Rome has sat untouched a top my bucket list ever since I read Angels & Demons. It was where all maps pointed to as soon as I was to leave London. But simply flying there and skipping all the in-between felt like a massive waste, like when you spend a whole 0.60c on pasta but only eat half of it #ItalyProblems. So my first European expedition began.
LEG ONE – LONDON TO PARIS
I won’t blab about London too much considering I’ve already written about London here, but it was a change of pace from the rest of my trip, as I stayed with friends and was working on music stuff, like this.
After a sunny passage across the English Channel I landed during the Paris floods. Which I have written about here. So it was a bit of a shame not getting the full Paris experience but I still managed to get to the Louvre before it shut, and my French Open tennis match was only delayed not cancelled.
LEG TWO – PARIS TO LYON
Lyon really felt more French with a lot less English spoken and not as many tourist attractions. With quite a quiet hostel (besides the random French poetry slam that happened around me while eating dinner, that got heated) I set out alone to explore what I found to be a bloody beautiful wee settlement.
I ended up walking a total of 11.6km throughout the day, seeing the big cathedral on the hill, the charming cobblestone old town, and this massive park/free zoo.
Although it was much prettier than I expected, I couldn’t help but feel like a retired old man travelling on his recently accessible kiwisaver dollar. I wanted young people, sun, alcohol, and Djokovic to beat Murray. However travelling solo is one constant lesson in what you can and can’t control. So I dropped my expectations for the next leg, only to have them unimaginably exceeded.
LEG THREE – LYON TO NICE
Nice may rival the best experience I’ve had on my trip hands down. I just wasn’t prepared to have such a good time. It did help that 24 hours of the 40 hours I spent there were my birthday, so there was a sense of occasion while we drank.
After a fantastic return to alcohol on the birthday themed pub-crawl, I spent my actual birthday exploring beautiful sunny Nice, watching the end of the French Open, and eating steak.
Clichély it was truly the people that took it from great to incredible. The hostel was buzzing with friendly, excitable, hilarious people that made my 23rd birthday one to never forget. So much could have not worked out but sometimes the stars just align and everything goes better than you could have imagined. This paragraph sounds too much like a High School Musical song… Fuck bitches, get money. There that’s better.
NICE TO GENOA, ITALY
Although I could have spent days in Nice, already with buses and hostels booked I set out for Italia. The drive was gorgeous; wee Italian seaside towns made it the prettiest drive yet. Unfortunately Genoa was a bit dull. The most exciting thing I saw was an Italian dude yell and use hand gestures. Good to know the pasta chef on The Simpsons was an accurate portrayal.
Genoa is a port town made up of tiny alleyways, decorated with anti-polizia graffiti. Having acquired a cold from the sleep deprived, packed nature of the trip so far I took a day off doing stuff to rest, before the last leg.
GENOA TO ROME
497km (2087km total from London)
I’ve been in Rome one day and it’s already blown my mind to smithereens. I spent today at the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, and the Trevi Fountain. All are in leagues of their own. What a place. To have ruins that well preserved after almost 2000 years. To have j-chilled where Julius Ceaser j-chilled. To just breathe the air where I’ve wanted to breathe air for so long felt like an achievement.
I still have the rest of Rome to see, and then I’m bussing to Florence and Milan before I fly to Budapest and start chipping away at Eastern Europe. I’m at the six month mark now. It’s been half a year since I left my job, last saw my parents, and said ‘laters’ to home. Change is gradual but I know I don’t take silly things as seriously, I’m more sure of myself, and I’ve buried my abs under French croissants.
I’m slowly getting to the business end of the trip, and I have to accept I won’t be doing this forever. But I already have a few plans for when I get home, a few projects I want to embark on which makes swallowing the reality pill a bit easier.
But for now, pizza. I will swallow pizza.