Today’s blog was going to be one of misery. In fact at 4pm my status on Facebook read “So done with Rome”.
When I woke up at 8am everyone was out of the hostel – seriously – everyone! I resigned myself to the fact that today would be another solo day and that I just wasn’t going to meet anyone at this hostel.
The plan for the day was to see the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. They sell tickets online for it that let you bypass the line but I was so distressed by the fact I was alone in the hostel I just wanted to get out of there. I figured it was a Tuesday in low season – how bad could the line be? Plus, I didn’t mind spending a little time in line. It was semi-nice out and I had nothing to do all day.
Well, the semi-nice weather turned into outright thunderstorm and lightning and the little time in line turned into 3+ hours.
It was a cold and miserable day standing in line. At the start of the line there are dozens of people hawking their “tours” that bypass the line for the not so nominal fee of 25 euros. Person after person approached me and I would turn them down. At that point it wasn’t raining and I figured they were just lying about the lineup being 2-3 hours.By the time I had been standing in line for an hour the clouds opened up and it poured – not drizzle, but pouring rain. The people were still hawking but now I had invested an hour in line and it would be silly to bail out now – besides it was just a little while longer…
Two hours later and a total of almost three and half hours I stepped into the Vatican museum with soaking wet shoes, socks and pants. I seriously almost walked out of that line and went back home 4 separate times but talked myself into staying each time.
I ended up spending a little over an hour viewing the Museum and Sistine Chapel and it was a splendid display of architecture and collection of sculptures from a time long ago.
However my enjoyment of it was limited for two reasons. One was obviously how wet and miserable I was and my desire to race through it so I could go back home to change into dry clothes. The other was my lack of companionship to share it with.
When I eventually came back around 4 in the afternoon – sure enough – no one was here in the hostel.
And then a funny thing happened… the day got better – much better.
It all started with a great meal and a bottle of Prosecco.
I traveled to the Trastevere area known for their authentic and inexpensive cuisine. It was about a half hour bus and walk to the area but I was determined to have a great meal after eating crappy meals so far in Rome. Besides – I deserved it after the day I had.
On the way over on the bus two things of significance happened to me. For one I saw the Colosseum and Forum and that immediately put me in a better mood as I knew what awaited me tomorrow when I will visit them up close. I also met a girl visiting from Prague and talking to her got me excited about my upcoming visits to Eastern Europe – something I am looking forward to the most on this trip.
I stopped by a little restaurant and I started with Bruschetta followed by a main course of Pasta Carbonnara and finished off with Tiramisu. On my way out of the hostel, one of the owners gave me my welcome glass of Spumante Dolce (a sweet glass of sparkling wine) that I was supposed to have yesterday and it was so good it created a craving for some more.
The restaurant didn’t have it so I went for the next best thing – Prosecco. Now I really only needed a glass or two but it only came in a bottle (12 euros) and I figured I deserved it so, dammit, I ordered it.
Wow, what a great meal. It’s amazing how much the day did an about face and it continued on as a met a great girl named Jaimie from Montreal and her friend Freddy from London in my hostel room when I came back.We chatted for a bit, played cards and drank some more Spumante. After awhile Freddy left as did everyone else leaving just myself and Jaimie in the room alone. We drank some more and played “never have I ever”.
Go figure – it turned out to be a great day considering how crappy it started and it is a good reminder that things can change on a dime.