Sunday, 10 November 2013

Rome Pt 4

I am on a roll! Mainly because I don't want to be studying for my exams or completing my take-home final.

16th January 2013
After yesterday, I was just fed up with Rome and I had already visited everything that I wanted to see. I was tossing up between visiting Lido di Ostia or heading down to Naples. But people's comments on Naples seemed incredibly mixed and, as it was a last minute decision, train tickets were quite expensive. In the end, I decided to head to Lido. Lido is part of Rome and is Rome's beach and coastal area. The journey required an interchange and I still don't know if my pronounciation was so poor that no one understood me or if people were just rude, but when I asked the people who worked at the station, no one helped me. Or refused to. Actually, now that I think about it, I also had a rude experience with the person at the train station at Pisa. Finally, I found the right platform and the train. I stood out like a sore thumb. Again.There was also a random person singing (poorly) on the train carriage and everyone just ignored him.

It was a short ride and upon leaving the station, I was almost blown away. Literally. Just my luck that there were gale force winds.

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Perhaps I have been spoilt by the beaches in Australia, but the beach was very ugly with brown sand. Although I did find it very interesting that there were summer huts, for lack of a better word. It seemed like a very small version of a beach house but they were all in rows.

Eventually I headed for Ostia Antica, upon Exchange dude's recommendations. Put simply, it was disappointing. It cost € 6,50 to enter and I also bought a guide for €2,50. The biggest waste of €2,50 in my entire life since it was bloody pointless and all the information was identical to the information provded on the signs at each location. Grr.

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The place was so disappointing, although it would have been an amazing location for a game of hide and seek. The entire area was deserted and then it started to hail. Yes, it was hailing and my flimsy umbrella did not really provide me with much protection. Eventually I retreated back to my hostel.

The hostel I stayed at was Legends Hostel. The people who ran the place were from the Phillipines (they actually thought I was from there) and they were super lovely and super helpful. The hostel itself was so-so. There was free dinner of pizza and wine every night although it wasn't the best. The bathroom was so-so, although the shower was interesting. The water from the showerhead seemed to come out in a V formation so if I was careful, I could actually put my hand in the middle and my hand would still be dry. It was also the first hostel where I socialised properly with the people in my dorm. There was a Canadian girl called Alice from Canada who was backpacking in Europe for 6 months (she had previously backpacked around South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand), a girl who had just completed her exchange semester in Spain (who was from Brazil) and a Korean girl. They were all so lovely and it was just really nice having a talk to people's travelling experiences and ranting about Rome (and the whole 'ciao bella' among other things). At one of the free dinners, Alice and I were talking to this guy from, allegedly, a southern area of Italy who was so incredibly dodgy and also an alleged Luxembourger who was also dodgy (apparently he had a masters in economics and as a hobby, he drove people's cars to other countries. It honestly sounded like some black market thing). But it was really lovely and the girls were nice and respectful. I guess if I was paranoid, I would have felt a little hesitant about the fact that there weren't any lockers in the room, but honestly, perhaps I was too trusting, but I never carried my important documents (i.e passport and a lot of cash) with me and left it in my hostel room. Whoops. It was all good though.) I also picked it because the location was good and reviews weren't bad.

My Overall Thoughts
Rome was disappointing. So incredibly disappointing. It was one of the cities that I was most excited to visit and yet nothing seemed to be interesting.I believe it was a variety of different factors that resulted in my dissatisfaction; the people on the streets, the fact that I got lost, the gloomy weather/ rain/ hail and generally, the vibe of the city. I don't believe I mentioned it previously, but another thing that frustrated me to no end was the traffic. Traffic and traffic accidents are notorious in Rome and I can completely understand. There is something quite frightening when you literally have to bolt across a road because the cars just don't slow down. Not even a little bit. In fact, I was convinced they actually accelerated. And if they did stop for you, it was literally 30cm away from your legs. I was so scared of crossing any roads and only crossed if there was someone else crossing at the same time, and even then, I made sure that I was on the other side of the person (so the other person was closest to the approaching car). One of the hardest roads was right in front of the Monumento a Vittorio since you needed to cross 4 roads.

Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II 2
Not mine.

Would I re-visit?
No.

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