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?