When In Rome… An Introduction

start your dreams
Theme for the 2010 Rome Marathon: Quite Symbolic for the start of my trip!

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.

rome marathon village
Marathon village

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.

a wandering sole
A Wandering Sole signs the Rome Marathon 2010 Wall

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!

2 thoughts on “When In Rome… An Introduction

  • I too was suprised by all of the graffiti – also in Athens. However I made a photography project of it and decided to photograph all of the dirty parts of Rome and show off the graffiti!
    Sounds like you have had some crazy hostel experiences! What hostel were you at in Rome?
    .-= Sherry Ott´s last blog ..On the Road: Extended Honeymoon =-.

    • Looking back, I wish I had photographed the graffiti as it’s part of the city. I stayed at Ciak Hostel, but then switched to Blackberry House which I can’t say enough good thing about the owner there!

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