If there’s anything that traveling around Firenze and Roma taught me it’s that:
1) Always check hostel ratings because sometimes you think you’ll get a good deal, but then you show up and realize the only thing you could possibly get is bed bugs and then freak out because you have no where to sleep
2) Just go with the flow when things like that happen because then you get an extra day in Rome and that’s also pretty magical
3) Sleep so so much before you go on vacation because you literally will never want to sleep on vacation and just wander around beautiful places instead
4) It’s actually possible to have the most magical weekend in your life before a big exam if you just let yourself be spontaneous, forget about everything holding you back, and live in the moment and
5) The Lizzie McGuire Movie has a pretty good soundtrack for a sunny weekend in Rome
6) Sometimes life is stressful, other times its incredibly cliche… so just cherish those perfect little cliche moments because they’re actually pretty amazing.
Let me give you some back-story on this trip.
It all started out with a friend and I choosing to go to Rome in early April before the Easter and spring break crowds would invade the beautiful Italian countryside. We planned on a long weekend in Rome as a mini pre-spring break and would meet up with a friend who was currently studying abroad in Rome. Knowing that I also had a friend in Florence, I chose to take a train to Florence to spend a short while with my sorority sister to catch up and explore her new town. I booked a hostel ahead of time since she couldn’t have guests, bought my train ticket and was fully prepared
Fast-forward to April and all was well. My RyanAir flight was actually on time, and taking the train made me fall absolutely, madly in love with Tuscany. My headphones blasted Sonohra and Italian music and I watched hills with wineries and castles pass by and I was in pure solo traveling bliss.
When I arrived in the small town, Florence was a lot different than I expected, but still absolutely gorgeous. I had my tickets to see David the next day so explored the Duomo, the winding streets, and indulged in gelato while I prepared for my friend to finish her classes.
But then came the horror story… I went to the hostel. (dun dun dun)
You know in movies how a group of fun-loving friends embark on an adventure together only to find that their motel is dirty and gross, with sockets that spark when you plug it in and bed sheets with stains on them? Well, yeah that was my hostel. It had 84% rating on it and my room was awful. I went to the front to ask to be moved to a different room and they couldn’t-even though I was the only one staying there that night. #sketch
So I had to decide: Would I risk it and spend the night and maybe get bedbugs? Or would I just change my train ticket for free and arrive back in Rome to stay with my friend?
I went with the latter and have been thankful that I did.
You see, when you travel, sometimes you’re going to be stuck making some hard decisions. I wasn’t able to meet up with my friend in Florence and didn’t get to explore as much of that beautiful city with delicious food as I wanted to. I lost $30 on my hostel and lots of sleep that night since I had to take the train back to Rome.
But that’s what real traveling is like.
Because I had an extra day in Rome, I was able to explore Travestere and eat some of the greatest pizza of my life. I was able to go biking in Villa Borghese and see one of the most beautiful sunsets of my life. I was able to hang out with locals and have them share with me their side of Rome.
Instead of splitting my time and barely seeing two cities, I was able to indulge in Rome with a brief snapshot of Florence. A snapshot that will most definitely make me want to go back, but for longer.
So yeah, sometimes hostels suck and you aren’t with friends to grin and bear it with. Sometimes you lose money and have to skimp on food when you get back home for the week. And sometimes plans to see a familiar face go awry.
Yet, at the end of the day, you’re alive and seeing the world. And as long as you’ve got those two things, you’ll be just fine.