Couchsurfing in Rome. Part one.

Usually during our trips we search for couchsurfers to stay with. It’s much nicer (even not to mention cheaper) than to stay at any hostel.  As we had 5 days in Rome, of course we needed a place to stay so I started to look for the CSers two weeks before the departure.

 God knows how much time I spend on the site reading profiles and sending requests. I’ve never surfed in such a big touristic city so I couldn’t imagine that it will be so hard! Among 4380 Roman CSers 719 offer a place for 2 people. I’m not a kind of person that sends requests just to anyone so this time I read more than 100 profiles: first few per day very carefully, then you get tired and read only the most important things like self-description and accommodation details. Almost half of the CSers don’t host couples so I even didn’t try to write them.

Another interesting particularity of CS in Rome is that almost all the members are men. I saw only 3 or 4 female profiles. I guess single girls find a place in Italy easily (though I would not risk staying alone at some Italian man’s home). In Ukraine, for example, the situation is completely different if not to say opposite – women dominate there.

Few days before our departure I still haven’t got any positive answer. So I started to write to the CSers from the small towns in Lazio region not far away from Rome and posted a message in a special “Last minute Couchrequest” group. It really seemed to be impossible to find a host in Rome! I was almost desperate.

Luckily just two days before we left two CSers accepted to host us. It was certainly a good day :) We didn’t need to sleep under a bridge or spend money that we didn’t have for a hostel.

Now about our hosts.

First one was just great though a bit odd – a British man, photographer, teacher, translator and vegan. Judging from his profile on CS he should have been very strict and perhaps rude guy, but in reality he was extremely kind to us. And we had a lot to talk about. Especially my husband had. Every morning it was difficult for me to interrupt politely their conversation and to convince him to go to the city. In the evenings we were drinking together in Mike’s living room and eating vegetarian or vegan food. I even ate things like cauliflower which I usually don’t eat. But with a lot of curry it was pretty good :) I think I would be the worst vegetarian ever as I don’t like most of the vegetables, so I even don’t try to become one.

Anyway, our first days in Rome were really great, and ‘m glad we had such a host. He even proposed us to stay longer as we got along well, but we had another host that accepted us so we went to Latina to meet him.


“Female R-existance”: an international project about women during fascism

This year a project dealing with a topic of the female resistance against fascism and national socialism has been organized by SCI Hellas, SCI Italia, SCI Germany and Utilapu Hungary. The project consisted of three week-long seminars in different countries: Athens (Greece), Ravensbrück (Germany) and Rome (Italy).

I missed the one in Greece but participated in German and Italian seminars. I plan to write about both but as I just came back from Rome and the memories are still fresh, I will start with the trip to Italy.

It was my first time in Italy and it was absolutely great! We (I and my husband who participated in the project as well) arrived in Rome 5 days before the seminar and had time to see all the main sites of the Eternal city and to visit a neighboring city Latina, some small towns and churches in the mountains and at the seaside of the Lazio region.

During the seminar in Rome we stayed most of the time in Città dell’Utopia that is also called Casale Garibaldi. There we had some meetings with the local guest speakers, presentations, movies, meals and we worked there on the outcome for the whole project. Almost every day we went to some meetings or excursions out of Casale. Of course they all were connected with the WW2 or women or both. These days we didn’t have time for sightseeing but one night we managed to see the illuminated San Pietro and Castel San Angelo and the last night we went all together to Trastevere – the heart of the drinking Rome.

About the outcome of the project. We are supposed to make a DVD and a publication with the materials from all three seminars. We will still work on it. All this should be finished until the end of this year but as the main part of the job belongs to Italians I can’t predict when it will really happen. The site is already done, but it is quite poor for now, the most of materials will be added later.

Our free days in Rome were just great, the seminar was also fine. I got used to the warm weather! It was painful to come back to Germany where it’s cold, it’s rainy and it’s already autumn. Now I will need a long time to get used to this weather.