Towards the very end of the year last year I decided to take myself on holiday to Italy. I wasn’t in the greatest head space at the time and I just needed to get away from my own life for a few days, so I booked myself a city break to Rome. I’d never been to Italy nor had I ever been on holiday on my own before, so I was getting two experiences for the price of one.
I’m not going to write a “What I Did In A Day” but I’m just going to tell you some of the places I visited, some tips for travelling on our own and about some of the things I done while I was there. I’m splitting this into a few parts because there’s quite a lot I want to share, so welcome to Part One!
(One of my favourite photographs I took close to the Ponte Sant’Angelo)
Always made sure my phone was charged.
It’s so important now that we live in quite a dependent world of technology to make sure your phone is always charged. It was important for me, I can’t dance around that fact, but it’s important when you’re anywhere on your own especially if you don’t know the place, to make sure you have something so you can keep in contact with people, if needs be.
(Some of the postcards I sent!)
I sent postcards!
I have always loved the idea of postcards; mainly because it shows your friends and family a sense of where you are and what you’re up to. It’s also more personal than a text message and you can’t write a lot so you really want to talk about the best bits. Seeing as I went around the mid-December period, my friends and family didn’t receive their postcards until midway through January. I assumed they had just been lost in the post but they eventually turned up, the Christmas post must have slowed them down.
(The camera I borrowed from my Dad for the trip.)
I took lots of photographs.
I’m aware that you should live in the moment and there are still people who would give you a look at a restaurant or when you’re out on a walk if you think about taking your phone out to take a picture. There’s a time and a place for certain things, right? However, on holiday, while having the mental memory of it is great, there’s nothing I love more than looking back through photographs and that’s why it was really important to me to take photographs. My Dad kindly let me borrow his digital SLR to take with me and I also had my mobile phone so I wasn’t going to run out of photography options. As this was a solo trip, there were quite the number of selfies, and while that makes me seem like I was just taking pictures of myself all day, I was far from it. However, I did love taking a few photographs of iconic landmarks with myself in the photograph as well, because why the hell not?
(The only photograph of myself that isn’t a selfie; this was at the Fontana Del Tritone in the City Centre. The story behind this is below.)
Get someone to take your photograph for you.
This is a funny story actually, probably one of the stories I’ll tell for years to come. So one morning I was walking into the centre of town for some ice-cream and there was a really beautiful fountain called the Fontana del Tritone that I had walked past once or twice before. I had got a few photographs of it before but I decided to go out of my comfort zone and ask someone to take a photograph of me. I was in a foreign country, I knew no-one so I just had to walk up to someone and ask them but I listened about for a few minutes to see if I could hear anyone speak English. This isn’t me being racist or against anyone from another country, I just can’t speak any other language apart from English so it just made sense to do this. As I go to do this, a fairly older couple come up to me and ask me to take their photograph so I’m like “This is perfect!”. I take their photograph and they seem happy enough with it so they walk away and find a few more angles of the fountain. I got back over to them and say “Would you mind taking my photograph?”, the woman nodded and I showed her how to use the camera and she seemed fine with it all. So I stand and smile, as you do, and I see her hit the screen a little too aggressively then she hands me the phone back and asks me if that’s okay. I look through the photographs; she’s taken six and my shoulder is in one of them. That’s it! Quite literally just my shoulder. So I tell her, “Oh you didn’t actually get me in the photograph, I want to be in it with the fountain behind me.” She asked me how to take a photograph again which I found really strange considering I took their picture with a smart phone, and they’re pretty much all the same now. So the same thing happens, she barely gets me in the photographs so I stand and explain to her for a second time how to do it and how I want it to look. Just as I’m about to go back to my spot and pose, an Australian guy comes over and taps me on the shoulder to tell me that his niece might be able to take a photo for me instead. I said to him “If this doesn’t work out again, I’ll be right over.” Yes, I was right over. Her photographs were terrible, so I really hope she wasn’t trying to make any lasting memories with the photographs she was taking for herself. I go over to this man’s niece and ask her, she must have been about fourteen and I said “I’m assuming you know how to work this yeah?” so she laughed and said yes, so I handed her the camera, and she took a really lovely photo. This is the only time I asked someone else to take my photo because I didn’t want the hassle of the first woman to happen anytime I asked someone.
(The ice-cream never disappointed.)
Pizza and ice-cream were consumed the most.
When in Rome, right? I wasn’t plant based back in December so my typical day was ice-cream and a cup of tea for lunch and a pizza for dinner. If I had have been there for a month, yes I probably would have got sick of it but I was only there for a few days so it wasn’t all bad. It’s not the greatest diet in the world I’ll admit but I was walking a lot so I was walking some of it off at least!
(I got this particular pizza in the cutest little Italian quite close to the Colosseum.)
Gluten Free was easier than I thought.
In the country of bread and pasta I was worried I wouldn’t find a lot of places to eat but I was pleasantly surprised, they catered very well to gluten free and the majority of places had it on their menus without having to ask them. There was one pizza places I went to, I got lost trying to find somewhere else and I stumbled across it so I went and had a look. All their seating was outside and there were a few men in their mid-forties standing about so I sat down anyway and ordered, made sure I said gluten free quite a few times and the guy said that was fine. Another guy came and sat some bread down beside me and said “Free bread with your dinner” so I asked him if it was gluten free but after saying it a few times, he called over the guy who had served me and I asked him if it was gluten free. “Yes, yes, it’s free!” This was when I started to get worried. “No, no, is it gluten free?” He seemed confused and proceeded to tell me that it was free. I tried again and the same thing happened so I said “Okay great, thank you!” I moved the bread across the table and about two minutes later, my pizza arrived. I never had a bad pizza in Italy, I’ll give them that but here I was still concerned if it was gluten free. Thankfully afterwards, I had no symptoms or signs that it had gluten in it so I was very pleased. The guy who served me came back and pointed to the bread and said “Do you not want the free bread? Eat it, it’s free!” I politely declined and said that I was full from the pizza. Apart from that one experience, everywhere else I got served were fantastic.
(One of my favourite midshots of the Fontana del Tritone.)
I went on a social media break.
This was a very conscious decision and I’m glad I did it. Only my close friends and family knew I was going away, I didn’t post about it on my social media and I didn’t mention it on my blog. I still took photographs of places, myself and food to use later on (and more importantly, to keep for myself) but I didn’t want to be living on social media when I was there. I wanted to take in the sights, I didn’t want to have to worry about hashtags or updating everyone on the exact location I was. I know you never have to do that but this was such a new experience to me that I wanted to embrace it for all it was worth.
Thank you so much for reading Part One of my Rome trip! Part Two will be up next Friday so when it’s up, I’ll link it right here ❤