When I planned my vacation for November 2016, I saw that one of the flight options put me in Rome from 6PM one evening to 1:30 PM the next day. I typically hate layovers (not saying I don’t book flights with them if the price is right, though) but for this one, I actually didn’t mind because I had never been to Rome, and this would give me the opportunity to hit the hot spots solo dolo and be on my merry way. A “hit it and quit it” if you will. So, I booked…
I’d be lying if I said Rome was a place I’d always wanted to visit, and that I spend a great amount of time planning my day out so that I could have everything timed perfectly. I actually didn’t even search online for the “must sees” until two days before my trip. I posted in the travel forum I’m apart of and posed the question, “You’re in Rome for one night. What you choosing to do or see?” I’m glad I did that, because I got about four or five responses that were all consistent with each other. The last response actually broke it down for me step-by-step, so I copied her comment and pasted it into my itinerary. That was easy. LOL!
I was scheduled to land in Rome at 6:15 PM, but my flight from New York was about an hour delayed, so I didn’t land until a little after 7PM. By time I got through immigration and customs, it was well-past 8PM. Ubers and taxis in Rome are expensive for no reason, so I paid 6 euro to get on a shuttle bus that took me to Termini Roma, which was about a ten-minute walk from the Generator Hostel Rome. Side note: If you know me, you know I’m a bit bourgeoisie, so if I am staying in a hostel, you know it has to be a dope one. Generator Hostels are located in a few places around the world, and I’ve stayed in a total of three. I have never been disappointed. *In my Tami Roman voice* Get into it.
I checked into my room, spramped some water onto my nether regions (because long day of flying), and followed through with the prescribed itinerary. I caught an Uber to the Colosseum Roma, and discovered how cool it looks at night. I walked around for a bit so I could find a spot where I could get a great photo, and then I tried not to look creepy, as I stopped strangers to ask them to take a photo of me in front of the famous structure. A couple people took horrible photos, and I kept lying by telling them they were “good,” just so I could send them off and try again with someone else. So I stuck around for about an hour until I got some photos I actually liked. The homeless people nearby were laughing at me as I was jumping around for the photos but who cares…at least I…never mind.
Next, I was off to the Spanish steps. I could have walked…it was about a mile away…but nah. It was late and I was hungry. I wanted to see these places and get to some food. So, I hopped on a bus (the busses are free) thanks to Google Maps’ instruction. These steps are supposedly iconic, and they were closed down for months for repairs, but I was definitely underwhelmed by them. Since it was late, there were only about 7 other people there, as opposed to the herds of people I saw in the online photos, so that was cool. I walked to the top of them to see if the view from the top is what made them so “iconic” and well…nah. But hey, I was there.
Next, I walked less than a half mile (two laps around the track - that’s how I measure walking distances, LOL) to the Trevi Fountains. This is where all the people were. There were at least a hundred or so people out there just chillin’ and looking at the fountains, and learning how to use their selfie sticks. I snapped a couple photos trying my hardest not to get the other tourists in them, and then I traipsed on to the next spot - The Pantheon.
The Pantheon was rather close as well, so I didn’t have to hail a car. I would caution women to avoid walking these streets in the evenings alone, though. There are a lot of alleys and barren streets, and it just looks like the perfect set-up for some foolery to occur. Be careful. When I got to the Pantheon, I was again underwhelmed with how it looked to my naked eye. However, my camera made it look like the whole area was painted in gold. Maybe that’s how the scene really looked, but I was just too hungry to notice, apparently.
Speaking of hungry…I didn’t have time to Google or search for “the best food in Rome” at that time because it was already midnight so most places were closed. I opted to eat at one of the restaurants right there by the Pantheon. I sat outside, enjoyed a couple glasses of wine, bruschetta, and Fettuccini Bolognese. I walked over to the Piazza Novano, and as expected, nobody was there and the restaurants were all closed, so I’m happy I ate when I did. I hear that’s a great area for food, though, so keep that in mind.
It was time to go back to my room. I decided that if I was going to go to Vatican City the next day, I wanted to go big. I wanted to snap a photo from the top of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Since I heard that the lines get crazy, I set my alarm for 7AM to make sure I was one of the first ones at the location the next morning.
When I got to Vatican City the next morning, there was a security checkpoint I had to go through. Side note: They made me open my bag (I had my bags with me because I was heading to the airport right after) because they didn’t recognize one of the contraptions in there. It was my Andis clippers - #BlackManProblems. At first I decided that I was not going to take the stairs because I had my heavy bags with me, but then I saw that we could check our bags for free, so that was God’s way of telling me, “You have no excuse.”
There are a total of 551 steps to climb. You have the option of paying a tad extra if you’d like to take an elevator for the first 300 steps. Also, if you are claustrophobic, this may not be the activity for you. Some of the passageways during the climb are extremely narrow. Since I had pasta the night because I thought I’d be ambitious and take the stairs the whole way…I hate me, today. But once I got to the top, and sat for a bit to catch my breath, that same breath was taken away when I took in the views from the top.
So, am I happy I went to Rome? Yes. Am I excited to go again? Meh. It’s not a place I’d recommend an extended vacation. If you have the ability to do a stop-over, or a couple days there while you visit other countries/cities in Europe, I say, “Go for it.” Just stick to these top 5 spots and you should be good:
- Colosseum (maybe even see a show, or go on a tour if you can)
- Spanish steps
- Trevi Fountains
- Vatican City