The second thing on my mind - always, always, always act like a Roman. Just follow them. This is especially smart when crossing the street. Sometimes there aren't lights at crosswalks, and so if you ever want to cross the street, you have to walk like you own it. There's no hesitating, no 'maybe I'll cross...' You decide whether or not you're going to do it. If you do, look in the direction of oncoming traffic, stare into the eyes of the driver, and they will stop without any problems. Then you move along.
|The goal is to look as|
similar to this guy as
you possibly can.
Have you ever heard the expression 'keep your money in your front pockets'? There are a lot of pick pocketers in Italy, and when you go anywhere, you should actually hold your purse in front of you as if you were a football player carefully protecting the football as you carry it to the end zone. And men - never keep your wallet in your back pocket. You are guaranteed to be robbed.
Now, the annoying men you will find throughout the city... I'm having trouble beginning this because 1) I hate judging people and 2) I feel that what I am about to post is racist... But its important information to know. There are a lot of men working here from Africa who go about the city selling things. There are hundreds of them, all selling the same things - some sell these annoying toys that make these God-awful noises when you throw them on the ground. Some sell laser pointers and will point them at you in the night and laugh, hoping you will laugh along with them and maybe purchase one. The most
|"Free roses? For me?" Don't be this person.|
There aren't any beaches in Rome, but there are plenty of beautiful beaches in Italy that are for sure worth visiting. If you're traveling from the Western world, you are in for a very rude (or wonderful, depending on your philosophy) awakening. In North America, women especially are pressured to look a certain way. Tall, thin, big boobs, round butt. If you don't look this way, you should be ashamed. Cover up. Italy is 100% not like this whatsoever. At the beaches the men wear speedos, and the women are bare-breasted with thong bottoms. Or perhaps nothing at all. Its just how it is. Italians are not ashamed of their bodies, but if you want to wear a one piece bathing suit, they don't care. But understand that you are in Italy, and that you should adjust to their way of life. So don't expect anyone to cover up because seeing skin makes you feel uncomfortable. Deal with it. When I went to the beaches in Tuscany, I actually had Italians, both male and female, coming up to me with bottles of sunscreen asking if I wanted any. I still don't know if this was a joke because I'm pale or if they actually cared about my well being. In addition to talking about clothing, do not pull a Snooki and walk past a Roman Catholic church wearing a revealing outfit. The fact that I have to use a Jersey Shore reference in my blog deeply depresses me, but you get the idea. Its inappropriate to dress scandalously when walking by a church. In fact, most churches in Italy do not allow you to show your knees or your shoulders. So suck it up and wear a shawl.
|Worth every single calorie - I promise.|
|View of Rome from St. Peter's basilica.|
Italians are very laid back. This is sometimes a problem for me, because I grew up learning how to do things quickly - this is why we have places like Walmart, because we don't want to waste our time going to different stores. We would rather one-stop-shop and get it over with quickly. Italians like to take their time. I remember going to my favourite bakery in the centre one morning and saw on their sign that they opened at 9 am. Well, it was just past 10 am, and the owner was outside carrying boxes inside. I was disappointed by this and asked how soon they would be open. She said, "Whenever these boxes are finished moving. Anytime." Italians do not care about time. It means nothing to them.
|Does this scene from |
Eurotrip ring a bell?
Be careful on the streets because Italians are terrible drivers. They chat on their phones, text, don't look at the road, hog two lanes, park on the sidewalks, triple park in front of other cars, and even READ BOOKS while driving. Ok, so I've only seen this happen once. Yesterday when I was in the centre, I actually saw a man reading a book while driving. I couldn't believe my eyes. If you ever take a taxi in Rome, don't be surprised if the driver begins talking into his cell phone or pulls out the latest copy of their favourite author's series. The funny thing to me is that police are very strict on the no drinking and driving policy. This
rule of course isn't actually funny, but I heard a story on the news the other day about a woman who was charged with drinking and driving. She had not been driving erratically, but the police were doing car checks to test people. Normal - this often happens when I drive by the local bar by my house back home in Canada. This woman had a small amount of alcohol in her system and had her licence taken away immediately. She had no alcohol to drink, but rather, she ate some baba bread. Baba is a soft dough that is soaked in rum. In my opinion, the rules in Italy make little to no sense.
Never ask an Italian about politics. At least, not right now. The Italians are very ashamed of the way their government runs because it is dominated by Berlusconi, who is extremely corrupt. Asking an Italian about their government is like asking a French person how their mood is. Odds are, the answer won't be a good one. It even depresses me to think about Italian politics. Actually, cross this whole paragraph out. Never ask anyone about Italian politics. If you're interested, ask google.
|Easter at Vatican City.|
My final paragraph will be on random little tips. If you're a North American visiting Italy who is thinking about hopping over to a nearby country, check out Ryan Air. Ryan Air is a British airline company that flies all over Europe for as cheap as 9 Euros per flight. Amazing. Another thing I want to mention is that when you go to a bistro or pizzeria, they sometimes charge you extra if you stay there to eat. Its common for them to charge you an extra Euro for using their utensils, table cloth, etc. I feel like I've already explained the bidet is a low and looks like a toilet. Its actually used for after you use the bathroom to wash yourself, and to use before and/or after sex to keep clean. If you don't use it for this you can also wash your feet in it. Its a nice idea, really.
Well, I think I've covered all the important tips and insiders on how to get around Rome without any trouble. If you have any tips for me, or are planning a trip to Rome, I would be more than happy to be a free and personal tour guide. I know all the best bars, shops and restaurants to hit. I hope you enjoyed reading.