– I prefer not to plan, I dream.
– I prefer not to plan, I dream.
October is the best month to visit Rome as the weather is still summery and there are fewer tourists; don’t even think about coming here in August where it can get up to 40 degrees! This month I managed to sneak a few trips to the beach after work and got to know the teachers and students at my school better, with one of them inviting me to lunch with her family. I also got a little bit of independence and was able to plan some of my own lessons and handouts at school, which I really enjoyed.
I experienced my first Italian strike (the first of many I’m told!) and got the day off school. Normally a strike (lo sciopero) will be planned in advance and everyone is given prior warning. It is almost always planned on a Friday, so as to give a 3-day weekend (called il ponte-the bridge) and buses will shut down, but metros will still be running.
A few days later, in San Giovanni I got to witness a protest where different groups were lobbying against different things; human rights, the poor treatment of refugees, taxes, the economic system.
I got to do some more language exchanges but they have gotten far too infrequent. I’ve officially dropped my Italian lessons and decided to learn Italian only through language exchanges.
I found the most incredible gelateria near my work and went there 5 times in 6 days. The first day I found it was magical! I went off of a recommendation from Revealed in Rome and chose two delicious flavours of gelato (chocolate and Sicilian almonds) and wandered over towards the river and caught the sunset by the Vatican next to the Corte de Cassazione, the grandest building in Rome!
I had a crazy day at the beach where strangers just kept coming up to me and talking to me, I made a new friend and a woman took professional photos of me for her portfolio! I won’t put them up here but have included my own from the beach:
I gave my first private English lesson and got to sample a lot of aperitivos. I also bought my first pair of real leather Italian shoes, bye-bye flip flops!
This is me after work, hanging out at Piazza Navona:
Until next week!
Having visited Rome for four weeks last year, I had already seen all the tourist sites more than once, so I just set about exploring the city on foot, solo. I live just south of the Coliseum in San Giovanni. I love San Giovanni as its tranquilissimo; safe, pleasant and quiet, but the downside means that you have to travel further for all of the action.
I paid homage to the traditions of gelato and pizza, making pilgrimages into central Rome everyday just to sample some sweet, sweet salvation. I was disappointed! The quality in the centre was poor and the prices weren’t cheap either. Because I can’t exactly live like a king (or queen) on my British Council salary in future I’m just going to go off of tried and tested recommendations, but the gelato above was my own find 🙂
The weather is incredible, much hotter than an English weather, with temperatures rising to 28 degrees some days. Coming from gray London, I couldn’t get enough of this. (Although to be fair to my native city, we had fantastic weather this summer, thank you London). Most of my time is spent walking around Rome and exploring. I love just looking at all the sunsets, ornate buildings, coffee rituals, Italian conversations, shoe shopping and lots more. I’ve been to the beach countless times…
The hardest thing to cope with has probably been the language; I have a burning desire to communicate, but can’t transmute my thoughts into words. Its so frustrating, since I felt I’d gotten to a really good level in Spanish, only to have to start back again at square 1. In fact, just today I was speaking Spanish with a native Spanish speaker and once I heard their reply thought “man my Spanish is obviously shitter than I thought,” until I realised he was speaking Italian. Doh!
I’ve made a few Italian friends and am doing at least five language exchanges a week, which I feel is still not enough. I will be severely disappointed if I leave Italy not fluent in the language, so will have to step it up a notch. I spend a lot of my time reading and writing at Piazza Navona (the main photo) and my work is just a few minutes walk from there. It might be heaving with tourists, but its popular for a reason and I don’t think my mbile phone photos do it justice!
I also climbed this badboy made out of bamboo, fittingly called Big Bambu, in Testaccio. You had to sign a disclaimer waiving culpability for death or something like that, but walking up 25 metres on bamboo was scary! Its part of MACRO, the contemporary art museum. I’ve also made some lovely international friends here too.
And finally here’s me on a vespa. Who’s Vespa? Who knows, but one of my goals is to drive one by the end of the year and maybe take a roadtrip. I don’t know if this will be somewhat impeded by the fact that I can’t drive a car…
Italian’s are shocked at what us English eat for breakfast. Ham? Sausages? EGGS? These foods are far too heavy for early mornings and instead Italians prefer to indulge in un caffé and something sweet; biscotti or un cornetto. Due to early morning starts at the school, I have taken to this routine with gusto! Practicing my Italian with the staff at the café, nipping out of lessons for a quick caffeine fix and indulging my sweet tooth (which only gets sweeter with time) with un marrochino and un cornetto cioccolato for €2. This bar is a 10 second walk from the main doors of my school and can be found on the Corso Vittorio Emmanuele II. It’s nice to have a quick breakfast with other teachers before returning back to the chaos of the classroom, alas I fear I am becoming a coffee addict!
Maybe its because I’m a Pisces. Maybe it’s because I can’t swim and like to taunt myself by staring at bodies of water and hanging out at Santa Marinella beach pretending to swim :p. Either way, one of my favourite places in Rome on a sunny day is the Tiber River. Walking down the riverside and descending down away from the chaotic Roman traffic (the sound is at least partially blocked out) and strolling along the Tiber is just incredible. The river bank is completely empty, though the odd cyclist/jogger/illegal vendor cycles/jogs/saunters past, you pretty much get the river to yourself. The reflection of the bridge on the water is bella! On warm days you can usually take part in watersports here or take a cruise downriver. Here are some of my photos, enjoy!
And just today after work, walking around the maze that is Rome, I happened upon the river and saw this gorgeous sunset over the Vatican:
Beautiful sights like these are why I always carry my digital camera around in Rome. Its also why I was really angry that I forgot it today so the sunset photo is from my phone..