Friday, 5 June 2015

Untold Travel Story: Avventure a Roma (2011)

If you have been following me for over 3 years, you’d know that whenever I travel, I will almost always write about it on this ol’ blog. But there are travel stories that I have yet to share, mostly because it all happens before the blog. But I’d really love to reminisce and write about them, mostly because these stories are worth telling and I may never see these people again. Maybe one day when I'm old and decrepit, this would be proof that I did indeed meet them. Enjoy!

The one and only time I ever had a girls’ night in abroad was when I went to Rome in December 2011. My Studienkolleg girlfriends and I flew to Rome, when the upperclassmen were struggling with their final exam. There were 6 of us in total: me, my Chinese friends (Dan and Yi), my Madagascar friend (Mimi), my Hungarian friend (Melitta) and my Albanian friend (Dorieta). Dori was actually the one who came up with this idea and ended up having a group of girls. We flew with Ryan Air and stayed in a hotel whose name escapes me at the moment, the expenses came up to about 90€/person. She and Melitta did all the booking and we paid them back afterwards.

Because we chose the no-baggage package, we could only bring hand luggage - or, in our case, carry-ons. This was during my learning-to-knit phase, Mimi taught me. So we both got our knitting supplies in our bags and knitted on the plane - and the hotel. We arrived there after dark - it was winter so probably around 6-ish -, checked in and went out for pasta and pizza. It was the worst! It was tasty but really expensive - for expat students, anyway - and really tiny portions. Afterwards, we went to the nearest supermarket (next to a Carrefour) that was still open and bought as much food as we could for the following days. Little did we know, it was the first bad experience among a dozen more.

The next day was dedicated to exploring the town. Now we’re talking! First, we obviously had to go to the Colosseum. But, because we hadn’t booked a ticket in advance, we had to stand in a long line. So we decided not to go in. Instead, we took tons of pictures outside and bought souvenirs for our loved ones. We witnessed the first sighting of Italian pick up lines when a vendor told Yi, “You’re so pretty, I would let you have something for free.” What a line! She picked something and he stuck to his words; it was for free! Then we moved on to our next destination: Piazza Venezia. Rome was so small, we decided to go on foot. On the way, Melitta and I got gelatto, obviously. Once we arrived there, we walked up steps and Dorieta was on the lead. She lay on top of them to get her pictures taken, which we didn't realise until the authorities yelled at her to get up. We laughed so hard.

After visiting Fontana di Trevi - and doing the coin-toss thing, we had lunch at a small restaurant inside one of Rome’s small alleys. Again, expensive, but generous portions this time. However, not very tasty. Yi, who’s lactose-intolerant, had to suffer through her spinach pasta, which wasn’t satisfying at all. Afterwards, I wanted to go to this small woodworks store, with a Pinnocchio seated in front of it. I just wanted to take pictures with this lovely puppet. The second sighting of Italian pick up line: when Dorieta wanted to buy cola from a vendor and it was too expensive, he said, “Kiss me and I’ll give it to you for free!” She declined, by the way. We stopped by Piazza di Spagna, the shopping district. There were so many people sitting on The Spanish Steps, where the sun hit it just right. A young man offered us roses, as a form of flirting it seemed. We all accepted and had our photos taken with the flowers. But, apparently, the man wanted money in return. We returned the roses instead, of course.

Then off to Vatican City with us! Obviously, we didn’t buy the ticket to get into St. Petersburg. So we just took tons of photos on the churchyard. We saw this huge and tall Christmas tree, which was missing its star. Afterwards, we had dinner at the hotel - eating persimmons we bought from a nearby store - and had the best girls’ night in ever. We talked about plenty of private stuff, things I don’t think I could ever talk about with even my best friends. It was nice to unwind after that LONG walk. The next day, we checked out and embarked to Villa Borghese gardens only to appreciate nature and fooled around. We caught our flight at 3PM and flew back to Germany.

The best part of this trip was obviously walking through small alleyways of Rome. It was my dream! Some stereotypes are true: you can literally see vespas lining the streets. They came in various colours and models. It was also very funny to see the Romans speak with their hands. Rome wasn't all to different from Jakarta, except for the city structure and various renaissance buildings. The last night with all the girl talk was also quite relieving and eye-opening. Despite the bad experiences, I enjoyed the trip very much. I only wish I had remembered to take out my camera throughout the journey - all these photos were taken using my friends' cameras. Writing this post makes me miss these girls. Hope we can see each other again someday.

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