Backpacking Diaries #1: Rome

Sunday, November 11, 2018

For a girl who once always traveled with an extra suitcase, I’d say it’s quite impressive that I managed to pack all of the clothes and toiletries I needed for this 2.5 week Europe trip into my backpack.

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From biology 101, to New York, to Hawaii, and to Mexico, this Victoria’s Secret PINK backpack has been with me through everything. And now we were about to embark on my first trip ever to Europe! What started out as a solo backpacking trip ended up being a semi-solo backpacking trip. My friend decided to tag along for the first half of my journey while I explore Italy. 

So Sunday afternoon, we headed to LAX international airport to catch our flight to Rome! We were flying Alitalia, an airline I’ve never flown with before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.

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The flight was a solid 12 hours, and fortunately I was able to sleep through most of it. Usually I’m not able to sleep on planes but for some reason I slept like a baby on this flight. But hey, I’m not too upset about it. ;) Alitalia also provides us with a neck pillow, a blanket, and not one, but two meals!!

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I love this airline already and I’m totally ready to plan my next trip with them! Moral of the story is: just provide me food and I’m a happy camper.

Monday, November 12, 2018

We landed at Fiumicino airport around noon in Italy. Since we both only had a backpack with us, we didn’t have to wait at baggage claim, yay! We quickly changed in the airport bathroom and headed out. We made our way to the train station and man was that overwhelming. The metro system scares me a bit because I never really use the train much anywhere. We ended up getting a shuttle to the Trevi Fountain which was about the same price as taking the train anyway. 

On the shuttle, we sat next to a lady from Los Angeles. I got to talking with her about her travels, her daughter’s travels, and backpacking. She talked about how she traveled solo in Asia and how her daughter is traveling solo right now. It was truly inspiring to hear her story and how common traveling solo as a female really was. It’s not as taboo or scary as people make it out to be.

Monday turned out to be our tourist day. We got almost all of the tourist destinations checked off our list.

We started with the Trevi Fountain. I kept making Lizzie McGuire references but my friend didn’t get a single reference because she never saw the movie.. well anyway, I was looking for my Paolo at the fountain but no such luck.

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Then we just wandered the lovely streets of Rome and stopping at any buildings that looked nice, (which were a great number of buildings). We went to the colesseum and just walked around it.

I can’t describe the feeling of walking around Rome. It’s almost disbelief. As if I can’t believe I’m here still. 

By the time we had finished our exploring, we still hadn’t booked a place to stay yet so we went on HostelWorld and found a decently priced, decently reviewed hostel. We walked 30 minutes to the hostel and booked a room at the front desk. It was a 6 person female suite with a bathroom attached.

When we got in there, I got to talking to one of the girls staying in the suite, while my friend passed out. This girl was visiting from Texas and had been traveling for about 5 weeks now. It was so fascinating hearing other people’s stories. Truly inspiring. It reignites the spark in me to travel every time I listen to other people speaking about their adventures. 

I woke my friend up from her nap so we could do a little more exploring. It was pretty late, around 9pm or so, but we were in Rome after all..

We walked around, bought a lock for our locker, bought one of those outlet converter things, and got some gelato!! Oh my goodness the gelato in Italy is out of this world. It’s so incredibly creamy. We made our way back to the hostel and slept like babies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018 

My alarm went off around 9am and I was sooo groggy. The jet lag was setting in. I wanted to sleep more but we had to check out by 10am. We had nothing planned for the day but thought we wouldn’t be staying in Rome again so we checked out of our hostel. 

We walked around Rome with no set destination. This is my favorite way to travel because you never know where you’re going to end up but it always is an adventure! 

Our backs were killing us because we were lugging our backpacks all over Rome. We explored a side of Rome that was more south & further from the touristy city center. The architecture here is impeccable.

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After exploring for a bit, we stopped for some gelato, of course. I got pistachio and striateccela (milk & chocolate chip).

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We then were in search of some pasta! We came across a restaurant with a very flamboyant waiter. He was incredibly funny, and was probably the main reason I chose this spot. I ordered carbonara, which I guess is a popular tourist choice haha. It was pasta with scrambled eggs and bacon. We ate the great food, and chatted with our neighbors at the restaurant a bit. They too were Vietnamese but were visiting from Canada! 

After our delicious meal, we headed back to the same hostel and booked another night there. 

My friend went off to do some exploring of her own and I ended up meeting an Italian boy at the church basilica of Santa Maria.

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We went to grab drinks at a local cafeteria bar. He ordered me a spritzer which I guess Italians usually order during aperetivo, which is an Italian happy hour. He told me that usually starts at 19:00 but we were a bit early having it at 17:00. We got to talking about life in Italy, life in America, and what we aspired for in life. It was so amazing talking to an Italian local to see how they live. He was from Naples, and he spoke nothing but incredible things about Naples. He said it was the best place in Italy and that he would definitely move back once he’s done with school. He was so sweet and genuine, the way he spoke about Italy. You could tell he truly loved his country. 

After hanging out at the cafeteria, we headed out for a nice little walk around Rome. We were looking for the opera but ended up just wandering the streets. 

I had to head back to the hostel to catch up with my friend, so he walked me back and he left to go back to his university.

Back at the hostel, my friend ended up befriending a girl in our suite. Turns out that girl went to the same school I did in Minnesota. What a small world! We all went out for pizza at a local pizzeria that she found online.

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We then ended our night with, can you guess? Gelato. And a peaceful walk around the city. You guys, I am absolutely and completely in love with this city.

Cindy

2 thoughts on “Backpacking Diaries #1: Rome

  1. I can never sleep on a plane either, well I can’t without Benadryl! Its just never comfortable and I get motion sickness. Happy to hear you were able to sleep. I have always wanted to visit Rome. Great pictures. I want to eat the delicious food and see all the cool sites! Thank you so much for sharing your journey

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    1. Oh I’ve never tried Benadryl, I’ll keep that in my next time, because not being able to sleep on a long flight can get miserable! You definitely should visit Rome when you get a chance! Such a lively city with great people & food!! Thank you so much for reading :)

      Like

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