Landing in Rome

by Jake Steele

My weekend trip to Rome was just starting when I landed around 1am in the Leonardo da Vinci airport and headed to the train station in the airport. When I got there, I found out that the train stops running at 11:30 and the next train wasn’t coming until the morning. The hostel that I was staying at was a 45 minute drive from the airport. Luckily, I met a French woman visiting a friend close to where I was staying and we split an Uber there. It ended up costing €65, but at least I only had to pay half. I finally checked into Carlito’s Way at 2:30am and got to my room. The only other person staying in my room was a 26-year old from Bulgaria who is getting her masters of economics in Budapest. English wasn’t her first language but she was very good at it, probably a 7.6/10. She was a Buddhist and had a lot of interesting things to say about the Vatican and Christianity.



My first day in Rome: rain, selfie sticks and free beer!

The first day of this weekend trip to Rome was pretty boring because it was raining most of the day. I went to the Colosseum and the Forum. I’ve never seen so many people selling selfie sticks in my life. Everything in the city was huge and so was everything that they built. That night I went out to the bars around my hostel and ended up finding my way to a party serving free beer!! I didn’t know anyone there but I just walked around soaking everything in and enjoying the free refreshments.

My second day in Rome: the Vatican, the best views in town and live music!

On the second day, I took the metro east across the Tevere (Tiber) River to the Vatican. I stopped at a restaurant that was most definitely a tourist trap where I ordered some salmon linguini that was the worst food I’ve had so far in Europe. I didn’t let this spoil my day, but it easily could have. The entrance to the Vatican museum was nearby and I made it in. Within the Vatican museum there are tons of different museums and other things to look at. My favorite part of the Vatican was a long hallway that had art all over the walls and the ceiling. All of the works of art had me asking all sorts of questions about what the early church looked like and how it operated. I thought the Vatican was the most elegant thing that I saw in Rome but it almost seemed too perfect. I had planned to go to Saint Peter’s Basilica, but I saw the line and it looked like it was going to be few hours to get in and I couldn’t wait that long.



I hopped on the metro and stopped at the stop closest to the Spanish Steps. I grabbed some zucchini pizza and started wandering the streets and checking out all of the shops and ended buying a puffy vest. I stumbled upon some street performers that I really enjoyed. There was a guy on a Cajon box drum and a female singer with an acoustic guitar. They were playing popular music from the United States and I ended up spending over an hour listing and dancing to their music. My favorite song that they played was “Royals” by Lorde. I lost track of time and I really wanted to see the sunset at the top of the Spanish Steps, so I had to sprint up all of the stairs to make it in time. It was definitely worth it, by the way. This was the best view I got in Rome and it was accompanied by more live music (a man playing classical music on the piano). After the sun went down, I walked down the steps into the Piazzo del Popolo and watched more street performers. My favorite one was a woman that was doing an interpretive dance with things that made it look like fire was coming out of her hands.

My third and last day in Rome: the most famous fountain in the World, the Pantheon and a hazardous Segway ride…

On the third day, I got up around 9am took the metro to the Trevi Fountain. I sat on the stone wall on the right side of the fountain, hanging my feet over the edge. I watched the water flow around sculptures of horses and men that appear to be emerging from the water. It wasn’t long until the police protecting the fountain told me to stop sitting on the wall. This was my cue to leave, so I threw a €2 coin in the water and made my way to the Pantheon. All of the European police wear those funny-looking hats that droop really far on one side, it’s hard for me to take them seriously. The Pantheon was perfectly built, I can’t come up with any other way to describe it. The room is built in a perfect sphere and the roof is a spherical dome. At the peak of the dome there is a hole on top. For some reason rain can’t get into the hole… I’m honestly not sure how they made this building over two thousand years ago.



My next mission was to rent a Segway and ride along the Tevere River. On my Segway ride, I was going uphill on a sidewalk that had a stone wall to the right. I lost focus and ended up hitting the wall, which launched me off of my Segway into the road. Luckily the car that was passing was not in the lane that I fell into. For a few minutes after the crash I was shaken up and I was contemplating the idea that I could have died. I thought that I broke the Segway but eventually I figured out how to turn it back on and I went immediately back to return it to the rental place. By this time, the sun had set and it was dinner time. I got myself some chicken and spaghetti and went to bed early because I had to get up at 4am the next morning to return to Barcelona.

I had a great experience in Rome and traveling on my own and I would recommend doing both. Make sure that you buy all of your tickets online so you don’t have to wait in long lines and get ready to eat a lot of pizza and pasta!!