It is my third full day in Rome and I am loving it. My flight landed on Tuesday night at 8.30pm, and I arrived at my new home at 10pm. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more disgusting in my entire life having just hauled my luggage up three flights of stairs, so it was straight into the shower for me.
I took myself out for dinner at 11pm. I was hoping that Italy would be like Spain and this wouldn’t be a problem, and I was right. The streets were buzzing!
I had pasta, naturally. I had barely eaten all day, so I also devoured an entire bread basket, one glass of wine and two shots of Limoncello. All that for 8 euros! Madness.
My neighbourhood indeed appears to be the hipster capital of Rome. The only downside is that, because I’m not in the immediate city centre, no one speaks English. I mean no one. This also means there are no English menus, so I am blindly ordering food with my limited knowledge of Italian. On the first night, I befriended some Dutch people who acted as translators for me.
I got home at about 12.30am and was relieved to find that Italians don’t go to sleep until 2-3am (it is a very noisy city and you are very close to your neighbours!), which is my typical bedtime. The days start slow, and people don’t seem to be up before 10am at the very earliest. I’ve found my people!
I live with four guys and only one can speak anything which remotely resembles English. There is a lot of sign language involved. The good news is, unlike my attempts at German, people can actually understand me when I speak Italian.
On Wednesday, I walked into the city centre, which took 30 minutes. I tried to get a sim card but the phone shop needed a copy of my passport to do so, and I wasn’t walking all the way back home in the blistering heat. I think my Australian citizenship should be revoked, because I can’t deal with this heat!
I had lunch in a proper restaurant consisting of a sandwich, coffee and mineral water for €3.30. You can’t even get a coffee for that price in London!
Yesterday, I finally got my phone sorted and then headed over to the Trevi Fountain. What I stupidly did not realise is that it’s closed for restoration until the end of the year. D’oh.
My efforts weren’t wasted, because I had some amazing gelato on the way home: Nutella, straciatella and mint chocolate chip.
Confession: I have no idea what to do in this city. Apart from eating (obviously!) and visiting the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain, I have nothing on my list. I was in such a panic trying to sort out my life in London before I left that I barely gave it a second thought as to what to actually do here.
The driving in this city is insane. It is one of the most pedestrian unfriendly cities I’ve ever been to. When crossing the road, you just have to dart across lanes of speeding traffic and hope for the best.
I’m settling into a loose schedule. Waking up around 10-10.30am, working for a few hours, exploring the city in the afternoon, and then working again in the evening. I’m also studying Italian for an hour a day, as well as forcing myself to speak it around locals instead of being a baby.
Today I am finally off to find a gym, which could be scary. I’m just praying that a) I can find a gym with a squat rack and b) I won’t drown in a puddle of my own sweat.
It is impossible to eat like a bodybuilder here. Protein appears to be a foreign concept; every menu is filled with pasta, pizza and sandwiches. The grocery store near me has four aisles: one for fruit and vegetables, one for pasta, one for bread and one for drinks. They had about 722 variations of bread, but literally three packets of meat.
Yesterday, I was eating breakfast with my flatmates. They were eating chocolate cereal, chocolate chip cookies and Nutella on toast, while I had eggs. The one who speaks a little English asked, “What’s the matter with you? Why don’t you eat chocolate for breakfast?” I’ve been asking myself that same question for a long time.
And, of course, everyone is ridiculously skinny. Gotta love Europeans! I’ve never felt more hench. I don’t think they are used to seeing women (or anyone, really haha) with muscles. On my way from the airport, the bus driver couldn’t lift my suitcase off the ground, let alone into the overhead compartment. It took him a moment to scrape his jaw off the floor when I did it in one motion. So swole. My cab driver also couldn’t lift my case, but he was about 70 so I’ll let him off.
A few people have emailed me asking about the logistics of moving to a new country and living out of one suitcase, and so on, so I will write about it soon. Just let me know if you have any specific questions!
Have you been to Rome? What should I do here?!