel Diaries: Rome, Italy (part I)

I arrived in Rome 2 days after the city’s first snow in 6 years.

Safe to say, it was pretty damn cold. I was so unprepared for this I lugged my suitcase over uneven cobblestones for twenty minutes looking for my hostel (which was supposed to take one third that long), unable to use my phone to navigate because my fingers were numb and turning purple. I eventually stumbled into a coat shop and spent 70 euros (on sale from 150 euros!) on a big puffer jacket that went down to my knees and had a thick hood.

Thus prepared, I ventured back out into the cold.

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My favorite way to start exploring a new city is to spend a day just walking and see what I find. And man, Rome did not disappoint! Despite the cold, the weather was GORGEOUS, providing clear blue skies and gallons of sunlight. Everything in Rome seems to be saturated with color, like an old photograph.

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There were motorcycles, vespas everywhere. Drivers are insane here, and I quickly learned that the only way to cross the street is to just start walking and hope everyone will stop.

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Though it had stopped snowing by the time I arrived, there were remnants of the weather everywhere. It was so cold and clear that it took several days for much of what had frosted over to defrost. I have to say, though it was annoying to slip over slush and ice, it made for some beautiful pictures!

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In Paris last month I began to realize I have a knack for coming across high places and amazing viewpoints. I don’t know that there are too many hills in Rome, but I walked up what appeared to be an old castle and got to see this…

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Have you ever seen snow and palm trees in the same place at once? Me neither.

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One of the things I still can’t get over is the color that seeps through the city. Absolutely everything appears to have been brushed over with handfuls of sunlight in a million shades. Dense oranges, light golds and yellows, marigold and dusky browns… Combined with the gorgeous architecture you can find throughout the city, the effect is magical.

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I keep walking into shops and mumbling an awkward “bonjour” before my tongue remembers that was last month and now it’s “buon giorno”. In fact, I’ve answered many questions with either a blank stare and “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Italian!” or a mash of either Spanish or French.

I’ve never actually gone to a country where I don’t speak the language.

I mean, in China I had a tour group and translators, in Singapore and Iceland nearly everyone speaks English. I taught myself enough French to get by there and understand what people were saying to me… But until this trip I didn’t know any Italian save for “ciao!”

Luckily many people here speak English, and I’m finally responding to people with “grazie!” instead of “gracias”.

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So far Rome has been a lot easier to explore than Paris. Like any city, it’s easy to cross on foot in a day, and people are not as rude to you here if you don’t speak English. I’ve been asked if I’m German or if I’m Russian, but not yet if I’m American until I speak.

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I’ll write more about this beautiful city later, when I can really sit down and contemplate things. I have millions of notes in my phone.

But for now, I wanted to show you some photos of this stunningly beautiful world we live in.

Enjoy!

 

 

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