Enter Thousand Sunny. Of all the places you could imagine going in Rome, Italy, ”Thousand Sunny” probably wouldn’t be the first place you’d book. We, however, are budget conscious travelers so Thousand Sunny it was for two nights… AKA a bunkbed in the home of Maurizio, Marina and Zoro.
When we got to Rome, we knew right away that we were out of place. Sarah and I had enjoyed the sprawling small-town feel of Florence way too much to have any type of high expectations after exiting Roma Termini and seeing what could have been Rochester, Buffalo, or Syracuse with Italian street signs. What we saw of Rome, which although was only a day, felt way too modern to possibly be the land of Julius Caesar, or the mighty Empire. In fact, Rome looked like a caged animal… A lion behind bars opening and closing his lifeless eyes between naps. Surrounding ”old Rome” was, first, a 10-foot-tall pointed fence, followed by modern architecture, TV screens and outrageous street performers/vendors. Without buying any type of ticket you were allowed to enter the gates to inspect that rubble that used to be. The once-mighty Coliseum especially tore my heart out. Since I was a kid and first learned of what the Coliseum stood for I had wanted to visit Rome. Dried blood in the sand, the bodies of fallen gladiators buried beneath the grounds, and the dark cages where wardens kept there tigers before they were released to the excitement of thousands of Roman citizens… just an outstanding concept for my little boy mind. I guess I was just expecting grandeur, something more raw, something not bastardized by the chatter of coin machines, jumbotron screens, and other modern (in)conveniences.
Ultimately though, it was the Coliseum and it was awesome to be there.
Back to Maurizio and Zoro. I could be pretty lengthy here, but I’ll keep it brief. Thousand Sunny is a room in Maurizio’s flat in Rome. He and his fiancé Marina (and pitbull pup Zoro) live in a 3 bedroom flat right outside of the Battistini metro stop in Rome. They rent out two of the rooms to visitors and share pretty much the whole apartment. It’s a braver life-style than I’m willing to live, constantly having people in my home, rummaging through my kitchen. No thanks. But Maurizio, a Sicilian-born comedian/performer living in Rome, was the perfect host. He would try his hardest to converse with us, though most of our conversation turned into jokes and laughing at each other for random cultural differences… and the fact the his English was the worst of any hosts we had stayed with thus far. Maurizio had named his hostel Thousand Sunny after an anime magazine that he reads… that might give you a better idea of the type of guy we were dealing with. Two noisy Chinese roommates later (and one really cool housemate from Quebec City) and here we sit… On an open terrace, overlooking the Tyrrhenian Sea in Positano. Oh yeah, we left Rome around 9:30 this morning and arrived in Positano at 4. Ahh, but that’s a post for a different day… tomorrow
Photos include a crazy cool street act (one monk holding up another one with one hand), the coliseum, and us with zoro (sorry coast)!!!!!