I don’t know about you, but I had an amazing Halloween weekend. Why? Because I was in Rome and while in Rome, I was visiting my friend Maggie. First of all, I love Rome. It was my first time there. I saw a lot of the touristy sites, I had delicious Italian food, I crossed the Tiber a billion times (for real), but what I loved most about Rome was the atmosphere (though seeing Saint Peter’s Basilica at night was pretty amazing too).
I was nervous, especially at first because I had heard about problems with pick pockets, but I didn’t get anything stolen because I was careful and had an – apparently – thief-proof bag. My biggest problem was navigating the bus routes; as far as I could tell, you have to go to an entirely different stop to get the same bus going the opposite way. That was a little confusing and stressful, but now that I’ve figured that out, I feel accomplished and like I conquered the Roman public transportation system.
But the atmosphere…the drivers are crazy – so many times more so than in Lisbon, though the street signs are generally easier to find – the place was crawling with tourists in a way Lisbon never is. The thing is, Rome is truly a big city with at least 2.5 million people in the city itself, according to Wikipedia. Lisbon has 500,000, which is a huge difference. With that many people, there were people, cars, lights everywhere. As Maggie said, Rome is human sized. There’s a ton of people, but the buildings aren’t overly tall and all concrete and metal, like New York City. But I love big cities; the energy gives it a magical feel.
Rome, as a city, is beautiful and I love the architecture. There’s of course the fact that literally ancient ruins are mixed in the city right next to modern(ish) architecture with metro tracks right across the street. And there’s the work of famous artists everywhere throughout the city; fountains, buildings, art, etc. Plus the plethora of ornately decorated, art-filled churches that tourists can generally just walk in to (oh, and the Vatican). But I also loved the basic buildings, the apartments, the shops, whether in disrepair or with stellar upkeep, they were beautiful. At first, they reminded me of Lisbon because the buildings of the two cities have a very European feel, but these buildings were what made the city feel so Italian to me.
Also, since I was in Rome, I had to eat lots of Italian food; I tried several different types of pasta, had some pizza (one slice had the best crust I’ve ever had in my life), gelato, and supplí. I also tried a few non-Italian things, including persimmons, donar kebabs, and I’m now intent on finding both of those in Lisbon. Also, since I ate dinner with Maggie and her friends, we went out for Mexican food one night (which is much better than the Mexican I had in Lisbon) and a homemade barbeque for Halloween.
In short, Rome was amazing and I definitely want to go back, if not this year, eventually. There’s plenty of things I didn’t get to do in my two full days there or would want to go back to again. But, it’s definitely good to be back in Lisbon where I can say more than “hello” and “thank you” and I know how to get around easily. Also, Lisbon’s a lot less expensive with a better (I think) public transportation system.
Favorite things about Rome:
- The cobblestones were easier to walk on than those in Lisbon
- Gelato, all the Italian food
- Piazza Navoni
- Ancient ruins right in the center of the city
- The architecuture
I took a TON of pictures, so I’m going to post the top few here, and then post the other good ones on Facebook and maybe Flickr.