This is all I got from Rome. How did that come to be when I’m a photographer in a beautiful, ancient city? I’ll tell you.
I depart from Barcelona after facing the hard reality that I had to pay seventy euros on top of my Europass cause that’s the way it is. Seventy dollars less and I headed to Rome. The train ride there was pretty incredible. I remember all those views to this day, although we traveled much through the night, mostly through France. At around 3AM, French officers came on the train to check passports. They lingered on me because I’m Salvadoran; they weren’t really sure if I needed a visa to be there (I didn’t). I don’t know if this was their intention, but they sure made me feel really uncomfortable about my citizenship. It was weird.
I get to Torino, near Milano, I consider just ditching my hostel reservation in Rome to go to Milano… I didn’t though, which I regret now. I’m supposed to take a connecting train from there to Rome. Somehow, because I don’t speak Italian, I missed the first train to Rome. Now, I had to somehow figure out how to speak Italian and change my ticket time. In the booth is this really hard looking Italian man with vanilla skin and sky blue eyes. He talked so romantically but also angrily that I wasn’t understanding a speck of what he was saying. It was like watching a mime show, I could have put mute on that conversation and understood the same amount. The worst look he gave me was actually when I tried to speak Spanish to him; I figured there’s gotta be some words in there he can recognize. Well, he was kind of offended. No, definitely offended.
Due to all those delays, I get to Rome at a time I wouldn’t want to arrive to any new city. It is around 6PM, I roll my trusty luggage companion for a couple miles down nasty, broken up cobblestone. My feet, my hand, my soul was sore. I had assumed Rome would be all delightful beauty but that’s a stupid thing to think. The roads seem to have been paved by a sadist or a masochist, the streets are full of ruins (not the cool kind), trash is scattered everywhere, people are AGGRESSIVE, and drivers seemed not to really know where the road was or what a pedestrian is. It was chaotic for me, or maybe it was my mental state, or MAYBE… possibly the fact that I didn’t book a hostel in a safer area! Only to find out that my hostel is nonexistent. I’m not gonna lie, I cried a lot during my walk to the bus. I mean, thousands of miles away from home or from anyone that cares about me, lost in a a new city at night, with no hostel to sleep at, already very frightened by the environment, and going through personal turmoil all by myself is really not what I should have been doing.
Back at the train station, I reluctantly trusted a British man to help me find a hostel. He assured me that he was a travel guide, and had seen that I was crying so he wanted to help me. When he offered to carry my bags for me, I obviously refused, and he said that it’s good that I’m cautious. It turned out that he was just a really nice man who saved me that day. The next day, Osama Bin Laden died, and I had to get out of Rome ASAP. I had pizza, bread, wine, pasta, and salad at a restaurant next to the hostel, went to sleep, and the next day walked around Rome for two hours, sprinting to the attractions I had wanted to see my entire life, until my train departed to Florence that morning.
I’m traumatized. I hope Zak maybe can de-traumatize me and take me to Rome one of these days.