Wow, I’m already one week into my solo trip to Rome & India. I’m sitting here in an Internet Cafe’ on Princess Street in Fort Kochi, Kerala, India. I made it to India! But first, about my time in Rome. My first flight from Miami to Istanbul lifted off and immediately began with heart stopping turbulence, this lasted for somewhere between 90-120 minutes. I know this because I began watching Unbroken right away and lost concentration for much of it due to a complete terror of crashing. I’m not a good flyer, I do it anyway because my love of travel is greater than my fear of flying. I usually have someone with me though, someone’s hand to squeeze to help me through. This was a 10-hour flight and the turbulence was heart stopping for about half of the trip. But by the end I wasn’t as bothered by it, no one else seemed to be, so….
I arrived in Rome late and found my way to the train from the airport to Trastevere, the neighborhood in Rome where I’d be staying for four nights. From the train I located the 8 Tram and then walked through the bustling Trastevere night life to my Airbnb apartment where my host Ali was waiting for me. He was a bit distracted watching a movie, but made me a cup of tea and I got settled in. After 1am by now, to bed I went. It was a little awkward with him sleeping at the bottom of my staircase from the loft I was in but he ended up sleeping at a friend’s house the remainder of my stay.
My first day I headed out to explore. I’ve been to Rome twice before so I had some sense of direction. I did not feel threatened or nervous about getting lost, and I knew I’d find my way back if I did. Well, my phone died early in the day. The phone can be such a crutch when you’re alone, gives you something to be doing. I use it to take pictures often to post directly to social media and now it was dead. Now I’m really alone, it was a little uncomfortable. Being alone with myself is not something I’m comfortable with, as you may know if you’ve been following along. There’s also something about not having anyone to speak with that knows your language well. Not that I don’t enjoy trying to converse in Italian the best I can but it can be exhausting.
I ended up stopping to buy a real paper map, that was something else I was using my phone for. Time to go old-school, lol. And I did it! I was out all day, into the evening. I had a ‘Squirrel’ moment and followed some beautiful lights hanging across the streets which led me to my favorite attraction in Rome, the Pantheon! It’s a massive structure that always makes me feel small and in awe and I love being there at night. I sat and had a spritz in the piazza and people watched for a bit.
Moving along after, I headed in the direction of the Tevere River, so I thought. When I didn’t find the bridge back to Trastevere I realized I was lost, really lost! Somehow I ended up very far up river from where I should have. I was so far from where I thought I could possibly be that it took me a while to figure out where I was on the map because I wasn’t looking far enough away. I was cold, hungry and had to pee so bad. Luckily I had some leftover pizza from lunch in my bag. I had stopped in Campo di Fiori earlier to grab a bite to eat. I sat in a park, ate and looked over my map and when I realized where I was, I Could NOT believe it! So I got up, walked towards the river and began my journey home. It was beautiful, the walk even took me by the road leading to Vatican City. It wasn’t long before I recognized where I was and easily arrived home. So those were my first tests, turbulence, being alone and getting lost. Handling them all, I continued to enjoy my time in Rome. Took the train to Orvieto, ate pasta, gnocchi, pizza and a finocchiona, verdure e percorino (salami, roasted vegetables and good Italian cheese) sandwich to die for! I walked and walked some more, took many stairs and then an elevator the top of Vittorio which allowed me to see Rome from above! I complained about & tackled the cold weather. Then came the day to travel to India and shit got real!