Rome wasn’t built in a day, but for us, it didn’t take much longer than a few days to start feeling like we were ready to move on. While in Rome we walked a TON. The temperatures were over 100F every day we were there, peaking at 105F (40-41C…still working on mastering these conversions). We found ourselves struggling to get to the next fountain while walking the city, dunking our heads in the water to cool off, if only for a few minutes. Walking was pretty much restricted to the shady sides of the street. We spent more time in the hostel than we would’ve liked, simply because the heat was so unbearable. We also were in Rome during August, the peak time for tourists. We imagine if we were here in say, October, our experience would’ve been a lot more comfortable.
All of that aside, we had some awesome moments in Rome. We marveled at the Coliseum and how they managed to build it almost 2,000 years ago…and we were lucky to listen in on a tour guide rattling off some facts that were really impressive (in the first few years, they used to flood the ground level for naval battles!). We forced our way through the masses to get up close to the Trevi Fountain, where we were met with policemen blowing ear piercing whistles to get the tourists away from the water. We saw the Spanish Steps while they were completely empty which is pretty rare…they were empty because there was an unattended bag on the steps and the police had to clear them as a precaution. Having the Pantheon to ourselves on a walk home at 3:30am after a night of partying was definitely a better experience than being consumed by the crowds on a sweltering afternoon. We met some cool people from Australia, England, Canada, US, Italy, Brazil and India. We met up with friends from back home on 2 occasions for dinner and drinks. Pope Francis blessed us and our loved ones in St Peter’s Square, where my water bottle didn’t make it past security because it was metal. Thus, we were forced to tough out a few hours in the +100F temps, hungover, without water or food…but it was so worth it. We ate some great pizza, pasta, gelato, cannolis and more. Bottles upon bottles of wine were consumed with a few beers, negronis and shots of tequila mixed in between. The Bros managed to escape the heat of the city and hit the beach in Anzio to cool off for a day, and ended up getting lost for a bit before finding our way back to Rome. We somehow ended up partying in a VIP section at a club near Stadio Olimpico, where Lazio & Roma play their home games (soccer/futbol/calcio for all you non-sports fans). All in all, we managed to survive the heat wave while having a lot of fun…even if that meant having to wash our stinky, sweaty clothes in the hostel sink every day (we’re getting used to this).
Rome was an awesome way to kick off the trip, even if it didn’t live up to the high expectations. We’re sure the jet lag, lack of sleep, absurd heat and crowds had somewhat of an impact, but that didn’t stop us from having an amazing time there. I believe it will be a long while before I return to this ancient city, but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t impressed with the history, architecture, food and culture. In fact, one of my favorite parts of Rome was aimlessly wandering into any church you pass by…and being stunned at how beautiful they were inside. Arrivederci Roma!…it’s time to head south.