World Travels: Rome Day 1

Why is it that the experiences you enjoy the most are over the quickest? How can we preserve this precious time so it never ends? I asked myself these questions as I slid the van door shut, leaving behind my ocean paradise for my next destination. I was hurting this morning from my birthday celebration the night before and was not looking forward to footing this steep bill to catch my bus in Naples. Basically, if you need to take a bus to get anywhere outside of the Amalfi Coast by 10am, your best off hiring a car service (usually pretty pricy) to get you there. The van rumbled up and around the hillside as I tried to keep my head from spinning, so badly wanting some fruit and water over the two chocolate bars I actually had at hand. My plan for blogging throughout this trip was to batch process my blog posts as I traveled in between my destinations to keep all of the trip's details in order. It was a supposedly seamless plan...or so I thought. But birthday wine changed those plans almost instantly. A short ride later, we pulled into the Metropark via Lucci station, where I then boarded the Megabus to Rome. For the rest of the ride, instead of composing my Positano reflections, I wavered between states of restlessness to get to Rome, sleepiness since I didn't get the rest I needed, and curiosity as I passed a beautiful Italian countryside. But sometimes you have to play hard and sleep harder.

Sometimes you have to play hard and sleep harder.

Finally arriving at the Rome bus station, the driver handed me all 45 pounds of luggage before I had to find a way to get to my next AirBnB. Although the metro station was across the street, there was no way I was going to be able to drag my bag down to a platform and decipher a map I'd never looked at. Eventually, after trying not to look too lost and touristy, I was able to find the taxi stand outside of the station, where an attendant waved down a taxi, and I was able to finally settle for a moment to take in my surroundings.

After a long car ride including my driver getting lost (hey, it wasn't me this time!), we finally arrived at my AirBnB in Trastevere, Rome. As my taxi pulled away, the humidity quickly reminded me that I no longer had access to the cool sea breezes I'd gotten accustomed to from the past few days. My host greeted me downstairs where we immediately began a detailed lesson on how to use the several keys to get inside. The apartment was hostel-style, in that we shared a bathroom and kitchen outside of our private rooms. I booked the Yellow room with very modern decor and lots of space to spread out over the next four days.

After a quick refresh, I hit the streets of the Trastevere (pronounced Trah-steh-ver-ay) neighborhood in order to find a restaurant to get rid of my hunger headache. I shortly arrived at Alle Fratte di Trastevere, where I was greeted by the spirited owner of the restaurant. After chugging probably half of the bottled water, I ordered the Gnocchi alla Trasteverina.

This meal gave me the charge I needed for my adventures for the rest of the day. First stop: the Passeggiata del Gianicolo overlook. As I made my way to the park, I took in the unique scene that is Trastevere. Often labeled as a "young" area, you could feel the authenticity of the residents and their beloved neighborhood. I felt a very colorful and positive energy here that made me glad I would be spending lots of time here during my visit in Rome.

Surprise, surprise! I got lost again. Luckily this time, I wasn't deeply immersed in mysterious forests, but just on the wrong side of the park. Sidenote: One of my most trusted apps during my travels, called Here, was a life-saver in helping me navigate the Italian streets. It allows you to download the map area of your destination directly to your phone, making it easy to still find your way around while offline. Since I had a limited data plan, this app was a true time-saver when Google Maps just wasn't cutting it. After several minutes enduring an uphill walk, I found myself, again, faced with a daunting staircase. You'd think at this point, after hiking hundreds of stairs, as well as hiking three miles in Positano, such a feat wouldn't exhaust me. But I decided that this would be my trade off for eating an excessive all-carb diet. In addition, I was beasting my step goal everyday!

Breathless and relieved, I made it to the top of the stairs and turned the corner to follow a tree-lined street. A massive monument, called the Monumento a Garibaldi, planted itself at the end of the street's roundabout. Upon reaching the monument, I lost my breath again from the view I witnessed. Unknown to me before starting this trek, my destination actually served up a beautiful overlook of all of Rome. I could spot iconic buildings that bring millions of tourists to Rome every year, including the Roman Forum and Vittorio Emanuele II. Definitely worth the hike.

After soaking in views of the city, I ventured back down through Trastevere to the Ponte Sisto (ponte is bridge in Italian) which crosses the River Tiber. After crossing the bridge, I got to capture a beautiful cathedral, called the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Campo de Fiori, and the surrounding neighborhood for a bit.

The rising temperature and amount of walking I'd done up to this point had me quite parched. It had been a long day of travel and exploration, so I treated myself to a cold glass of pineapple juice at a nearby bar before heading back home to get ready for dinner. As I walked home, I came upon a gelateria called Fatamorgana. Up until this point of my trip, I'd only longingly stared at passersby as they indulged in dripping, colorful cones of various gelato flavors. Being on a dairy-free diet but me at odds with this must-do activity while in Italy. Thankfully, this gelateria offered several dairy-free flavors to choose from. I could hardly contain my excitement as the lady scooped the chocolate treat onto a cone. My gelato FOMO (fear of missing out) had disappeared! Like a spoiled child, I nearly skipped home as I indulged in what was probably the best gelato I'd ever had.

After freshening up, I set out to end my night with a nice dinner. Despite it being late in the day, there were a number of restaurants still open serving guests. I stumbled upon a restaurant just minutes away from my home and enjoyed a nice pasta meal to complete my day.

Interested in more of my Italian adventures? Check out my daily posts from Venice and Positano!

 

Have you been to Rome yet? What were some of your favorite highlights? Comment below!