Because we had to leave the farm earlier than planned, we had a lot of extra time before we wanted to get to Budapest. We decided to go to Rome for a bit and then on to Venice (with a possible stop in Florence). Exciting, right!? Well, we bought train tickets to Rome (a three hour ride). Italy is gorgeous. I sure do love train rides with beautiful scenery! Here are some things we saw on our way to Rome:
We got to Rome in the early evening. We hadn’t been able to figure out a hostel before leaving the farm, so we went to this tourist info place at the train station. The man there told us that he could find a place for 70 Euro ($100!!!). Uh, no way were we going to pay that. We said that we would try to wander the city and find our own housing. The tourist guy said that there was a huge tennis competition, so nearly all of the hotels and hostels were full. We still wanted to give it a shot, so we still went out and looked. He was right, sadly. We couldn’t find any free hotels. Rather than pay $100 for a room, we went to an internet cafe (no wifi in Rome, weird!) and looked at train tickets (the ticket line at the train station was soooo long). Our goal was to get out of Italy. It was clear that Italy is too expensive for us. Someday, we’ll go back to Western Europe, but until then, Eastern Europe is more affordable and just as awesome. After some frustrating searches, we figured out it would be better to take a morning train to Venice, spend the day in Venice and then take a night train to Budapest (Budapest is a huge transportation hub, randomly). After Budapest, we wanted to go to Romania and around Lake Balaton in Hungary.
As for housing in Rome, we decided to hang out at the train station till it closed and then wander around the city for the rest of the night. While hanging out at the train station, the guy who had talked to us about housing brought by another girl who was spending the night in Rome. He wanted to see if we wanted to split the room three ways, but it wasn’t good enough of a deal for us, so we said we’d have to pass. The girl had to catch a bus at 4 am to the airport, so she chatted with us for a bit and then went to find dinner. A few hours later, she came back to hang out with us. Her name is Brittany and she was from Canada. She stayed with us the rest of the night. She was such a cool girl and it was great to hang out with her! I think she was relieved that she wasn’t spending the night out in Rome by herself.
After the train station closed at 1 am, we went to find some food. We found a gyros place that was open till 2. The food was amazing and pretty affordable! We also bought a 2 liter bottle of Coke a Cola (to help to stay awake). While we had been wandering the city earlier in the day, we had seen this cool fountain. The three of us decided to go back there and sit on the steps. Once we got there, we found an outside cafe that was closed but their tables and chairs were still out. So, we got comfortable and kept talking. Rome is beautiful, but we felt it was appropriate to save all of the photo ops for when we could actually visit Rome. We did, however, take one picture during our night in Rome:
At 4 am, Brittany left for the bus. Not much later, this 30 year old guy from New York came up and started talking to us. He said he was “kinda intoxicated, which is why I’m babbling.” He talked to us for an hour or so. Mostly him talking about how intense life is working on Wall Street. He came to Rome for a week by himself. In his few days he’d been in Rome, he’d done all kinds of crazy things like going to a rave and taking some drug he didn’t know, bar hopping, buying beer for some teenagers so they’d hang out with him, etc. I dare say, I was not jealous of his trip! Finally, he left to go to sleep.
Time passed fairly quickly, and the next thing we knew, the sun was coming up! We headed over to the train station around 7 to go to the travel agency to buy our train tickets. We got on a train to Venice and tried to sleep in the seats. It didn’t really work, but that’s ok.
We got to Venice and had 4 hours to spend! We checked our huge bags at the train station (so worth the $6) and wandered around the city. Venice was a great little city. I would say that a day is all you really need there.
A sweet band from Spain played in the streets. They had so much energy!
We both look really tired in this pic, but keep in mind, we hadn’t slept the night before. We were getting really excited for our overnight train with a bed. 🙂
A guy from our old ward in Salt Lake gave us a cool sticker to put up while travelling. I think we found the perfect place. These two guys will make great friends!
Thanks for reading! Next up is Hungary…. as backpackers, before the internship/working.