Welp, today officially marks the day that I ran out of fucks to give about how much I spend on this trip. I opted out of my last two days at the (still really cool, but does lack a refund policy) hostel and booked a place in Napoli for Tuesday and Wednesday nights. There were a lot of factors, but the most important ones were that the airbnb has a washer and a dryer (laundry is so fucking expensive in hostels), the pizza in Napoli is apparently life changing, and I can experience the Amalfi coast and pretend like I’m half movie star, half made man. Super pumped about all of that. Especially the laundry thing. More people really need to buy dryers in Italy.
Anyway, I went full tourist for most of the day today. I would apologize, but as I alluded to yesterday, you really can’t go anywhere without being a tourist. This whole city is flooded with recognizable attractions. I woke up and hung out with my hostel friend who is apparently going to come visit me in Venice in a week. After he left for some hippie-ass-sounding place, I ventured out to the Coliseum. Evading all the hawkers selling selfie sticks and fake tickets, I elbowed my way to the front of the actual box office and purchased a ticket to and a guided tour of the ancient stadium, along with access to the Forum.
I did take a lot of pictures, and some of them are decent. But, like, just Google that shit and you’ll find much better shots. The tour was relatively informative (apparently the Coliseum was paid for by the conquest of Jerusalem, which was essentially the Holocaust well before the actual Holocaust) and thorough. It was also only 5 euros, so I didn’t have any buyer’s remorse. The Forum was actually awesome in the sense that it legitimately inspired awe. If there’s one thing I took from today, it’s that the ancient Romans fucking got it. These motherfuckers lived large and didn’t apologize for shit (including multiple genocides, mass slavery, and a general lack of basic human decency. But whatever, their buildings were dope). Walking through the ruins of the Forum, I started to realize that I was walking through the literal foundation of society as we know it. None of these realizations are anywhere close to original, but from a personal perspective, it gave Rome a significant amount of depth that I wasn’t expecting.
But that’s not to say that my overall opinion of the city has changed. I still completely stand by my post from yesterday. And nothing has really made me regret my decision to cut the trip a couple of days short to indulge in the baser needs of cheese-soaked bread and sun-soaked sand. However, thanks to a failed recommendation from our favorite asshole (just for some context since this motherfucker keeps coming up: he and I roomed in college for 3 years and are essentially a straight married couple. As usual, don’t ask questions) I unintentionally stumbled upon a café with live jazz. After that wildly unsuccessful search in Florence, I felt compelled to give it a shot.
The music was objectively mediocre, but contextually incredible. The 4-piece band (one of the pieces was a shaky-voiced crooner) played some Sinatra and Bette Davis. The bartender had to come clarify my gin martini order, despite its presence on their cocktail list. I was obviously terrified of the end result of this order, but was pleasantly surprised by the ensuing drink. Whether it was intentional or not, he over poured a bit on the vermouth and put a lime wedge instead of lemon. These slight alterations made the martini a bit sweeter than I generally prefer, but it was more than palatable (Yes, I am a prick). I had already eaten a decent dinner (this goddam hostel is incredible. My boy Fabio came through clutch again with three separate types of pasta) so I ordered the most simple (fine, cheap. Judge me.) thing on the menu: ricotta, walnuts, and honey. Strange combo, but it was actually really fucking good and did well to quiet the gin-induced stomach rumblings.
Despite the decent ending to the night and the relatively interesting daylight, Rome still looms more than beckons. Maybe (probably) I’m just an asshole who can’t get used to hostel life and am taking it out on the single most influential city in the history of human kind. Maybe I’m just (sexually) frustrated that none of my roommates have tried to save space and share a bed yet. Maybe I’m just coming off the high of Florence, the crown jewel of my life. Whatever it is, I’m trying to be optimistic (OK I just heard it. I realize that this sounds completely ridiculous. Like, “Oh my God, the middle-class American white kid isn’t enjoying his three-month long vacation from anything slightly resembling real life. Why must the good suffer?” But this is literally just a typical travel blog so what did you expect?) and experience as much as possible each day.
Parenthetical phrases are dope. Sharpton for president y’all. I’m outie. (If you don’t get that reference, look it up immediately. And if you don’t laugh for a minimum of 30 seconds, know that we would never be friends in real life.)