After spending the weekend with Cart, Jerrick and I had to fend for ourselves, roaming around Rome on our own. Cart couldn’t take leave and had to go back to work. It shouldn’t be difficult for us. I’ve done this before. Taking the public transportation here would be easy!
Before leaving, Cart advised us to explore the Colosseum, Vittorio Emanuale Monument, Pantheon and then the Fontana di Trevi in the order.
So I took my time scanning over Google Maps, and then poured over Atac which will calculate which busses and subways that we had to take and finally we were ready. We headed to buy our tickets and boarded on the bus before going to the nearest subway station.
Picture via Ron in Rome
When we reached the metro, I thought something was amiss when I saw the locked gates. Maybe it could be opened on the other side. But when the other side was locked too, was when I realised that there was something definitely wrong.
Turned out that there was a strike and all the subway stations were not functioning till later in the evening! All my research for nothing. And with no computer at hand, I was lost at what to do next.
Regardless, we went for a walk across the street to show Jerrick Viale Europa, where the entire road was filled with high end boutiques and shops. At the end of the road, there was a church.
It was then that Cart saved the day by checking for us which bus to take next. Luckily for us, it was just along the corner and the bus arrived very shortly after.
Our bus ride went all the way to a bus terminal which was right next to the Vittorio Emanuele Monument.
The monument was still as impressive as ever. The locals call it, “The typewriter” on account of the tall white pillars of the monument is. On top of the stairs in the middle, there were always two soldiers keeping guard.
As Jerrick and I were feeling rather peckish, and rain clouds were starting to form, we went to find a restaurant for lunch as well as to wait for the rain to subside, before heading to the next monument. Jerrick wanted pasta while I wanted Pizza. We didn’t want to go to a place which was too expensive or didn’t have the food that we want. We went to inspect the menu at least 10 different restaurants.
In the end, we decided to go to the very first restaurant we inspected. It was quite amusing.
At this point of time, I was feeling quite lucky that I knew a bit of Italian. Even if it was not very fluent, ordering food was actually quite surprisingly simple, compared to the awkwardness that I noticed across the other tables with the other tourists. I was really proud of myself.
The the skies were still unfortunately rather dark after we had our lunch. But we traversed on and headed to the Colosseum. A quick glance to the left and I noticed that the metro was still closed due to the strike.
It was so wet and dreary but we persevered anyway. There were so many tourists there. Which was strange to me, considering that it was Monday. We reached the entrance when there was a huge crowd of people queueing in to buy the entry tickets.
That was when a tour guide came up to us and asked us to join in his group. “If you join my group, you wont have to queue to get the entry tickets and I’d give you a fully guided tour for only 20 euro each inclusive!”
That seemed quite expensive so Jerrick and I promptly left after that.
I’ve lost my sense of direction by this time and had no idea where to go to. So we walked about randomly and hoped that we were going in the right direction. We walked past a bookshop where Jerrick bought a nice Ciak notepad, several bars, a few clothes shop. But there was still no sign of the Pantheon.
It was still slightly drizzling and we huddled under my umbrella. But all of a sudden, Jerrick paused, gasped at something that he saw and promptly wandered off. Leaving me unsheltered and bewildered.
He entered a shop and I followed after him inside. It looked like a jewellery shop, with the beautiful display cases and the nicely dressed clerks. It turned out that I was in Valrhona – a high end chocolate shop. Jerrick looked enthralled looking for his favourite chocolate.
I didn’t have any intention of buying anything there. Unfortunately for me, the clerk started to entice me with some of their chocolate samples and it was so good that I felt compelled to get some.
At 8 euro for this tiny 75g box, this was probably the most expensive chocolate that I’ve ever purchased. I left the shop feeling excited and guilty at the same time.
We continued our search for the Pantheon. It was such a walk and at length, we knew we were in the right place with the amount of tourists conglomerating outside.
It was a little different coming here compared to the last time that I was here. For one thing, it was raining. As the top of the pantheon was an open dome, I saw little puddles of water on the floor.
There were also seats, meant for praying. But there were a lot of people sitting down, so we took the chance to rest for a moment too.
After admiring the architecture and the grand facade and wondering if people could climb up the pillars, we headed off to our next stop, the Fontana Di Trevi.
It wasn’t hard to get here from the pantheon as there were helpful road signs pointing to the right direction. We reached there with no drama.
But it was still super crowded even with the drizzle. With his back to the fountain, Jerrick threw a coin in the hopes that he will return back to Rome.
With all of the landmarks covered, I thought that it would be a good idea to head to the metro and stop by Feltrinelli, a big bookshop that had my Italian textbook that I needed for my class.
Looking at google maps this morning, made me believe that we could reach there by foot. Armed by the GPS on my phone, I confidently hoped that we could get there fine.
But then it was already getting dark at 4 pm due to sunset in Autumn. When we passed by the Pantheon for the third time, I was already getting disoriented. And tired. And feeling a quite stressed out.
Cart advised for us to take the bus at the main road.
Unfortunately for us, we took the bus on the wrong direction! I realised it as soon as we went away from Isola Tiberina. I tried to ask an Italian man who was standing next to me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t fluent enough and could catch only half of what he said.
But the good thing about Italian transport is that they go in a loop and we stopped at a terminal. This time, I sat right next to the window to peer at the bus stop sign. I want to get out at the right stop!
A bit of walking after that, we finally reached the bookshop where I finally bought my book. And we took the metro which was finally functioning again after their strike. And then we finally took the transfer bus home.
By the time we reached home, I was so tired and so listless that I left the boys to fend for themselves for dinner.
They made from scratch, Ravioli with Spinach and Ricotta cheese by the way.
We’ve already seen a number of monuments in the city centre, so we thought that it would be good to have a slow and easy day. As I preparing myself to buy some groceries, Surpringly, Jerrick wanted to accompany me too.
So in the meanwhile, I showed him the neighbourhood – the duck pond, the cinema, the grocer, the supermarket. While we were in Conad, one of the supermarkets here, Jerrick looked fascinated by the different items that were there and got a couple of items to be taken back with him.
We stopped by a Pizza Al Taglio to take away some pizza and I made Pasta Al Ragu for lunch over an episode of Sex and the City dubbed in Italian. We were both feeling very very full after that.
Which meant that it was definitely a great idea to walk away the bloated feeling, so we headed to Monte Verde.
It was such a cloudy day. But the sky looked very interesting with the different cloud shapes and the sun admirably trying to burst through in the background.
We chatted trying to break the monotony in the bus, I scanned through the faces of the passengers in the bus. Eventually we reached the stop and we met my friend, Lynn, and we entered a bar for cakes and a cup hot chocolate. We spent the day having a nice, friendly chat.
Eventually, we decided to head to the area of Campo De Fiori for a bit sight seeing, like the Santa Maria Church where there was a mass going on.
And then later, we headed to Lynn’s favourite snack place, the Filetti Di Baccala to get some freshly made fried cod. It’s a very modest looking place. But its been around for a very long time.
With our hands holding the warm fried fish, we explored the area. We admired the architecture and imagined how it looked like in the past. The buildings were so old that the scene would be the same, just people in different clothing.
Lynn even showed us a little place where there was a swingers club.
Later on, Cart joined us for dinner in Trastevere for some Noms.
There was this option that you could have between two people that you can choose 3 different pasta together.
We reached home pretty late that evening and I was feeling extremely stoned out. It was about 1 am and I was about to pass out. And yet the boys were still energetic enough to whip up some Tiramisu!
Jerrick’s last day was on Wednesday
We took the treno to get to the airport. It was sad of course, to have a friend leave. And all through the train ride, I kept telling Jerrick that it was such a short time here.
But I do hope for him to return to Rome again. Anyway, he threw a coin in the fontana di Trevi, so he will be coming back in the future. 🙂