Many of you are probably aware of the latest song (and one of my personal favorites), Despacito by Luis Fonsi. The basic translation for the word “despacito” is slowly. Now, put the right words together and despacito can mean step by step, savoring something one taste at time , breathing it in deep inhales, consuming something so slowly for fear of it running out, or more simply, “please be kind on me and go solely because I need the help”.
And That’s exactly what I needed when i got here: to go slowly, one step at a time.
Getting around Rome:
The first way I discovered this was by getting around….
Example 1: Rome in June is HOT, you can expect drops of sweat to drop down your neck, for your clothes to cling on you. As a result it comes as no surprise that Italians move slowly, as in they believe in the leisurely stroll. (Side note: I’m also convinced they don’t sweat, it’s genetically not possible)
Either way, Italians walk a lot and they take their time with a walk. Now this doesn’t mean it’s a slow walk per say, it means they are walking slow enough to prevent sweating but fast enough that traffic isn’t be held back. They have found the sweat spot between being in the moment and moving forward.
So, on recommendations from my AIR BNB host, I took a train and then walked 15 minutes to the flat… or so I thought. One train ride and 25 minutes later drenched in my own sweat, I made it.
It was during my walk that I noticed to walking, the way romans would just sit and talk, as if there wasn’t a care in the world.
Lesson 2: parla inglese?
So as a fluent Spanish speaker and a conversational French speaker, I was not worried about the language barrier. In fact I thought it would be an easy transition. And in truth some aspects were but others were literally a foreign language.
I experience this when ordering meals or even something as simple as asking for an ATM or bathroom.
Luckily I had my handy friend, Google Translate, to help me out in a pinch. Either way, I relied on the people I met to slow down in order for me to understand.
Dovo se trove…
(Where do I find?!)
So I have a confession: I got lost, no once and not twice and one of them so bad that I missed my train and as a result my winery Tour. Both of these instances happened within my first two days here. What was the common denominator (besides me being in a new foreign country)? It was the fact that I would not slow down to ask for help. I was concerned with not making it to the terminal/monument/ sight-seeing at the right time, that I missed it completely.
So what has despacito taught me? It’s taught me more than going slowly. I’ve been reminded that there is grace and beauty when you humble yourself. Maybe it’s asking for help, maybe it’s being THAT tourist, or maybe it goes deeper than that. Whichever it may be, slow down a minute and see what you need and what others need.
And because I can’t help it: here’s a quick run down of my second day in Rome:
- Vatican Garden Tour: In order to tour the Vatican gardens you need a tour guide. The price includes admission to the Vatican Museum (and more importantly the Sistine Chapel). You can do this easily online. Be sure to book early as you do need to pick the exact date. A big thanks to my friends from Michigan who helped me out by offering to take my picture!
- Vatican Museum and Sistene Chappel: So the Vatican Museum was a little crowded (and has no AC) BUT the Sistene Chapel was AMAZING! So much detail in the paintings and it is all encompassing (ceiling and walls).
- Getting lost in Termini but having a yummy pizza.
- Walking around Rome’s Historic Center and seeing the Colosseum, Roman Forum and Palantine Hill from far away!
- Having Gelato in Monti