The guidebooks had been staring at me all week long, and I had been politely ignoring them.  But now it was Friday afternoon, and they were glaring at me menacingly; in four hours I was heading out for a weekend in Rome…and I had no earthly idea what I wanted to do there.  The last two weekends had been a sightseeing extravaganza, and of course I knew that Rome probably holds more sightseeing opportunities per square mile than any other city in the world!  Maybe that was it.  Overwhelm?  Hm.

I checked the hotel reservation that I’d made two weeks earlier and copied down directions.  25 minutes from the city center?  Last train leaves downtown at 11:30pm?  I wasn’t going to get into town until 9pm, at the earliest, and I wanted to do something in Rome before hitting the sack.  Hm.

A sudden thought popped up: I don’t really want to do any sightseeing.  Wait, back it up.  No sightseeing?  In Rome?  Yeah.  I really don’t want to do any sightseeing.  I really want to see some live music.  Or a show.  Or have coffee with a real live person and talk to him or her.  Oh, you mean you want to just live life?  In Rome?  For a weekend?  Yeah, that sounds exactly right.

Well, that’s interesting.  I wonder…

So I Googled “live music Rome” and started clicking.  Lonely Planet had a page listing the top live music venues in town, and as soon as I clicked on the link for Micca Club I knew where I’d be spending that evening.

Um, hells yeah!  Suddenly the hotel reservation I’d made was not. going. to work. at all.  So lickety-split, I canceled it and found a cheap bed near the central train station.  Boom!  Done!  Now, how about the rest of the weekend?  Hm.

I disinterestedly flipped through my Rick Steves guide, looking for other nightlife suggestions, when I stumbled upon his write-up of Angel Tours Rome, and this caught my eye: “This gang of hard-working Irish Italophiles…”  Wait.  Hold the freakin’ phone.  Irish ex-pats in Rome?  Of course, why not?  (If you don’t know about my obsession with all things Irish, start reading here.)

So I Googled “ex-pat Rome” and found a site listing popular places for ex-pats to hang out, starring two Irish pubs.  I also booked a sunset tour with Angel Tours, not so much for the sightseeing as for the chance to meet other English-speakers in a casual setting…and maybe get some tips from the tour guide on where to hang out.

Flipping back to the Micca Club site, I stumbled upon their Sunday Micca Market, where handmade and vintage goods would be bandied about while the Cosmopolitans and Manhattans clinked.  Oh!  and I want to go vintage shopping! the voice piped up again.  Well, why not?  Ever since I got to Italy I’ve had a bit of trouble figuring out just the right souvenirs to bring home; after all, one effect of the global economy is, well, that everything is available pretty much anywhere in the world, and most goods I could buy here could also be gotten easily at home.  But vintage Italy?  Yes, please.

In the space of about thirty minutes I had changed my hotel reservation to one downtown, bought tickets to the cabaret and the sunset tour, and sketched out the theme of my weekend: live the kind of weekend I’d live at home, but do it in Rome.  Let me tell you – it was the best split-second decision I ever made.  Stay tuned to find out how it went.

What was the best last-minute decision you ever made?  How did it turn out?