(contd. from earlier post)
And so, from the Vatican I made my way to the metro station to return to Rome and along, figured I had lost my way. And who should I ask but a young (and handsome, if He may) pastor for directions? Turned out that he was also on his way to the capital, and so we had a brief 10 minute walk where I learnt that he was actually French – a religious Frenchman, that’s a bit hard to believe – who obviously was happier answering the call of God in Italy.
To trim or not to trim
3 days in Rome passed by with a running nose, and seeing almost everything Rome had to offer – the Colosseum (stunning at night), Trevi fountain, the Spanish steps and the Pantheon. Then out of impulse, I did the weirdest thing – I went to a barber salon! Haircuts in Strasbourg are expensive, and after an enquiry, i figured that it was 75% cheaper! So, in Rome on my last evening, I communicated with the non-english speaking, Berlusconi-look alike barber in 5 italian words and a whole lot of actions and had a haircut that actually looked pretty cool 😉
Run, Vendor, run!
If you have been to Fashion Street in Mumbai where road-side vendors close shop and run at the sight of cops, this might strike a chord. Similar incidents happen in Italy, as I found out near the Vatican museum. After travelling through big cities in Europe where everything is orderly and people obey the law (in general), it was quite amusing to see vendors, selling fake Gucci’s and Rayban’s run from one end to another, and repeat the whole episode on a regular basis.
The bike ride
Papa G is the proprietor of a ‘hostel’ aptly named ‘Giovanni’s Home’ in Naples. His home was a blessing after 7 days of backpacking alone. He spent my first 30 minutes breaking some myths about Naples and its mafia and told me the places I should avoid. Thanks to him, I spent a wonderful day at the ruins of Ercolano and climbing up Mt. Vesuvius with 2 American girls who were on a short study-project. Back home for dinner and Papa G made us an excellent local specialty and we even dropped the girls to the airport. And on my final evening in Italy, not only did I get to sit on a fancy bike but was also treated to an excellent cioccolato-espresso at one of the popular cafes.
Lastly, I’d be erring on my part if I dint mention Sorbillo’s where I devoured the best pizza ever eaten. One huge Margherita in 5 minutes. Time to stop, or I’ll salivate my keyboard.
Long live Italian food! It was my constant companion through this solo backpacking adventure.
My 2 cents:
When some say Italy is all about food, they mean it. Don’t even dare return without having had a fair share of gelatos, paninis, pastas, pizzas, cappuccinos & espressos. And amidst all this gluttony, well, you can visit a few famed landmarks.