Today has been extremely long. To be completely honest, I don’t even know what “today” means anymore. I haven’t slept since sunday night, technically, and now it’s Tuesday here. I have leaped time zones and confused my internal clock. We battled through neck pain and seat back wars all day before making it to Rome, finally.
Once we arrived in Rome it was clear how much my semester of Italian had helped and how much I still have to learn. I was able to navigate to the train and with airport employees to figure out how to get tickets for the train. We made it on to the correct one and sat on the second level of it (!!!!) for about 15 minutes. It was claustrophobic and the whole time I was trying to work up the courage to ask an Italian woman sitting next to me if she knew when the train departed the station. Most of that time was spent arguing with myself over whether or not I’d conjugated the work, “to know,” (sapere) correctly in the formal tense. Meanwhile, the train was broken down the entire time and we had to transfer to a new one. While the second train was trundling along both Sep and I found ourselves nodding off and struggling to count the stops between our origin and destination. Somehow we got it right and made it to our hostel around 2 pm. People were very entertained by our method of carrying luggage; we both had two backpacks, one each on our backs and another on our fronts like reverse turtle shells. Sep had another big bag flung on top of his hiking pack resting behind his neck. (Side note- this looked even weirder because Sep is easily two feet taller than everyone else in this country. I’m not exaggerating.)
I am very pleasantly surprised by the quality and comfort I’ve experienced here so far. The owner of the Eco B&B Marela (it’s proper name) is kind, generous, and helpful. I was happy the cost was €300 total for 5 days instead of per person like I’d assumed.
We unpacked, freshened up, and went out to explore. Turns out, our hostel is in a great neighborhood! There are lots of shops and eateries to explore. I observed several things. First, the crosswalk guides have red, yellow, and green symbols just like American traffic lights. The yellow portion of the cycle must be twice as long as the green and red out together, which makes crossing streets a stressful task for someone who doesn’t like cities. (Do I go? Do I have enough time? How long has it been yellow?! I should have gone. Twenty people have walked across. I’m still not walking. I’m committed. I look like an idiot to all those cars waiting for their green light watching the crosswalk thwart clearly-American travelers, etc.) Second, it’s not rude to walk and eat. It’s not done as commonly as in America, but I saw an elderly Italian man take a slice of pizza in hand at the same place where this shot was taken and walk calmly down the street enjoying it thoroughly and earning himself no dirty looks. Third, dogs don’t necessarily have to be leashed here. Many walked down the sidewalks next to their owners perfeclty obediently, it was great. The shots I took this afternoon are of my 4 formaggio pizza (4 cheese) and of Sep and I enjoying gelato con fragoles, or gelato with strawberries (aka frutta fresca).
Now we are home relaxing our tired feet and about to go to bed (even though some of us already had an afternoon nap). It’s been a long day, but now we can stop dozing off and get some good rest so we can truly dive into the Roman action tomorrow!!