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36 hours in Rome: Selfie Sticks, Piss Puddles and Free Fiestas
They say you can’t see Rome in a day and to be honest, whoever the hell they are, are kind of right. It’s a huge city with an abundance of sights to see, foods to eat and things to do. Which is why I decided to stay for two days and cram as much in as possible.
Here’s three things I learnt in the 36 hours I was there:
- If you don’t have a selfie stick at the sights, you won’t fit in
My first task upon arrival in Rome was to see the sights without looking like an ultimate tourist. Which I assumed would be pretty damn hard seeing as I was wearing my life on my back and a camera around my neck. But there was one thing that made me feel slightly less touristy – I wasn’t walking around with one of those goddamn ridiculous-looking selfie sticks. It’s almost like there’s an unspoken rule about not rocking up to the Colosseum without first purchasing one from a punter on the streets. I learnt this the hard way as I waded through the thick crowds ducking under arms and dodging elbows in my attempt to get a decent view. Trevi Fountain was just as bad; I wouldn’t be able to count on two hands how many couples I saw holding selfie sticks above their heads whilst awkwardly tonguing in front of the statue. Basically the moral of my story is be prepared to swim through a sea of selfie sticks if you’re visiting Rome during peak tourist season.
- Don’t sit anywhere without first making sure there’s no piss
As with anywhere in Europe, pissing in the streets is pretty standard in Rome. Which is why I definitely should have checked before plonking my butt down on some stairs near the Trevi Fountain. Next thing I knew the back of my shorts were soaked in a substance that did not smell like water and I was feeling grosser than I’ve ever felt before. The nearest bathrooms could not be near enough. Safe to say those shorts and undies went straight into the bin.
Later that day I tripped on a bit of crooked cement and broke the strap on one of my sandals (which I managed to fix with a piece of chewing gum) so I wasn’t feeling like the luckiest human being at this point. I decided to start my night early and head to the nearest bar. Which brings me to my next point…
- Italian people know how to fiesta… and language barriers don’t exist in the dark
I was planning to chuck an all nighter so it was pretty much essential that I find a good place to fiesta. And that I did. After a few bevvies at a cocktail bar in Piazza Navona (which were hella strong), I jumped in a cab and asked my driver to take me to the best party place he knew. Bella festa, per favore! He picked up what I was putting down and drove me to Fiesta Roma, an outdoor nightclub near Delle Tre Fontane where the beats are loud and the people are rowdy. Much to the annoyance of the guys behind me I managed to flirt my way inside for free, heading straight to the dancefloor. What an experience that was. My initial ideas about Roman men being romantics dissipated within minutes as I spent the majority of the time peeling hands off my body and avoiding being dry humped from behind. I didn’t need to understand Italian to guess what was being whispered into my ear either. But even though I spent most of the night swapping dance spots and escaping back and forth to the bar, it was hands down one of the best fiestas I’ve been to (which is saying something after having lived in Spain for two months and attending a number of sick Spanish festivals). If you’re in Rome for a night and down to party I’d definitely recommend checking it out.
I’d also recommend setting yourself a time to go home and sticking to it if you want to be any sort of productive the next day. I did not do this and spent most of the day sauntering around the city taking blurry photos and running into restaurant bathrooms to vom. Nevertheless, I’d still say that I made the most of my 36 hours and have no regrets, not even a single letter.