Back to Rome Nov 16

I didn’t finish everything I wanted to do on my last visit to Rome so I went back! The last remaining item I needed to check off my list was to enter the Coliseum. Other than site seeing I really wanted to relax. I’ve been traveling for 18 days, and it’s starting to wear me down. I also picked up a blister on my left foot in Naples, so the less walking I did the better. I booked the same hostel I stayed last time because I knew I could grab a seat and hang out in the bar/restaurant.

I arrived in Rome on an intercity train. It took a few hours longer, but it was only €10. A few of the travellers from Giovanni’s Home in Naples were also heading in the same direction, so we all took the train together. Two of the travellers were staying in the same hostel I booked, so I showed them the way from the train station.

Once we arrived at the hostel I checked in, unpacked my gear, and went downstairs to hang out in the restaurant. I brought my laptop with me so that I could surf the net and do a little programming.

I wanted to stay away from programming when I took my leave of absence from New Relic. At the time, I didn’t like how rigid my mind was when solving programming problems. I felt I knew all the solutions to the problems in my field, and I was cynical to new ideas. I lost all creativity in my craft. It was horrible. I was in a programming depression.

During my travels, occasionaly my mind wandered in code. During slow nights I hacked on my side projects. There weren’t too many slow nights, so I still kept my distance from programming. Then I met Adrian in Naples. He had so much passion for web development. He showed me a side project he worked on that kicked me out of my depression. The user interface on his app was clean and polished. The market, content management systems (CMS), was extremely large and there were a lot of big players, but he developed his idea in the face of this. The idea he had was something I’ve thought about a few years ago, but I threw the idea out the window. But, his implementation was beautiful! I haven’t seen something that fresh in a long time for CMSs. It truly inspired me to return to programming for the fun of building truly amazing products. I talked about an idea I’ve been working on and he loved it and gave me pointers on what I could do to the user interface. For once, I was not cynical to any of the ideas that I heard! I was taking in his ideas as well as expanding on them with my own. I haven’t had this type of conversation in years. It was rejuvenating. Thank you Adrian!

As exciting it was for me to find my passion again for programming, hanging out in a hostel with a laptop says one thing about me: anti-social. For my two nights in Rome, I was okay with that. I was tired, and I needed to relax and do my own thing for a while.

I also had to do laundry. The hostel pointed me to a laundromat a few blocks away. I went there and dropped my clothes off. I paid €6 and came back in an hour and a half. How great was that? They washed my clothes for me! I’ve done laundry roughly four times on this trip and everytime I haven’t had to do it myself! €6 to have my clothes cleaned? Perfect! Then again, when I think about it, €6 is roughly $10 USD. For one load. It makes me cry everytime I convert euros to U.S. dollars. I should really stop converting.

The next day I went to the Coliseum. The line for tickets was extremely long, but since I wanted to buy the audio guide with the pass I could enter a line that sold that combination. This line had no queue. I hopped in and was in the Coliseum in under five minutes. Fantastic!

Sadly, the audio guide was horrible for the Coliseum. I didn’t know where to stand and where to look. The Coliseum did not have markers indicating where the next audio clip would play. Even when I found the correct spot, I couldn’t distinguish where I was supposed to look when the audio guide pointed out a significant points of interest. I mean, the whole building was full of broken rocks. Distinguishing from one set of ruined walls from the next was hard.

The experience would have been much better if I didn’t buy the audio guide. The Coliseum is still worth visiting though! It was awesome being inside. Here’s a few shots.

The rest of the day was spent on the computer and talking to other folks in the restaurant. As with any last night I spend in a city, I planned my next stop – Florence!