When I hear people talk about their trips to Rome, it often seems revolved around how amazing of a time they had. But I didn’t fall in love with the city like how I’ve heard so many people do. I didn’t dread my whole time there or anything. And it’s definitely not a bad city. It has a lot of beauty and interesting history. But Rome just wasn’t for me, plain and simple. Here’s why:
It’s overwhelming. I love exploring cities by walking, but Rome is very spread out, especially when taking it on by foot. And all the sights you “can’t miss” are scattered all over the city. The thought of facing the Vatican and endless tourists intimidated me so much I almost decided not to go.
I spent three days in Rome and was so exhausted every afternoon, I barely moved when I got back to my hostel. My last night I didn’t even make it out for dinner. I don’t like just sitting in my room on vacations, but I still like to have quality down time.
I felt like I was just checking items off my bucket list. I can say I’ve explored the Colosseum, and I stood in awe at the Sistine Chapel. But sometimes it felt like I was there just to say I’ve seen this and done that.
In the jam-packed Vatican, it looked like we were all a tourist zombie pack – walking together shoulder to shoulder, not able to stop and enjoy the beauty of anything for too long or you’d lose your tour guide or travel partner. It was hard to really to take it all in and enjoy the second largest museum in the world for all its glory.
I couldn’t relax. After a full day of tromping all over the city, I wanted to enjoy a beer outside at a café. But that’s hard to do when you’re constantly bombarded with people selling scarves, selfie sticks and odd toys.
Saying ‘no’ or nothing at all never seemed to get the point across that you weren’t even a little bit interested. After I finally got them to leave me alone, an accordionist came up and played a song and waited at my table with an outstretched hand until I forked over some money. My peaceful thoughts were constantly being disturbed. I couldn’t have a minute to just enjoy having a drink on a nice summer day.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to Rome. Go! Throw a coin in Trevi Fountain. Check out the Roman Forum. But Rome isn’t for everyone, just like any other city in the world. Traveling to different places helps you discover what you like in a destination and what’s most important to you on a trip.
Have you visited a city you thought you’d fall in love with but found it just wasn’t for you?