Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 1

Today was my first day in Rome. God f***ing damnit it was frustrating at first. Upon arrival I attempt to get out some Euro as my university adviced me, but for some reason it didn't work at the airport. Assuming that it was a localized issue, I ignored it and took the train into Rome, deciding to stay at a crappy hotel in Termini. In case you don't know, Termini is one of the more sketchy places in Rome, particularly at the train station, which my hotel is directly across the street from. In retrospect, I could have chosen a better hotel.

My main issue all morning was that I hadn't spoken italian in approximately 3 months and wow I was rusty. I felt so stupid trying to communicate with the locals, especially when they basically said "fuck it, lets use english". I felt like just another idiotic tourist. Fortunately, this experience really made me feel determined to get my italian back to its former level.

Anyways, I spent a couple hours walking around Termini looking for two things: 1) a bank that will let me withdraw money and 2) a free wifi hotspot, which I was told before going are supposedly very prevalent.

I probably went to 10-15 different indoor banks and ATMs attempting to get money out, being frustrated by the fact that the ATMs request a 6 digit maximum code, while mine is 7 digits. fI even had an indoor banker come out with me to an ATM and tell me to enter only the first 5 digits of my code, which by the way didn't work at all, before I simply gave up and found a group of Americans to ask. It turns out I have to call my bank and change the pin number to a shorter number, which I have yet to do. I'll take care of it in the morning I suppose. As a result, I spent the rest of the day living of 20 Euro that my friend Mark gave me for my birthday as well as using my brand new credit card excessively.

As for the wifi hotspots, I found one free wifi hotspot throughout my entire day of exploring and wandering about Termini... once I had already paid for internet use at an internet cafe because I didn't want my parents or Sloan to worry for my safety. By the time I got back to my cheap, barely 2-star hotel from searching for these things fruitlessly and attempting to break a difficult language barrier as a result of my rusty Italian speaking I was completely frustrated and tired from walking and jetlag. I relaxed for a little bit and took a shower.

After having done this, I managed to reinvigorate my sense of adventure and inspire myself to go on a determined journey of exploration, during which I encountered my first epic piazza and fountain in la piazza della reppublicca. In that piazza there was also the basilica di santa maria maggiore, which was basically a really big church. I'm not normally into churchy stuff, but it was pretty amazing just to see the grand scale that the thing was built on and the exceptional craftsmenship of the makers of the sculptures and art.

Later in the evening, after enjoying my first delicious italian margherita pizza, I went out to a pub called the Druid's Rock and spent my first 30 minutes there in near-silence sipping on my 6 euro Carlsberg beer because there wasn't really anyone to talk to. Fortunately after a little bit I got in a pretty nice conversation, entirely in italian, with the bartenders, really building my confidence in speaking and listening in italian. After spending a good while practicing my italian and learning about italy's culture from the bartenders, an aussie walked in.

This guy literally knew NO italian and walked in asking if anyone spoke english, so being me I of course had a chat with him. It turns out that he was a fairly interesting guy who was coming from his brother's wedding in Poland, at which he got completely blasted off vodka, taking shots from around 4pm until 730am. Him and I had a good long talk, deciding to sit outside, where we met a couple of scottish blokes. I definitely had some trouble understanding the scots, but accent was absolutely hilarious, legitimately making me chuckle merely because of the way they sounded at times, although I'm sure they thought it was because I thought they were funny :P It was really nice to get to talk to some people in english for the evening after having spent all day struggling to remaster my conversational italian.

Tomorrow should be really fun: Im gonna go explore the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Wish me luck :)


  1. I just wrote a long post and published it. but it didn't seem to post so I am trying again.

  2. Now that I figured out that I have to sign in each time, i will rewrite my long post. Glad to hear that business class was fantastic, we can't wait to try it. My first meal was also the Margherita Pizza so I guess that is the official meal to say you have arrived in Roma. We also loved speaking to Auzzies, also Brits. We never met someone from Scotland but did speak to people from New Zealand. They also have a very strong accent that was hard to understand but fun to try. Let us know that the ATM is now working even if you have to use your old phone to call. By the time you see this, you should have spent the day at the Forum and Colosseum. Hopefully you were as mesmerized by them as Dad was. Love to you from both of us. Dad is looking over my shoulder while i type this. xoxox.

  3. Liar you said your first meal was crappy spaghetti! I am really glad that you ignored your tiredness and went out and was able to talk to people. It is cool that is is only your second day and are feeling pretty confident speaking Italian. Imagine how you will be in 3 months!

  4. Hahaha well my first meal was crappy spaghetti but it was so bad that i didnt count it :P Love you mom and dad, but i havent taken care of my atm card yet because for some reason the number you gave me doesnt seem to be working, but ill try to take care of it today or as soon as possible!

  5. the united states phone # for wells fargo is 800-742-4932. If you figure out how to dial to the US, just use that #. Or give me Sloan your debit card # and I can call for you. I didn't have that or I could have done it.