All Roads Lead To Rome

This poor little blog is in need of some lovin’. I’ve been neglecting it for a while. Happily though, it seems to be bumbling along just fine by itself, without a huge difference in page views between when I’m posting and not posting. Thanks, I guess…

The reason I haven’t been posting is because life has been getting in the way. As you may or may not have noticed by the tone of the last post, I’ve been feeling a bit crappy recently, which a totally normal thing to happen on a year abroad and, actually, in life. Most people would think I have no reason to complain, being (as I am) on what is essentially a year-long holiday in the south of France and Italy. Not bad, I have to admit. And though I’m still loving life in Italy, there are certain things about moving your entire life across the ocean that can be difficult. As the year anniversary of my departure approaches (has it really been 9 months already!?), I find myself missing my friends, family, boyfriend, dog and London more and more. It’s not that I don’t love Rome, but I’m a home girl at heart (as in, a girl who likes to be at home, not like, a homie). I miss being in a place where things work as they’re supposed to, where my brain isn’t constantly working overtime in translation mode, where getting on a bus isn’t akin to risking my life, where the public transport runs past 9.30pm, where you can walk more than 20 metres without being harassed by a man trying to sell you a selfie stick… having said all that, just wait until I’m back in London. Then I won’t be able to shut up about how cheap Rome was, how nice the people were, how warm the weather was, how delicious the food was… and all of those things are (or at least feel) very true, the good and the bad.

Anyway, I was in the midst of this pity party and successfully managing to ignore my upcoming exams and year abroad project deadlines when my family came to visit. It was perfect timing, because acting as a tour guide for them made me remember why I fell in love with Rome in the first place. You really can’t swing a cat in Rome without hitting something beautiful, ancient or delicious.

So, Rome, I’m sorry I said those mean things about you. I take it all back. I know you’re not the most efficient city in the world, but I love you anyway, flaws and all, and I’ll be so sad when the time comes to leave.

As most of my family had never been to Rome before, on their first day we went on a walking tour of the main tourist-y sites in the centre. They were underwhelmed by the Spanish Steps as most people are – it’s a shame that they’re built up so much in tourist guidebooks because essentially all they are are some pretty steps and a nice fountain. I think people would appreciate them a lot more if they didn’t turn up expecting to see something really incredible, because they are actually quite charming.

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The rest of the walk featured such delights as the Magnum Pleasure Store (obviously)…IMG_2350

…the Trevi Fountain in all its scaffold-ed glory…

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…a random column…

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…the Pantheon…

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…Piazza Navona…

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…some random ruins…

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…the sun almost coming out…

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…and back streets.

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Then we made a quick stop at Cripta dei Cappuccini because skeletons.

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The second day was spent wandering round the Colosseum and the Forum, which I enjoyed because the first and only other time I’d done that was about 3 years ago when I was interrailing with Matt, and it was so hot that day that we mostly just sat in the shade and tried not to melt.

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I also forced them to walk all the way to La Romana for ice cream and up the Aventine Hill to see the keyhole and the view from the orange gardens. I think they’d say it was worth the walk, but I’m not sure.

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On the third day…

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Haha, only joking. On the third day, we revisited Ostia Antica.

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In the evening we went for a fantastic meal with Martina and Lawrence ate so much that he was sick, and then we accidentally took the bus home without paying.

On their final day in Rome, it was Lawrence’s 15th birthday. After the usual giving of presents and slightly less usual brioche with candles in it, they headed off to the Vatican City while I went home to send panicky emails to my year abroad supervisor (boo).

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I went to join them at around lunch time; it turned out that they’d had a disappointing morning, because due to the weekly Papal address, they hadn’t been able to get into St. Peter’s Square because there were too many people. Then Mum, Mick and Ben headed off to the Vatican Museums while Bill, Lawrence and I went in search of ice cream. The weather forecast for that day had been stormy but we’d ignored it because here in Rome the weather and the weather forecast seem to be violently unrelated. But as we ate our ice cream, threateningly black and heavy clouds started to draw in. We jumped on the metro with the intentions of going back to my flat to have something to drink and get some money before maybe finding a tour bus, but when we got to our stop, the heavens had well and truly opened. It doesn’t rain in Rome, it pours. We made the (perhaps stupid) decision to make a break for it, and ended up back at the flat looking as though we’d just stepped out of the shower. As it continued to rain like there was no tomorrow, I wrung the water out of our clothes, cranked up the heating to dry them off, dressed the boys in my pyjamas (which looked hilarious but sadly I don’t have photographic evidence) and we watched a film.

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It would have been a bit of a let-down as a day if it hadn’t been for the pizza in the evening, which even the grumpy waitress couldn’t spoil :)

They left early on Thursday morning, marking my fourth successful phone call in Italian as their taxi arrived at the right place and at the right time. I’d booked flights to come home that day in the hope that it would ease my homesickness a bit and give me the push I needed to do my year abroad project, but I had to leave that evening instead because of my Italian class (I’d already missed the maximum number of classes that was allowed because it clashed with another class at the beginning of term). So Thursday was a crazy day, filled with rushed packing, printing boarding passes, revision and an Italian class before I began the epic journey straight from the Italian class to Termini to Fiumicino to Gatwick to St Pancras. I was expecting to meet Matt at St Pancras but he came to Gatwick to surprise me, which would have been really sweet if he hadn’t somehow missed me coming out of the arrivals gate and heading quickly to the train station in order to make an earlier train. I texted him from the platform to let him know I’d be getting in to St Pancras earlier than we’d hoped which gave him about a minute to sprint from the arrivals gate to the train which he made… just. The surprise factor was still there as I saw him wandering down the carriage towards me though. All the boyfriend points go to Matt for coming armed with puppy videos, feta and sun-dried tomato pasta, some mango and a packet of chocolate buttons to ward off any grumpy tiredness (it worked).

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I spent the next five days in London, mostly reading in the library and Caffè Nero (I managed to fill up a whole loyalty card in just five days). I also spent a good amount of time sleeping. I had some blood tests done so I can work out why I feel constantly nauseated and hopefully sort it out, so that’s a load off my mind. We made a trip to the Cereal Killer Café (so cool) and also to Nando’s (of course). I even convinced Matt to go on our first double date with Chelsea and her boyfriend to Bill’s where we used Chelsea’s 50% staff discount, hooray for cheap(er) food!

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It was a very lovely and very needed few days at home, and now I’m happily back in Rome and ready to face my exams and paperwork deadlines. I took my first exam which was Italian yesterday and it didn’t go brilliantly but I think I passed (I’ll find out on Tuesday). As for my other exams, I’m feeling far from confident but I’m not feeling the sense of overwhelming dread that I was two weeks ago. It’s going to be fine, and even if it’s not fine, it’s still going to be fine. If you see what I mean, which you probably don’t.

Anyway, ciao for now, and expect another Rome update from me soon (ish).

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One thought on “All Roads Lead To Rome

  1. Nanny Sheila

    Another brilliant blog Annie! I hope you are saving them all? Glad you enjoyed your visit back home and in London. I am still hoping to catch a few days out there before you come home for good! When are you due back? I am off to France for 8 days this coming Tuesday with the girls! Should be fun! Lots of wine will be consumed no doubt! Lots of Love Honey glad you are enjoying Rome again – not long before it will come to a sad end! Bet your Italian is brilliant now? Pocket money went into your bank sometime last week! Forgot to text you! Another Senior Moment! Oh by the way we had a staff and pupil reunion at St Bede’s a couple of weeks ago and I had a long chat to Chelsea’s dad Chris. He got a bit worried when I told him you and Chelsea were friends! I think he thought I mights have told you a few tales about him! xxx

    Like

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