When you have less than 3 days in a city as exhilarating as Rome, there’s only one way to do it right: under the wing of a super friendly Italian (who happens to run and work for the Rome Marathon) and his 3 Spanish/Italian roommates in their insanely well-located apartment.
I was pretty drained when I arrived Sunday night, but Alessio’s hot couscous meal and invite for a nighttime walk around the area perked me right up. I was blown away that sites like the Colosseum and Arch of Constantine were within walking distance, and had to keep reminding myself that I was in a real city and not an amusement part. My favorite part of the night was walking on the same cobblestones that Abebe Bikila, the barefooted Ethiopian, tread when he won the 1960 Olympic Marathon and paved the way for East Africa’s distance running dominance. Totally inspiring and perfectly relevant to the next country on my agenda!
With some guidance from Pedro and Luis, my 2 Spanish roommates who are studying Architecture here, I also checked out pretty much everything on my must-see list, including… Piazza Navona, Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, Circus Maximus, Campo di Fiori, Spanish Steps, and Trevi Fountain. My mouth was permanently ajar, except when I gave it a rest to gobble up some gelato.
Other highlights of Rome included Alessio’s cooking (his focaccia bread, made with olive oil that he and his family harvest, puts every other loaf of bread to shame); runs through a nearby park that’s connected to the Appian Way; and dinner/wine at Pizzeria Il Podista, a running-themed restaurant owned by an avid marathoner that also churns out some of Rome’s best pizza.
Now, after an awesomely full stay in Rome, hosted by one of the nicest people I’ve encountered yet, I’m getting ready for my next big destination. While y’all are prancing around town tonight, dressed as toothless toddlers, Little Red Riding Hood, Dog the Bounty Hunter’s wife, Winnie the Pooh, or Daisy Duke (I’m talking to you, Matt and Luke)…
… I’ll be on a red-eye flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, my home for the next two months. I’m not sure what my internet access will be like there, but I’ll post some pictures and updates when I get a chance. Ciao, Europe, and thanks for the abundance of memories and new friends!