When in Rome!

When in Rome!

Colosseum, Rome, Italy
There comes a day in your life when waiting anymore feels like a waste of time. Euro Trip was just that for me. There came a time when I decided to take the plunge all by myself. Sounds like m talking about getting married or some bigger decision in my life? It was big to me. Introvert by birth, in this trip, I was like a panda trying to learn kungfu. But just like in the movie, I started to enjoy every minute of it.
 
Now that I had decided to fly solo, I decided to put myself in self created experiment by not only travelling alone but also making sure that I am surrounded by more and more strangers – instead of cozy hotels, I decided to crash at hostels sharing room with other travelers and I purposely did not carry any internet or phone with me when I was out on roads.
 
How did it feel? On the first day, it felt like I was a self torture trip but as days passed by, I became more comfortable with choosing my own path, deciding my own routes, and dealing with last minute gate changes at airport, finding my way around the cities while taking directions from strangers, and meeting some great people on the way. All in all, the trip changed my opinion about myself. I, quite literally, surprised myself.

This is another one from my solo travels. Rome is one of my favorite cities – Just roam around and you would really want to be like Romans – lively, warm, and truly happy. I landed late night in Rome and took the last bus which dropped me close enough to my hostel (Hotel Lodi). It could be daunting, walking alone in middle of the night in a foreign land, but my bus driver assured me that it is perfectly safe to do that – and it really was. I even found some nice locals who walked with me a few meters to guide me to my hostel as I was not carrying any data in my phone and hence no GPS. Those were my first few hours in the beautiful city of Rome.

I had a really comfortable stay at Lodi, and hotel staff was really friendly and helpful. I was in Rome for 2 nights and 3 days and they helped me plan everything to do in Rome. And the breakfast was really filling and amazing.

I spent the entire next day admiring Colosseum and ruins of Roman Forum. All I could think was that if the ruins are so beautiful, the actual buildings must have been magnificent. As suggested at my hotel, I bought a combined Colosseum and Roman Forum tickets from window at Roman Forum only which helped me beat the long queue at Colosseum.

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum, Rome, Italy
Colosseum was the first site I visited in Rome. It is a Flavian Oval Amphitheatre located at Centre of the city opposite Roman Forum. It is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The construction of the monument started in AD 72 and was completed in AD 80. It has a capacity of holding 60,000-80,000 spectators and was used to host gladiatorial contests and public events. You can buy an audio guide explaining the monument and if you have the patience you can read about every corner of Colosseum on the pillars explaining the history.
Bang opposite Colosseum is the Roman Forum a rectangular plaza surrounded by the ruins of various important government buildings. The forum has been the centre of roman day-to-day life for centuries. Roaming in the area just took my imagination centuries back.
 
I enjoyed the night life of Rome at cafes and performances on the river side (River Tiber) which transforms from a quite riverside walk in the day time into a bright nightlife in the evenings. You should definitely spend an evening here, to absorb the Roman feel.
Roman Forum, Rome, Italy
Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

When in Rome, do spend a good amount of time at Piazza Navona, one of the most famous and happening square in Rome. I could not visit Trevi fountain as it was under renovation when I visited in 2015. May be that could call me back to Rome again 🙂

Another wonderful place I visited was public-park, called gardens of Villa Borghese, on a small hill with amazing views of Rome. you can reach those via Spanish Steps at Piazza di Spagna.
Just an hour away from Rome by train is The Vatican City – Smallest country in the world, spanning only 44 hectare. The country is ruled by the Bishop of Rome – the Pope. Do book your visit to the Vatican City in advance or else you will not be able to see the beautiful gardens and museums, I didn’t and missed it so much. Although I did go to the St. Peter’s Basilica – a must visit when you are in Vatican.
St. Peter's Bascilica, Vatican City, Vatican, Rome, Italy
Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Rome has everything a traveler can ask for – delicious Italian food with lot of variety even for vegetarians like me, history, night life, beautiful landscapes, magnificent buildings and churches. Visit Rome, or Roma as they call it, and get lost under the skin of the city. Do that and I guarantee that you would not want to come back.

Where to Crash:
For solo travelers, I suggest you book hostels. There are so many good ones you can find on hostelworld.com to fit your budget and travel style. I booked Hostel Lodi in Rome. Airbnb is also a good option. Oh! I Love airbnb it has improved the way we travel so much.
 
Explore:
Best way I like to explore any European city is by foot, you can also take 3-4 day travel passes which work on all public transports. Most of the places in Rome are a walking distance away from each other.
 
Things to Do Rome (in addition to article):
Trevi Fountain and the market and cafes around it, Pantheon building (It’s close to Trevi Fountain). This area comes to life in the evenings. Sistine Chapel, Spanish Steps (these lead to the garden on the hill I mentioned in article above), Capitoline Hill and Museum, Paizza Di Spagna, Piazza Del Popolo,
 
Safety Tips:
As I mentioned above in the article at Rome is a safe city. There are no violent crimes in Rome, all you need to do is be aware of your surroundings and keep all your belongings in your sight. I walked down to my hostel at mid-night and it was alright. Keep your copy of your passport in your bag and leave your important documents in your hotel/hostel lockers, just in case. Apart from this, just enjoy Rome.
 
Packing Tips:
A pair of comfortable walking shoes is a must, if you want to explore Rome on foot. Depending on the time of year you are visiting, pack your clothes accordingly. I visited in the month of August and it was quite hot, mercury was hitting 30 degrees, so yes a good sun-block will also be required.

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