Como e’ bella ce’ la luna brille e’ strette
Strette como e’ tutta bella a passeggiare
Sotto il cielo di Roma
For those of you who like or know Dean Martin, I hope you caught the reference there.
I am in Rome…a! I just arrived last night and already did a lot in the first twenty four hours. According to my Withings Activite watch I logged 13.7 miles of walking today. But it’s not the walking that matters as much as the experiences. And what better way to start my first day of experiences here than by sleeping outside for the evening or early morning?
In “I’m back (Short Haitus Over)“, I mentioned I was on a bus going to Italy from the Netherlands. While on the bus I last minute booked a hostel in Rome called Discovery Hostel 247 (I mention their name because I’m going to talk them up in a bit). On booking.com (click here to get a discount for you and me next time you book a stay somewhere) the hostel mentions they close their reception at 11pm. Since I wasn’t going to be arriving until 1:30am, I sent them an email stating this and the receptionist said that would not be a problem. Well a 30 hour bus ride makes you tired, so I fell asleep towards the end and woke up around 2:15am to notice that we had still yet not arrived.
I arrived at the hostel in Rome around 3am, after riding a local bus and not paying the ride fee since I didn’t know you had to buy a ticket in advanced, and found that no one was answering the doorbell to let me in. The guy was nice enough to leave me a sticky note outside saying to call his direct number if the doorbell didn’t work, so I asked a group of two Italian couples out for a late evening snack if I could borrow their phone. They were very nice and did offer me their phone to use, but they joked with me by saying “You screwed up Mr. American because when an Italian is out (sleeping), there’s no waking him up.” Sure enough I called several times and the guy did not pick up the phone. When I told the couples I have Italian roots, they were like “Oh hey! Welcome home brother! Forget the hostel, stay out and enjoy the evening in Roma!”
On an evening in Roma.
While I wasn’t about to wander in the dark streets of a city I knew nothing about with a small and large backpack on me, after chit chatting a bit I ended up ordering a Margarita Pizza to eat and the couple left to go home. I did wander around the few blocks close to the hostel, but nothing worth seeing is open at 3:30am.
So what did I do? I found a bunch of tables and chairs outside from a local restaurant down the block, sat down, wrapped my bags around my legs, put my jacket on the table as a sort of comforter, and laid my head down to sleep. I slept there undisturbed from 3:45ish until 6am, when the sunlight and the sound of light traffic woke me up. Nobody seemed to think twice that some guy that didn’t look homeless (maybe I did) was sleeping outside.
With the help of early bird tourists just outside the hostel when I walked up–I went in, brushed my teeth, combed my hair, put on D-O and some cologne, and overall cleaned myself up. The owner of the hostel came in while I was using WiFi to figure out what to do for the day, and after we talked about the situation we agreed to share the responsibility and bill of my one night booking fifty-fifty, which is actually a merciful act on his part towards me. He told me he wasn’t going to charge me for paying his staff overtime for staying longer for me either. We even had breakfast together afterwards and he paid for it. And I went on to have a great eventful day thanks to Abu’s suggestions. All in all, this guy (Abu) is a kind person who runs a simple hostel and is willing to help people when they need it. His colleague and receptionist Ren is also the same, except when he is sleeping. So if you ever go to Rome definitely check out Discovery Hostel 247!
The point to this story is that when you’re traveling, things will not always work out the way you want, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t have fun and make the most of it. Last minute plans keep you on your toes and make life exciting (sometimes). I didn’t know I was going to see the Vatican City, St. Peters Basilica, Castel de Sant Angelo, Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, Villa Medici, and a bunch of cathedrals all in one day today, and on roughly three total hours of sleep, but I did and it was great. Now I am at a country guest house on the outer edge of Rome sharing land with an equestrian facility with horses and dogs just outside my window with a mile or two of open fields around. I had dinner comprised of a perfectly cooked Angus beef steak with vegetables, Ravioli with shrimp, a caramel chocolate dessert, and a good Italian beer while hearing music to my ears. And by music I mean people speaking in Italian.
Sott’er celo de Roma.
On an evenin’ in Roma.
Check out this picture I posted to Instagram. I would say today was a successful day. What do you think?