Have you ever returned from a trip and, upon reflection, found yourself thinking, “If only I had known some of this stuff BEFORE I went!”? At this point, you probably just shake your head and then convince yourself to move on without any regrets ’cause YOLO. Along with a timely reminder about the value of real-life experiences.
If your answer is yes, then high five! I feel ya. If not, then you’re probably a lot more travel savvy than me – please teach me your ways and I will arrange a triple chocolate chip cookie for your efforts c:
The very first time I wished this was upon my departure from Rome. Since Rome was the last stop on our crazy Europe itinerary (it probably wasn’t even that crazy, I just like using that word to make it sound cooler), it was the first chance I got to take a deep breath and look back at our adventures.
Just to be clear: Some of these might not even just be specific to Rome. They could very well be general travelling tips. However, in my head, they will forever be associated with Roma.
1. The Weather is Bipolar
For a Karachiite used to 365 days of sun with maybe 2 days of drizzling (if we’re lucky), the idea that, at any given moment, the sky can burst out into big, fat tears and thunderous rage (literally) is a little difficult to grasp. The three days that we were there, we felt like we experienced three different seasons each day! Thankfully, we had learned our lesson in Florence – check the weather forecast before stepping foot into the great outdoors.
2. The Catcall(er)s Are Worse Than the Pickpockets
Everyone had warned us about potential pickpockets in Rome. But no one had mentioned that catcalling was a thing (here or in Paris)! I mean, you’d think two girls born and raised in Pakistan, wouldn’t really be surprised – we either develop really thick skins or get ready to take off our chapals every time there’s even the hint of a whistle while walking down the street. When it happens in a place you’d least expect it to though, you can’t help but be a little taken aback. Followed by the realisation that you’re not wearing chapals you can easily take off. On the bright side: we did manage to avoid the pickpockets.
P.S: Not trying to say that the city is full of creeps or anything. Just sharing an experience we had so you can be extra prepared.
3. The Tourist Spots Also Like To Go On Vacation
As it turns out, it’s kind of important to make sure that a touristy place you’re headed to isn’t currently taking a break from tourists such as yourself. I guess we’re kind of presumptuous like that – just expecting a place will be there looking all grand, waiting for us to take selfies with it. So when we reached the Trevi Fountain, coins on the ready, list of wishes prepped, the last thing we expected was for it to be under renovation. In retrospect, it might have been a good idea to look that up before we showed up, dripping wet, after battling 2 hours of rain.
Despite everything though, we still managed to have a jolly good Roman holiday (minus any encounters with modern day Gregory Pecks). And just so you’ll believe me, here’s some pictorial proof (yeah, just gonna pretend that you’ll doubt my word because I couldn’t think of any other way to force these photos into the post).
Final words: The historical charm of Rome, for me, was incomparable to any other city I’ve visited. The haunting ruins of eons past are a reminder of the time when it served as the hub of the Roman Empire. Temples, basilicas, the remains of imperial palaces and the rich mythology that accompanies them is exhilarating.
So, while I wish I had been a little more knowledgeable, I wouldn’t ever want to go back in time and replace it with another city.
That’s all for now. Ciao!
You can also read about my adventures in other European cities (especially if you’re in the mood to be amused at someone else’s expense) by following these links: