29 January, 2012


I recently got back from a little trip away to Rome, courtesy of my lovely girlfriend! It’s a pretty awesome place and very different to anywhere I’ve been before so it was great to be educated in the Italian ways of life. Below are a few things that I learnt whilst we were there.

Green man doesn’t mean go

The roads in Rome are really rather wide and the stereotype of Italians driving fast exists for a reason! Couple this with the first-day-of-the-holiday confusion of which way to look when crossing and you have a nasty game of chicken on your hands. Despite the fact that mopeds are seen in this country as a slow and cheap means of getting around (for pre-driving aged boys who want to impress the girls at school) they’re pretty fast off the line at the traffic lights, so beware! Another fun added extra is that even when it's a green man cars turning right at the junction still do so. Mamma mia.

Scooters: the enemy
Beggars are annoying

If you think we’ve got it bad here in Britain, go to Rome. Everywhere you go there are beggars and street sellers trying to flog you the kind of crap that not even charity shops would accept. For example; mini camera tripods (which are highly unlikely to even fit your camera anyway), flubber stuff which splats then reforms (just why?), bubble guns which make the most irritating ‘gun’ sounds; I could go on. This last item became quite ominous on day three as we were sitting in a square enjoying the sun and double figure temperatures (oh how I’ve missed you), and the crazy guy who was selling said bubble guns occasionally materialized out of the shadows, the only sign of his coming being the “n n n n n n” of the gun. I pray that he never gets his hands on a more dangerous weapon – he looked fairly psychotic.

The Italians are still riding the wave of good architecture.

Roma Termini: come on guys, where's the effort?
Rome is renowned for some amazing buildings and some incredible artwork, often combined, like in the Sistine Chapel or Saint Peter’s Basilica. We went to see both of these, and Emily even got a sneaky picture (naughty naughty!). They were breathtaking to look at and awe inspiring to imagine the work taken to complete. However, I feel that their modern architecture leaves a little to be desired. We got the train from the airport and arrived at Rome Termini which is the most hideous station I’ve ever seen!

The Sistine Chapel: jolly good stuff
Italian fashion is… different?

In our guidebook it said that it was “…important to take a nice outfit as Italians dress very well”. Which Italians? Maybe it was because we were hitting the mega tourist venues but at times it felt like we had wandered onto a crime scene investigation site or into a cellophane factory the amount of plastic puffer jackets we were surrounded by. I thought Ugg boots were bad but at least you’re not susceptible to getting a static shock off someone wearing them.

'Get the Italian look!'

Oh and just to finish, the Italian language is the best language. It's so fun to try and talk even if you're hopelessly bad like I am! Also, their ice cream is to die for darling.

Melt in your mouth goodness

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