A Travellerspoint blog

March 2010


When in Rome do as the...erm....Spanish.

sunny 19 °C

Well hello there young uns.

So for those of you who don't know I have recently voyaged (voyage=fly with ryanair) to Rome. This was not only my first trip to Italy but my first trip to a country where I didn't speak the language. Ergo, I was apprehensive.

First things first: I understood about three hundred times more Italian than the first time I went to Russia. So that was the first hurdle avoided. Phew! Plus everybody appeared to speak at least a little Spanish. That might be because half the city of Rome appeared to be Spanish. Seriously.

And I thought it was the British that travelled in packs without speaking the language...

The first reason we went to Rome was because my housemate Ester's brother is doing Erasmus there and he very kindly let a group of us stay in his flat for a week. It turns out Pablo (Ester's brother) and his flatmatmates were really really nice and hospitable and really made an effort for us to see everything and enjoy ourselves, which we did. A lot.

And the second of course is Ryanair.
This was my first experience with Ryanair and well, what can I say. You get what you pay for. But its so damn cheap who really cares? (Speaks the eager consumer to the death of the environment).

We drove to Frankfurt (entertained by Tati) and arrived at the airport which was home to some unusual translations.
I'm sure I could be come a millionaire by going round restaurants and tourists sights and correcting their translations

From Frankfurt our flight was problem-free (that is if you consider sitting on a plane for two hours subject to a tirade of recorded advertisements problem-free of course).

We arrived extremely tired at around 11pm at night after about 12 hours of travel,When we arrived in Rome we took a bus from the aiport to the centre.
Outside the airport. 18 degrees! This was quite the shock after leaving from the Nancy winter!

We ended up eating a Mcdonalds and the women who served us turned out to be pretty fluent in Spanish and English. I do hope that is not what is awaiting me as a language graduate.

Then we arrived at Ester's brother's house which was full of people which is how it stayed the whole week. So safe to say there was never a dull moment...which of course always makes for the best travel experiences (no irony intended). It was a really good week.

To sum up, we spent a lot of time sightseeing and saw:

The colosseum
...and In
An illuminated cat. Just thought I'd sneak that one in there as it was so utterly biazarre.
The Vatican
The Vatican Museum. Wow.
The most expensive street in Rome
The Spanish Steps
The Roman Forum
The Pantheon
La Cúpula
The Oldest Church in Rome
Some nice streets
The Tiber River
Some nice views
Including some rather odd trees
The Spanish Embassy
Every other tourist spot possible
And aside from sightseeing we:

Ate Italian ice cream
and Tiramismuuuuuu
Did a spot of night tourism
Partook in el botellon (i.e. drinking in the street) a l'espagnol or of course a la chav

And salimos de fiesta of course. (Partied)

Incidentally, there are quite a few funny stories/anecdotes/bizarre incidents to report:

  • One night, a little tipsy we got home soaking wet from the rain and as I was washing off the mascara which had smudged down my entire face I managed to knock my new nose piercing out and it broke. You see, the problem as it is a relatively new nose piercing it heals quite quickly and I still hadn't quite got the hang of changing the piercing and couldn't find my other stud. To cut a long story short, I had to repierce my nose and then dose up on sugary cake to stop me from fainting.

  • The icing on the cake to our super cheap flights (la cerise sur le gateau...new phrase I've learnt :) ) was during our route home; we had to fly via Venice which had a rather militant Ryanair staff. So we were forced to spend over half an hour unpacking and repacking our bags so that not only did it fit into the handluggage holder but so that it didn't way a gram over 10kg.

  • I met a Catalan who insisted he wasn't Spanish...and very patronisingly explained to me where Cataluña is and why he would prefer not to speak Spanish. Which incidentally he seemed more than happy to do when he was unsuccessfully trying to grind up against me. No. Thank. You.

  • Another charmer at the party decised to start a conversation with me along the lines of:
    So I replied that yes I did speak Spanish and there was no need to speak so slowly.
    ...15 minutes later when he was still speaking to me at the speed of what I can imagine would be a tortoise's if they indeed spoke. I asked him to stop and when he didn't asked him a few more times. He didn't take to this kindly and ignored me for 15 minutes before tapping me on the shoulder and telling me: "Eres muy borde!" which roughly translates as "You're quite a stroppy lady".

  • We were very maturely making "your face" jokes when a lady told me. "Don't worry. Tell her you don't have an ugly face. Tell her you have a funny face. Because you do. And there is nothing wrong with having a funny face.

  • I also managed in my perfect Italian (here the irony is intended) to get the price of my drink reduced by half. (My Italian consists of speaking Spanish in a terrible mock Italian accent.)
    It went something like this...
    me: Vodka Coca Cola...quanto?
    Barman: Dieci
    me (gesturing pathetically with a note): Solo cinque. (Smile).
    And just like I had a half price drink. Probably the first and only time that has worked.

  • I would like to add that this is the same night I managed to get an Erasmus card by fooling a Spanish man into thinking I was Spanish (by telling him my mother is Welsh when he asked about my name). Not sure if this is a credit to my Spanish skills, my blagging skills or to his immense stupidity. I don't exactly have the pinta española.

  • Before I tell this last little anecdote I should mention I have lots of American friends...so I know the protagonist is an exception :). An exceptional idiot.

    During a spot of night tourism we were walking through Rome when a group of Americans...lead by a rather drunk rowdy idiot yelled at us for directions (he seemed to think we were Italian). So I replied and said sorry we didn't know and this is how the conversation went from there....

    American: Oh you're British...Awesome. We're on the same team.
    Me (confused): What team is that then?
    American: We hate the f

  • ing French.
    Me: Actually I live in France so I don't hate the French.
    American: F
  • YOU. F

    If you're wondering if I accidentally deleted the part of the conversation where I provoked his absurd comments. You are quite mistaken. It really happened like that.

    So in the immense pressure I then, attempting to be witty, responded like this:

    You know the typical American stereotype?

    Well, you're it.

    Yes that was my cutting comment. My secret weapon. My wit.

    And with this he did however shut up and walk away but I think that this was more out of confusion than in awe at my comeback.

So that's all folks. A little long. A little dull. Western Europe just isn't quite so full of surprises as Russia.


Posted by Sianieee 03:15 Archived in Italy Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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