After a long night of airport camping and homelessness I landed in Rome bright and early at 8:30am.
By sheer coincidence today was Easter Sunday and one good thing came from having an early morning flight – I arrived in time to see the new pope hold Easter mass at St Peters square.
So, after being up for 24 hours and arriving at my hostel I headed straight back out to join the tens of thousands at the Vatican.
I spent my time on the crammed pack subway clutching onto my pockets as this was a pickpocket’s dream. I came away unscathed and walked with the crowds into the square.
Now I’m not religious and of course I couldn’t understand a word that was being said but that doesn’t take away from the enormity and significance of the experience.
Normally I try to stay away from big crowds as they make me feel claustrophobic and anxious but for this the crowd was the experience. Seeing tens of thousands flock to this was moving. I witnessed one woman crying as the pope spoke and a robe clad man who looked like he was a priest from South America singing along with the hymns as the choir sang.
They were all inspired, happy and moved and so was I.
After an overpriced lunch, where I discovered that pizza is priced by weight so the price on the menu is actually per gram and not per slice, I headed back to the hostel hoping that they would waive the 3pm check-in time and show me to a bed so I could snooze finally.
Alas they didn’t and I ended up just hanging out at the hostel for a couple of hours too tired to do anything else.
At 3pm I finally got my zzzz’s in – in fact massive zzzz’s (see the play on words in the title? I’m so clever!)
I awoke at 11pm to empty streets. I headed out to look for some dinner and ended up getting yet another overpriced meal. This time I had a (decent) spaghetti pasta with cream sauce and bacon, a (horrible) salad and a 1/2 liter of (also horrible) white wine.
Hopefully the food thing isn’t a trend and I’ll just chalk it up to being in touristy areas with limited choice on Easter Sunday when all the authentic Italians have closed up shop.
So that’s how I spent my first day in Rome – Mass(ive zzzz’s)! Seriously, how clever is that?