Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | October 13, 2012

A Roman Segue in an Ode to a Grecian Turn: Day Fifteen

Well, that settles it. I’m definitely homesick. I think I might have fared a little better (i.e. been less wimpy) if I wasn’t traveling alone and/or I was in a country where I spoke the language.  For this small city girl, the Big City is scary enough without the added challenges brought on by not understanding a word going on around you.  I’ll admit I feel lonely, even though I’ve had company on and off, because that company wasn’t my friends or my family.  I miss the people I love, and who love me back.

A view of Rome.

But enough of my being maudlin.  I’m in Rome this evening, after starting my day in Athens, and that alone is pretty impressive.  I’ll admit part of my blues is likely due to lack of sleep; as ever, any night before I get on a plane is a restless one. I am terrified of not making it to the airport on time and missing my plane.  As a result, I wake up far too early, have a hard time eating breakfast (though I pushed myself, knowing I would be on a plane over lunch time on too short a flight to be fed), and then am a ball of nerves until I’m at the airport and through security.  This, of course, meant that I took a taxi and got to the check in desk in plenty of time.  Far, far too much time, in fact.  Given the plane was staying within the EU, my rule of “leave at least three hours for security” were far more than needed.  I stood at the check in desk line for over an hour until it opened.  Seriously.  Thank God for free WiFi in the Athens airport because I’m not sure what I would have done without it.

Arriving in Rome, it took quite some time for my baggage to arrive, but eventually it came around the cart, so I heaved my backpack onto my back and trekked to find a taxi.  I’m staying at a place I found on a website called AirBnB.  It’s my first time using this site, which allows you to find people with air mattresses, private rooms, and even whole apartments for rent. It’s a bit nerve wracking at first, but I sent out a couple of notes and had managed to book with a lovely lady called Evelin, who opened a private room in her apartment so that she could learn about other cultures.  I read her profile and felt like she offered a safe place for a woman traveling alone.  It also gives me the opportunity to get a feel for another part of the city, one that isn’t tourist geared.  It was an expensive taxi to Evelin’s place (60 euro), but I was too nervous to attempt the bus with my bags.  On the way back, I will try the Metro to the train that goes directly to the airport, since it will be cheaper and I’ll be a little more acclimatized to the public transportation here.

A view of Rome.

Evelin came down to let me into the apartment.  She’s originally from Bolivia, and English isn’t her first language (it may not even be her second) and she normally uses Italian. Her English is not as poor as she suggests, but I did have to be reminded to slow down my break neck rambling.  Evelin kindly showed me to where a few places of interested to me might be: a small park where I can access WiFi, a place that sells fantastic Gelato, a Tavernas where I could have dinner, the Metro stop, and a market where I can pick up some food tomorrow.

Evelin had plans with a friend for the evening, so she went out (after getting me a set of keys and making sure I could work them), and I went to explore the neighbourhood a little and make sure I could find my way back. It’s Sunday, so much of the shops on the street were closed, including the Market.  I walked down a few blocks hoping to find an open pharmacy, because I am out of sunscreen and wanted to get some for tomorrow.  I don’t know if it is just that most things in this neighbourhood are closed because it is Sunday or, like the Greeks, they keep different hours than I’m used to, but whatever the case, I couldn’t get groceries or sunscreen or something for the dreadful bug bites I got on my last day in Greece.  My legs look like they have measles.* I’ll have to check tomorrow.

Since nothing was open, I went to the park. At first, I couldn’t find a way in since the gates all seemed locked, even though I could see people in there.  I thought perhaps you needed a neighbourhood key and I would remain on the outside looking in, so of course felt lonely.  I did decide to walk all the way around the park, and lo and behold, there was an open gate.  I found an empty bench and made use of the WiFi, because I needed to kill time before dinner, since the Taverna only opened at 7:30.  By the time this had rolled around, I’d stopped feeling hungry and in fact felt a little unwell.  I knew I had to eat, so I looked at the menu, which was entirely out of my depth, so just asked the waitress if she had any recommendations.  She suggested a carbonera, and I said sure, and then she got me a Coke.  I perked up almost immediately after my first few sips (low blood sugar probably didn’t help me much), and then when the pasta came, it was divine.  I have no idea what was in it, but it was some sort of light white sauce and ham and parmesan and deliciousness.  I couldn’t finish, the plate was so big, and the price was very reasonable.  After that, I walked back to the apartment.  Tomorrow I’m slapping on a dress and hitting the Vatican.  I’m going to place tourist, and it will be glorious because I will be better rested and better fed.  Until then!


*I’m not entirely certain, but the bites may have been bed bug bites.  My suitcases are sitting out in the below zero weather just in case.  I have no way of knowing and only google to guide me, but hopefully I didn’t bring any home or anywhere else.


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