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Pleased to meet you, Roma

ITALY | Monday, 19 September 2011 | Views [1067]

Well, it was time to bid Scafati and my lovely host family goodbye, hop on the train at Pompei, change in Napoli, and then carry on to Rome.

After all the stories I'd heard about Naples and its dodgy rep, I thought that I was going to have to be really on guard being in the train station with a big suitcase.  However (perhaps because I was on guard), I didn't have any problems whatsoever.

My first impression, on getting out of the train at the station on Rome, was oppressive heat, and the stench of cigarettes.  Apparently, it's everyone's first thought when they get out of the train, and they throw the butts down beside the tracks.  Mmm, delicious...

Ventured onto the metro, also very on guard, because people had told me plenty of stories about pick-pockets in Rome too.  Thankfully, no problems.  In fact, I even had a gallant man help me (without being asked) take my large suitcase up the steps at the end.

The hostel that I had panic-booked because I hadn't organised in advance, and chose because it was the cheapest thing left available, turned out to be a fantastic choice: I fully recommend TwinCities, Rome. I admit that my single room was fairly small, but I definitely appreciated its fan in the heat!  Plus, the owner of this place is awesome and treats you like a friend right from the word go, and the lady gave me plenty of advice on places to see in the city centre.  In a demo of just how small the world is, some French girls arrived, and they were Toulousain and Bordelaise, and one had a cousin at school in Saint-Gaudens, the wee town where I'd worked as a language assistant!

After grabbing a kebab and facing the usual series of 'Are you travelling alone?  Where are you staying?' questions, I set off to check out some of these famous sites.  Went past the Spanish steps, the mass of people around the Trevi fountain, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona with its many paintings on display, aaand... yeah, I'll have to check up because I honestly can't remember it all!

Side note: this was one of my fav places to hang out in Rome.  Great atmosphere and never quite the same twice!

A friend, Gerri, who had been at the camp in Scafati with me, was in Rome, so we met up for dinner.  We had some typically Italian tapas.  Ok, so it wasn't very Italian.  But it was tasty.  Afterwards, we headed for the Campo dei Fiore, and found a cheap bar.  However, I only had time for about one drink before I decided I really should try to get a bus back to the hostel (metro was shut).

I really like the metro.  Because it's hard to get lost.  This bus thing, it was a lot harder.  Ie, I had on my map from the hostel which bus to take and which stop to get off at, but the stops weren't displayed anywhere on the bus (or the shelters, as far as I could see).  Had to test out my English - and, at times, pretend to speak Italian - and ask around, first to know whether I should get off the bus, and then to actually get back to the hostel afterwards.

Anyway, mission accomplished.  Turns out that I pronounce 'dove sta' better than I spell it, and I can understand directions in Italian when I really have to.

Tags: bus, hostel, italy, rome, tourist sights

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Moi, up Mont St Clair in Sète, with my wee Kiwi, Kingi.

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