I know I’ve been sort of off the radar lately, but nothing particularly blog-worthy has popped up over the past few weeks. But now, it’s spring break, which means that my time in Europe is running out. Since I only have about two months left (and because my friends and family want to live vicariously through me), I thought it’d be best if I traveled somewhere.
Let me tell you, choosing where I wanted to go was a struggle. The problem with studying abroad in Europe is that you have so many options: did I want to go to Athens? Istanbul? Brussels? Reykjavik? Paris, again? If only I had a Time Turner. And unlimited money.
Eventually, after a long and arduous fight with indecision, I chose this city:
(I have no idea how that’s supposed to help you identify the city. I just thought it looked cool.)
Here’s the answer: Rome! It’s got so much history, and plus, it’s only an hour and ten minutes away from Nice by plane. Also, it’s close enough to the Mediterranean so that I hopefully won’t have to deal with actual winter weather until November. (Yes, while Ashland and Richmond have been experiencing snow, I get to have 60-degree weather and sunshine.)
I know it makes more sense to travel with someone else, but times and places don’t always match up. Also, I figure traveling by yourself is ends up being a pretty useful experience (I tend to use extrovert friends as mouthpieces by shoving them at whoever I have to talk to), although it might’ve been smarter for me to go somewhere francophone. Eh. I’ll make do with my fluent English and two words of horribly butchered Italian.
I’m staying in a little room in a university student’s cozy apartment, right near the Tiber River, that I’m renting until March 5. So how’d my day go? I had no problems whatsoever with the plane, train, and bus, but then, being the pro tourist I am, managed to get lost on the way to the apartment. And then, once there, the key decided it hated me and didn’t want to help me open the door. Luckily, I got someone to help me. (Sidenote: either the Mediterranean is incredibly blue, clear enough to reflect clouds, or those were just some really low-hanging clouds I saw from the plane window.)
Then I wandered aimlessly around before having an omelette at a restaurant, where everyone was smiling at this baby who spent her time toddling around, waving at people, or randomly lying prone on the floor. After making the most of the restaurant’s free wi-fi, I climbed down to the bank of Tiber River, where I got a little paranoid when I heard these weird hissing and clinking sounds. False alarm: those were just paint cans in action, and I must say, I’ve never seen live graffiti artists before.
One of my favorite things about European cities is how they have a massive variety of stores in an area as small as a two-block radius. Before I went back to the apartment, I passed a fruit store, a cute craft store, an ominous building with a buzzer system and completely opaque black doors called “Sex Now,” and a gelateria that I resisted entering because my nose was cold.
Wow, this was a really long post. If you’re still reading and haven’t gotten bored yet, I commend you. Stay tuned to find out how many more times I end up getting lost in Rome!