You have no idea how many times I was about to say this to a fellow traveler in Rome, but stopped myself because I knew it would be a joke I didn’t intend to make. I suspect I just say this a lot when someone complains that they don’t like to drink wine but everyone here does, or everyone eats out too late, or whatever the traveler’s complaint is against the local population.
Anyway, Rome. My very first afternoon here I head out for my walk, and within five minutes I run into this-
Ooooh, a protest! Let’s go wander around in it! (Really, when they’re taking up the main thoroughfare there isn’t much choice anyway.)
Lots of communist flags and the like- I find it interesting that in Italy aligning with the communist party is still a relatively mainstream political view. As people my age know English here pretty well I ask what’s going on, and a girl tells me they are upset with the way the government is handling the economy. I nod, remembering that the G20 summit was within a few days.
And then I run into the line of riot police, with several paddy wagons just waiting for the arrested masses, and decided to leave as the Italian prison system is one bit of culture I can do without exploring. Saw a few filled ones blaring their way through the streets later though.
Beyond communist protests there were a lot of tourist sites seen as well, but the ancient Roman stuff and the Vatican deserve their own posts. So here are a few other Roman things I saw, in pouring rain no less as the weather wasn’t cooperating and I needed my umbrella for the first time since Japan-
Spanish Steps, which would have been more interesting in sunshine with a bunch of Romans on them eating gelato. As is, during the rain the steps are really just a bunch of steps.
Another vitally important stop was, of course, the Trevi Fountain to throw in coins, rain or no rain! The way this works is you’re supposed to throw the coins with your right hand over your left shoulder- one means you will come back to Rome, two means you will fall in love with a beautiful Roman guy/girl, and three means you will marry said beautiful Roman in Rome itself.
I threw three, on the grounds that it could always be the guy who has his summer villa in Capri. As long as I am wishing why not make it a good one?
And because everyone feels the urge to warn me about them, a word on Italian men- in short, their reputation is a bit overblown as you get more distracting advances in a physics department. To be fair I don’t know what the old Italian men are saying to me on the street, but the younger ones will just say they like your appearance and ask if you want a drink and move their merry way if you turn them down. It’s quite respectfully done so it really doesn’t feel like harassment, they just have a more forward way of doing things if that makes sense. (I once saw an Italian guy confused that he upset an American girl by saying she was pretty, with a sincere “but you are!”)
And that is the brief overview of Rome until I delve into the details, as Italy has been very bad at giving me down-time to update this blog. What a terrible country with all these opportunities for fun to be had…