Return to Roma – Roma, Italy

Sitting here in the Roma airport at baggage number 11. I didn`t check anything so I have nothing to wait for but turns out Susannes flight gets here in 10 minutes and this is her belt as well. So what can I say? I did Spain. As well as I wanted to and came out of it alive. I have been down, its true but I feel my mood lifting. I know that part of it is that I have been tired. This whole working on the road thing can really take it out of you. Next time, I will choose less places and stay put for a longer period of time. The whole bus, plane and train thing is what seems to stress me the most. I guess it must be the schedule thing.

I met Sus a few years ago in New Zealand and traveled with her and her brother Kenneth all around the South Island. We had the most amazing time imposing our inherent silliness on the unsuspectings. We haven`t really had much contact between then and now but she is just one of those kinds of friends. The type that you don`t need to talk to but you just pick up right where you left off, as if it was yesterday.

So when we found each other at the airport, we embraced and it was just like old times. The only thing different the color of her hair and the length of mine. We caught up on the past couple years on the 45 min train ride from the airport to Termini. We navigated our hostel with no problems and checked in. It was all she could do to stop me from stopping at each pizza place we passed on the way.

“Just 5 more minutes Carmella!” she pleaded as I made the most pathetic whining noise. I was starving as all I had in my tummy was the cherimoya from this morning. And here, I was finally in the land of Pizza and Gelato. Five more minutes was a lot longer than it seems.

We had a few problems checking in as Yellow Hostel was not living up to its great reputation. They were very unorganized and we were not impressed by the layout. This is clearly one of these hostels who tried hard for a while and is now coasting on something that is long gone. After speaking to a few others, we found we were not the only ones who felt this way. We all agreed that staffing is crucial and here they are sorely lacking in talent. The one good thing was the breakfast tho even that was contracted out to the restaurant next door.

After dropping off our stuff, we were off and intended to spend our time consuming as much gelato as humanly possible. First stop was at the corner where I found the most amazing mushroom and cheese pizza. I am sure that the happy sounds I was making while eating helped the pizza guys forgive me for speaking in Spanish while ordering. I couldn`t for the life of me remember even the most basic Italian. I suppose I needed to get some pizza and gelato into my system before I could even attempt it.

Next we wandered up and down and all around Rome. I was pretty surprised at how much I remembered and it was like I was just here. Not much had changed except that the air seemed a bit warmer. I didn`t remember how much the streets smelled like pee tho and that was something I couldn`t have done without. We tested out 4 different gelato places and tested about 4 kinds at each one. We ended up getting a little lost (as you do) and found ourselves hitting all the major tourist sights. We saw the Trevi Fountain, Forum, Piazza Venezia, Piazza Navona, Santa Maria Maggoire, and many other random ruins.

At the Pantheon, we walked into a Gelateria on the corner just to “see what flavors they have.” This phrase quickly became my signal to Sus that I was ready for more Italian treats. In this particular place, I still hadn`t finished the cup of gelato from the place we had just visited. The man behind the counter told me to throw it away and he would give me better gelato for free. I wasn`t thrilled with my current flavors so I trusted him and tested out his brand. Sus just shook her head and laughed. Now she was beginning to remember what it is like to travel with Carmella.

Hours later, we reckoned that we must have walked 100 miles so all gelato was forgiven. We climbed up the endless stairs (no way we were getting into the dodgy lift) and retired to our 5th floor room. We reasoned that the only way we could afford to pig out this way was to be completely self-propelled. No elevator, metro or bus for us. It was pure feet all the way, gelato and pizza in hand.

Today I am grateful for reunions.

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