Hailley's Roman Holiday

So after hours of traveling, airline food, in-flight movies, waiting in terminals, and public transportation, I’m proud to say I’ve finally made it to Rome! My luggage was waiting for me at the baggage terminal (my worst nightmare, losing my luggage) and the I navigated myself on Roman trains to my hotel for the next two nights. After checking in and dropping off what I didn’t need, I had some time to explore. I kept myself close, and gave myself about a 20 minute radius (20 minutes from my place takes me to the Colosseum). It was just enough to get a taste of Rome and familiarize myself with the topography before diving into a full fledge day adventure on Saturday (reminiscent of conquering Washington DC back in undergrad when we had eight hours to see if all). 

At first walk around, Rome is unlike any other city I’ve been to before. That’s probably because Rome is #RICH in history. The streets aren’t straight and most are covered with cobblestone. It always feels like you’re on a slant, so I know my legs are getting a good workout in (ended up with 7 miles of walking on Friday). Lucky for me, these adventures/opportunities allow me to test out my map reading skills and spatial awareness. For someone who sucks at rotating objects on a 3D plan (thanks AP Calc), I usually have a good knack for where I am in relation to a map/getting myself back to point A. While it’s a little lonely to be traveling by myself, this does give/make me focus on my surroundings and really keep track of how to get home. 

You might be wondering — has Hailley learned anything thus far? Obviously that’s a yes. For example… 

Old school European keys are still tricky to me. As I struggled with the key to my room I was transported back to France, circa sophomore year trip, when my roommates and I literally could not get into our room with our keys. I think we might have needed someone to come help us figure the darn thing out. Still haven’t gotten the hang of it yet. 

Crossing the street. Look once, step out, make the cars stop for you. Or just know the distance you can make it in the gaps you’re given. I know that I must look like a tourist with my hesitancy. 

Lanes? Who needs lanes? Traffic here is unlike any sort of traffic I’ve seen before. People don’t stay in lanes, they make up their own lanes. Especially in the big roundabout like areas, you are putting your life into your own hands when you step out to cross the street at a non-stop light intersection. 

Pizza. I mean, I knew it was going to be good, but is is so good. I went to a recommended pizza place for dinner on Friday and the guy at the counter recommended one of their specialties, zucchini florets and sardines. Okay, that might sound not tasty but you’re oh so wrong. The cheese was melted just right, the crust had this saltiness that was perfection, and the sardines were just the right topping! Plus they give you your pizza ready to walk and eat so obviously they win all the points. 

Not speaking Italian is rough. I thought that maybe I could catch on to Italian with my French background. Nope. I literally have no clue what they are saying. I feel like one of those American jerks who just expects English to be spoken when she walks in. I don’t, but I just wish I had a better grasp on the language. So I end up saying “Grazie” a lot (thanks) and “Scusi” (excuse me). Hopefully Ican pick up a few phrases along the way.

I definitely have a big city mode of being that sets in in situations like this one. Within a couple of hours, I felt myself sort of harden up, pulling me back to habits I developed more fully on the streets of NYC. There’s that briskness in my walk, my roving eyes, my alert ears. You know, rolling through the city with confidence. I want to look as least touristy as possible and that perceived confidence of “oh yeah I know where I’mg going” is the way I start. 

At the same time, I also think I’m one of my funniest selves when I’m in big city mode. The internal dialogue inside my head is priceless. I make a lot of observations, a lot of jokes, and lots of decisions. If only there was a way to see a little trailer of that thought process. 

All this travel has tired me out. I think I might go to bed early to take the most advantage of my time tomorrow. Rome better be ready.