After spending a night in Perugia, I took the train to Rome. Since my mom wasn’t due in until the following day, I was staying in a hostel my first night. I dropped off my stuff and headed out to the Marathon Village to pick up my race packet.
To do this I needed to take Metro Line A back to the train station and jump on Line B for 10 stops. Walking into the subway, Line A looked pretty clean. It was a nice introduction to Rome. Yet that opinion changed quickly when I had to cram on Line B. The windows were graffitied to the point that you couldn’t see out. The only way I could tell which stop we were at was when the doors would open briefly and I’d catch a glimpse of a sign. During my stay in Rome I was actually a bit taken aback by all of the graffiti. It was definitely unexpected. When I finally made it to my stop, I got off and was happy to see two guys in neon Asics vests handing out directions to the Marathon Village. Two thumbs up on organization. It was only about a 10-minute walk. I picked up my bib, my awesome Asics backpack, and lastly my shirt. The woman behind the counter informed me that the size I picked was just too big and insisted, or rather decided, I was going to take a Size Small. She may have been pushy, but I was too flattered to care. Overall the vendors weren’t as impressive as Chicago except for the other marathon organizations. Everywhere I turned I was tempted: French Riviera, Havana, Oslo. The guy at the Oslo booth made a really hard sell, however the date clashed with my current plans. But we had a good chat after he discovered that I had relatives in Norway.
After making a quick stop for gelato (I convinced myself that I would burn it off in a few days), I hopped back on the ghetto subway line. Since it was Friday evening, it was crowded. At the very next stop, I hear some woman on my car making the most awful sounds- she was singing. A gypsy with a karaoke machine in hand, she was blasting out an attempt at a song and begging for money. I was tempted to hand her some money while simlutaneously leaning over and cutting the sound off; however she got off at the next station to board the next car. So long gypsy woman.
When I made it back to my hostel, I went in my room to sort out my stuff. The older woman on the bed next to me just stared. I smiled. She still just stared. Eventually she asked my name. And then went back to staring. When I got just a little too creeped out, I went into the common area and got chatting with two long-term travelers. Not ten minutes later, I find the old woman sitting right next to me. No hi, no introduction, just more staring. It was quite odd actually. We briefly exchanged a few more words, but never actually had a conversation. I crawled into bed, but for safe measure, decided to face the other way. At least she wasn’t eating tuna out of a can while sitting in her underwear like my 60 year old roommate in Florence!