So here I am again. Your little pinay being all brave and confident to travel alone. Last time I went to Paris, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca - all 3 cities in a span of 9 days. It was something that I wouldn't do anymore because it was exhausting. This time, I decided to focus in just one city for 5 days, in the imperial city of Rome! I want to share this especially to my fellow filipinas who are on a limited budget and are travelling alone.
Initially, when you arrive at the airport, make sure to buy a bus or train ticket in one of the stalls in the arrival section. Depending on your length of stay and preference, you can choose from a single journey ticket to a 24-hour, 2-day, 3-day and 1-week unlimited travel pass. You can use this ticket to ride buses, subway trains and trams within the city. Just so you know, these modes of transport could be very crowded during peak hours so just be ready.
Getting around the city is easy with the use of Google Maps! This app is amazing especially for budget travellers like me. Make sure to always calibrate the compass of your app because if not, you will be lost especially if your destination is just a walking distance.
My first day was just spent for travel, finding my accommodation and a little bit of rest. I booked my accommodation thru Airbnb which is a bunk-bed room good for 6 people and it was very close to the metro train station. I only paid £12 per day! In the evening, I went to Trevi Fountain just to admire its beauty at night. It was also a good walk around the Spanish Steps with its surrounding shops, restaurants and street performers.
The next day, I started my DIY tour and went to the Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Ampitheatre. I bought the ticket online and printed it out before flying to Rome. I realised it was the best decision of my life when I saw the long queue for tickets outside. You can also use your Colosseum ticket to enter the neighbouring attractions - Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. My favourite is the panoramic view in the Palatine Hill. The rest of my tour is visiting the Pantheon, a former Roman temple turned church, and just walking around Campo de' Fiori - an interesting marketplace with local produce, flowers and delicacies. A little bit near the Pantheon is the ‘Area Sacra de Largo Argentina’ which is like a playground for chubby and friendly cats. If you're a cat lover, this is worth your visit. I also decided to look for souvenirs and leather bags. I wasn't planning to buy one but leather bags were just everywhere so I was tempted.
For my third day, I went to the Vatican. I bought my ticket online for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel a day before going there. I couldn’t find the option to buy a ticket for St. Peter's Basilica (maybe it was too late for me), but I suggest you buy one with access to the dome where you can have a panoramic view of the Vatican City and the rest of Rome. Just be prepared to be on a long queue for security check before entry. It's a huge area to be touring around so make sure to wear your best walking shoes and be mindful of your outfit since it is the centre of Christianity
For my fourth day, I woke up early and went to the Trevi fountain for an IG photo session without the crowd. I think the best time is around 7am. Since I'm alone, I just relied on my tripod and bluetooth shutter. Just take note that you cannot sit at the edge of the fountain or else you'll hear a loud whistle from one of the security guards. One thing you should do here (so you’re not missing out) is to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. One coin means you’ll return to Rome; two, you’ll return and fall in love; three, you’ll return, find love and get married. I didn’t know this until I went home so I missed my chance of wishing to get married! Anyway, moving on to the next spot, I visited Transtevere, a bohemian area which has its own special set of restaurants, shops and a plaza. I just had my lunch there and went back to the city. Since I still had free time, I bought a bus tour ticket from one of the street vendors. The cheapest was the EnjoyBus company but they have lesser bus in operation which means a longer wait time compared to other bus companies such as BigBus, City-Sightseeing, etc.
The fifth day was my last day in Rome. Since my flight was in the afternoon, I decided to continue with the bus tour which was valid for 24 hours from the time I bought it. It was a sunny day, so the bus tour was all worth it with the beautiful sceneries of Rome.
So that's it, my imperfect itinerary. But of course, I wouldn't end this blog without talking about the food in Rome. "When in Rome, your tummy will not be doomed!" Food is literally just everywhere so it wouldn't be a problem getting hungry. Well, it was a bit of a problem for me because I don't speak Italian and I was just alone so making an order was usually awkward and challenging. However, they usually understand English so it's not a big deal really. For coffee lovers, you can try the coffee in 'Sant' Eustachio il cafe', which has been serving good Italian coffee since 1930. You must make an order and pay at the cashier first, then bring the receipt to the bar. To try the best pizza, a lot would recommend 'Forno Campo de Fiori'. It’s a small bakeshop selling traditional pastry and pizza near the market. What I suggest is if you see a lot of people ordering then most likely it's a good one. For gelato, you can try 'G. Fassi'. They claim to be the very first ice cream shop in Rome. I like how affordable it is there and it was close to my accommodation. You can also try 'Frigidarium' which is within the city centre and has good reviews. For dinner, there are so many restaurants everywhere especially in Piazza Navona and Transtevere. If you really want an authentic Italian restaurant, look for a restaurant that closes after lunch and opens back at dinner time. I'm sure our Google friend can help you with that
Soo… I hope you learned something today my friends! Travelling alone could be one of the loneliest activities to do but on the other side, it is empowering, fulfilling and hassle-free! So book it already and go for it. Fly and soar high just like a bird! LOL Okay I'm talking nonsense now, goodbye!