It was a cobble-stoned, garlic infused, balmy night that we arrived in Rome, and the days that turned into nights- and vice versa – were no less magically authentic. In the dark, we would chase through the silent, lamp lit avenues with new best-friends, and as morning dawned we would explore this ancient city purely in the direction of our latest gelato cravings. My time in Rome truly was all fun and games, and these are the lessons I learnt.
- Know that there is only one place to stay.
And that is: Yellow Hostel.
Like the Colosseum, this place is a Roman Institution. If you’ve ever stayed there, you’ll rave about it to anyone that even drops the Rome bomb on talks of their travel plans, and if you haven’t yet been to Rome, then I’ll be THAT guy (girl) now.
You need to stay here! Besides what you’d think, this place isn’t yellow, the beds aren’t yellow and the reception girls aren’t dressed in yellow body paint. It’s a useless name really, but one you need to remember.
Be completely lured by the bar and outdoor area upon arrival, and be utterly ready to relinquish your attempts at Merlot aided Italian sophistication, in exchange for €1 shots freely poured by your new favourite bartender. Let these run their course and give you the confidence to partake in dance-offs, to the songs that will compose the “EUROTRIP ‘14 YEEWWWWW” playlist you will keep on your iPod forever.
- Skip breakfast.
You’re in Rome, why waste a perfectly good meal opportunity on breakfast when you can go straight for the main attraction. Pizza and fettuccine, I’m talking to you!
There are way too many places offering “the best pizza” on the block, and it seems that homemade pastas are a standard procedure. My best advice is to see if Nonna is out the back whipping up her traditional Bolognese. Yum!
- Pop bottles.
Water bottles that is, and take advantage of all those random water fountains streaming pools of ice cold H2O.
- Try before you buy.
This is a universal rule, but even more vital when it comes to gelato.
Always, always try, and if they didn’t give you enough on the taster spoon, try again, you’ve only got two scoops, make them 2 to remember.
- Make yourself at home.
When it’s disco-nap time, it’s disco-nap time, and a disco-nap requires all the love it can get.
Most of the time, the world keeps going when nap hour begins, so you are generally free to dominate the dorm room. Our favourite plan of attack was to place all of our mattresses in the middle of the room and have a good old afternoon spoon, or Siesta – call it what you want.
When annoyed dorm mates enter and object to your dictatorship over the 12 bed room, just ask them if they want to join – they are probably just jealous. In the off chance they reject your offer, pretend to fall back asleep.
- Cover up.
Against popular demand, all churches and religious places worth seeing require a huge lack of skin on show. In the risk of spending unnecessary cash on a nun-length dress you will never wear again, or worse, wearing pants on a 34C day, grab a scarf and wrap it around a few times.
Voilà! New skirt, with the added functionality of being twirled off and stuffed back in your bag immediately after you exit the Vatican.
After all, you need to let those legs breathe, and that tan to keep developing. Thank me later.
- Ask for a skinny latte.
Just for fun. Know this, Skinny Milk is not a ‘thing’ in Italy. Go fat or go home!
These are the commandments, if you’re in Rome, you must follow accordingly.