A Scooter Adventure in Rome

I have recently come across my travel journals from some of my trips way back when.  Reading through the entries has been so much fun, and I thought I would share some bits and pieces.  So here is one entry from my backpacking trip through Europe right after I graduated from college.FullSizeRender (5).jpg

Monday, June 18, 2001

Today was an incredible day!  We set out with the intentions of renting bicycles and seeing Rome.  We had originally wanted to rent scooters, but decided with the price and the maniacal driving of cars and scooters, we would be wiser to rent bicycles.  So we went to Eco Move and Rent, and got ourselves some bicycles.  But fancy our surprise when we got them outside and found that they are actually ghetto-cycles, rigged to fall to pieces and drain your meager travel account in maintenance fees.  So, despite my scooter apprehensions, we shelled out some more money and traded in our death traps for a blue–no, a sparkly royal blue–scooter.  S, having had experience driving scooters, decided to drive, and after a 5-minute crash course on the basics, we were off.  

We started off shaky.  As it would happen, S’s scooter “experience” was a once-around-the-block and she was actually quite nervous at the prospect of holding someone else’s life in her hands on a little scooter, being barreled past by cars and other, more experienced scooter drivers.  Additionally, as our official navigator, her task involved not only gassing and going, but trying to navigate the roads in the estimated direction of the Vatican.

As we neared the Vatican, the stress level of driving for S and my own stress level of having no control had become more than enough to encourage us to pull over, grab some lunch at a little pizzeria, and then walk–yes, abandoning our poor scooter–to the Vatican.

At lunch, some people told us that the line to the Vatican Museum was about 5 blocks long.  Too impatient to wait in the line, we opted to just take the scooter back and visit the Vatican tomorrow.  The only hitch: we had decided that I should give the return trip a whirl and drive the darn thing.  So we turned the scooter in the right direction, secured our heads in our bright red helmets, and were off.

Just as shaky as S had been, I tried my best to maneuver the beast on the road.  It was difficult trying to figure out braking with my hands, leaning as I turned, etc.  But suddenly… I got it!  And by the time we rounded the corner to the rental place, I had no intention whatsoever of returning our scooter prematurely.  So we continued on our adventure, shouting, “Roooooomaaaaaa!” as we traversed the streets of Rome.  With me driving and S navigating, we made the perfect scooter team!  

We revisited the Fontana di Trevi, zipped around the busy streets of Rome, and finally made a stop at the Colosseum, where we enjoyed a long line and an incredible touristy experience.  Walking into the Colosseum was crazy, hard to believe we were really there. The incredible architecture and the background of its unbelievable history just fascinating us as we made our way around the historical landmark.  

And then we had to leave in order to return Romana (yes we named our scooter, and no not very originally) to her home in time.  In spite of the hurry, we still had fun on the ride, pushing through traffic and taking the roundabouts in sets of 2.  But then it was all over.  As we parked our trusty steed back at the Eco Move & Rent, we gave up our fantastic adventures of the scooter life and returned to the simple life by foot.

Tomorrow… the Vatican.

20 thoughts on “A Scooter Adventure in Rome

  1. Ahh this is so fun to read! I kept a travel journal back in Peru. I should revisit it. I’m also thinking of revisiting a few old diaries i started and never finished back from high school. That should be hilarious to read 😂

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  2. I love going back through my old journals and seeing what I felt and thought. And I really wanted to ride a scooter in Thailand but we kept seeing all of these bandages tourists, and I’d never ridden one before, so I got scared. I’m still unsure of my decision, but one day I will ride a scooter around– and if it’s somewhere in Europe even better.

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    1. It’s so fun to look back, right? And as for scooters, I was absolutely terrified and only drove out of necessity. But it turned out I wasn’t so bad and I loved it. You definitely need to try, and yes especially in Europe. 😊

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  3. “Roooooomaaaaaa!” The perfect scooter cry ever. I do not know how you had the guts to drive a scooter around though. The Italians are total nutjobs (their only competition can be Indians) on the road.

    Did you throw a coin into the Trevi? Also, did you have whistling lotharios tailing you girls? 😉 xx

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    1. Haha! I never would have had the courage without being in such a pinch. I was terrified. But turns out I loved it. Maybe my natural inclination toward nutty driving means I am truly Italian or Indian at heart?

      Yes on the coin. And I meant it. Call me back, Rome, pleeeeaaase 🙏🏻

      No lotharios trailing us–we were too busy catcalling and following them 😉

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      1. Hahahaha now that sounds like my kinda girl. The lotharios must have thought that their world order was under threat from the Americanos.

        Nutty driving, aha 😀 I can imagine then that you would be a natural fit then! You could live in Roma and be a natural at it then. Imagine! A friend of mine, a fashion designer, lives in the heart of the city and when I met her I felt so envious.

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      2. I would certainly feel ecstatic to live in Rome. My sister also mocks me for excessive use of hand gestures–yet another reason I think I should maybe be Italian. 😉 But truth be told, I think I would miss a quieter life after a while. I suppose a villa in Tuscany and a small vacation home on the Amalfi Coast would rectify that. 😛 You just need to let me know when you need a place to stay in Italy and my door will of course be open. Well, err, once I’ve won the lottery (which I don’t play) and convinced Cam to move (which he won’t). Sigh…

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      3. Apart from the last two (putty in your hands ;)), I shall say amen to all of the above. A Tuscan villa is the dream. Plus you will be far removed from the obvious gluttony of stopping at the pizzerias and gelatarias lurking around every corner of beloved Roma. Mamma mia! I can never say no to such a Kind offer. You might have to haul me out of it thereafter. Just fair warning.

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      4. I saw two hunks from the polizia standing in a gelataria in Rome. One was ravishing a cup with great love and the other was looking benignly at us as we caught a photo of them. Does that give you hope?

        Liked by 1 person

      5. That does indeed. Best case scenario: we bribe the polizia with gelato and they let us off with a warning. Worst case scenario: maybe thhey will have mercy on us and bring gelato to our cellls.

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