– 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!
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..
Growing up in London means I’m a city girl at heart, but one of the harder things about adjusting to Rome is the lack of parks and greenery (which yes! London actually has a lot of) and with the 24/7 traffic, it just seems so…urban. Living in Nottingham for three years meant that I’d grown accustomed to forests, greenery and gardens aplenty so every once in a while my heart pangs for trees…leaves…verdure…!
One way of avoiding the traffic and getting my nature fix has been heading down to Termini and hopping on a 50 minute train to the beach of Santa Marinella. This beach is incredibly beautiful, clean and peaceful even when its really hot in September, one Italian even asked me “How did you find out about this beach?!” so the lack of tourists is very refreshing! This is because 26 degrees is “autumn” for Italians, but is tropical weather for a northern European lass such as myself, so the relative cold probably explains the lack of people. Getting there is cheap and costs €4.60 each way and there are a few trains an hour from Termini, Trastevere, Ostiense and San Pietro. There’s not much to see here besides the beach and the town itself is very small, but has a supermarket and a few seafood restaurants. I’ve come here 3 times already in two weeks! I’ll leave you some more pictures of the stunning beach and the sea:
I have been in Rome just under one week and I love it here! It’s always been my dream to move to Italy and learn Italian and as some of you may know, when I tried to move last year, it didn’t work out. It makes a lovely change from London in that the weather is 27-28 degrees nearly everyday, Rome is fairly compact and easy to get around by foot and bus and the whole city is basically just an open-air museum. On my 20 minute commute to work I come across at least 3 different ruins (one which looks like a mini coliseum, as well as the Coliseum itself). The language is beautiful, but as of yet, pretty indecipherable to me. I completed a beginners course in Italian 3 years ago (I always had it on the brain!!) but for the moment I’m self-teaching and doing tandem exchanges.
I live in the San Giovanni district, a student area which is a 20 minute walk from the Coliseum and has really good transport. I live with 3 other Italian students who are lovely and let me practice Italian with them and we live on the 9th floor, so I have this view from my bedroom window:
On my very first day, I arrived at my flat and my new housemate prepared me lunch and was showing me around 🙂 This is my daily walk into central Rome:
Sorting out a place to live was slightly difficult, as I’d heard that Italians only like to rent to people they know (still don’t know whether this is true or not) and had mixed success with renting websites like EasyStanza. In the end, I knew someone who knew someone who knew someone ELSE who was renting out a flat in Rome. Getting my tax code was a breeze and there are so many internationals in Rome that I can connect with. I don’t want to be one of those expats who spends a year in a foreign country who doesn’t learn the language or mix with the locals, so hopefully my friendship network will be a mixture of Italians and internationals. I’m planning lots of daytrips to the beach and other neighbouring towns which I’ll post soon.
Also, I’ve had gelato everyday since I’ve been here!!