At 3am I grabbed my backpack and was out the door, walking to the nearby train station. I figured with an early morning ride I would be able to enjoy Rome with as much time as possible. I arrived in Rome at 8am, grabbed a metro to another place that I would be meeting a guy who would be hosting me as a couchsurfer and who happened to be a tour guide.
I’ve been doing a lot of traveling on my own and this was no different; I was in “the eternal city” by myself.My mission for this trip was to:
Wander to see things outside of what a tourist would see but…
…of course see the Colosseum,
and eat more gelato that I’d ever admit.
I’m happy to say that I successful did all three.
On the first day I was able to take a free walking tour of Rome. I HIGHLY suggest this tour not only because it’s free (a tip is welcome and definitely deserved), but because they take you to other places that are off the beaten path. My guide walked me through the history of the city and showed the group some awesome places that could be easily overlooked but shouldn’t be.
After the tour I went and back to my couchsurfing host’s flat. It’s actually really funny to me that people think I’m rich while I travel. I’m 100% ok with sleeping on someones couch if it means that I get to experience a new place. It shouldn’t matter where you sleep, as long as you get to go somewhere.
I dropped off my things and explored the city. First stop: The colosseum.
I grabbed a bus that took me directly in from of the colosseum and right into the madness that this well known attraction would bring.
While I was all smiles and happy to be somewhere that I only imagined seeing in history books I was also slightly disappointed. There were tourists EVERYWHERE. I guess I can’t judge because I’m one technically one too but it’s sad to see something with so much history become nothing more than an attraction. I didn’t even stay too long. I snapped a couple photos and was off to see other things that were close.
I checked out other ruins and old architecture before heading back to the flat.
That night I was able to go out with my couchsurfing host and even meet some of his friends. He showed me where the locals like to go and I was able to try local craft beers. I was able to explore and drink in the city while avoiding most of the touristy over-Americanized bars. I say most because I did also check out the Ice Club, a bar made entirely of ice. It’s situated down a dark ally and is easy to miss if you aren’t looking. It was 15 euros to get in which included a free drink (2 free drinks if you have the map of Rome.) They give you a cape to keep you warm but I didn’t stay long. It’s a small bar and your drink choices are very limited.
I also got to try chocolate shots; Cioccolata e Vino is a bookstore by day, chocolate shot bar by night. The 15 minute wait is well worth it for these chocolate shot glasses that have to be eaten as a whole. They taste so good you wouldn’t even know you are taking a shot.
The next day I decided to get a little lost. I grabbed a metro and ventured into the city. I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of a lot of the places I saw. I can, however, tell you that if you want to get lost somewhere, this is the place to do it.
I ventured, shopped, ate, and just enjoyed my day really taking in the city as a whole instead of rushing from place to place trying to cram everything the city has to offer in one weekend.I wandered my way through Rome: grabbing my meals at local eateries down back alleys, instead of the Americanized restaurants situated close to the bigger attractions, shopping in the local stores to get some teas, and other various goodies made in Italy instead of tourist shops for meaningless pins and shirts made in China, got gelato multiple times throughout the day and ended up in the Villa Borghese gardens just in time to catch the sunset from above the city. I did my touristy things (of course) but I also did my wandering too.