I’m slowly getting acclimated in Italy – a vast change from the Czech Republic, and for that matter from Portugal and Denmark. Comparing cultures isn’t productive, because there are always many differences which make life more interesting.
I spent the first day exploring central Rome and ended up wandering around Vatican City in late afternoon. Didn’t take many photos. Vatican City’s shady tree-lined streets and casual atmosphere feel comfortable and the cafés and restaurants are cozy – plus it’s very beautiful!
Haven’t planned many activities yet and am giving myself a few days to get used to the change. Time is the beauty of staying longer in one place.
Rome’s underground metro is straightforward. It circumvents the city but gets you close to all the major areas and sites. Traffic is terrible, so the underground is undoubtedly the best way to get around.
In Prague, when someone over 50 enters a subway or tram with no seats available, a younger person immediately gets up and offers their seat – NOT the case in Italy. There are many raucous young people and they seem on another planet. Not being judgmental, as I probably was that way as a teenager – can’t remember back that far ;o(. On the other hand, Italian men over 50 are quite attentive and go out of their way to be helpful if you get lost or need assistance….
There are so many motorcycles in Rome crossing the street could mean taking your life into your own hands. It’s a bit like Saigon Vietnam – you just go ahead and do it, because waiting for a “safe” crossing may mean never getting to the other side! Rome doesn’t have automated “walk signals” everywhere – at least I didn’t see any where I was today. Have noticed that when beautiful young Italian women randomly step out in front of any moving vehicle, everything seems to suddenly come to a screeching halt!
The restaurants in central Rome are hideously expensive – although Italian pasta, pizza, and risotto are fabulous – really. I had dinner at a small restaurant near my apartment last night and noticed they brought me a “special” menu – everyone else (clearly local Italians) ordered from one on their table. I went along with it, but will avoid that restaurant in the future.
On Thursday, I’m taking a bicycle tour of Rome’s major architectural sites – glad to have a few days to work up to that. The weather is wonderful but it’s very hot and people gravitate to shady cafés and piazzas, especially near the Tiber (Tevere) River. I’m continuously wearing a sun hat. Honestly feel a bit intoxicated with Rome and need to get more grounded. One of the few negatives of traveling solo is there’s no one to tell you when you’re getting goofy…. My experience with long-term trips is it takes at least two months to get into the swing, after that everything is smooth – two more weeks!
Made note of favorite areas (so far) for cafés and restaurants and will return for dinner later in the evening. Am considering some day trips outside Rome.
More rambling later…