How I Ended Up Staying at a Trailer Park in Rome
There’s an elephant in the room, literally. OK, maybe not literally, but our neighbor was either stomping around the room with the righteous anger of 1000 men, or weighed well over 500 lbs. “Time to leave Italy buddy, you’ve eaten enough pasta,” I wanted to yell at him each time our trailer shook.
Yes, trailer. What dire turn of events could have led me here, to a trailer park in Rome, sleeping next door to an elephant? How did I get here?
Well getting there wasn’t easy. Earlier that same day, the sweat had been dripping down our faces and backs, the sun had been unforgiving, and blisters were forming on my hand from schlepping around my luggage. I needed water, AC, and a bed.
I cursed 12-hours-ago-Anna who had decided to wear jeans. It was cold when we’d left Madrid at 3 am. How was she supposed to know that Rome would be hotter than the sun?
I looked down at the instructions our travel agent had given us for getting to the hostel and looked around for Bus 78. It didn’t exist. Even my New York City upbringing hadn’t prepared me for crossing the street in Rome. Rules–there are no rules! We made it to the other side of the street, narrowly avoiding getting hit by a smart car that I could have just swatted out of the way had it come too close.
I opened Rick Steves’ Europe guidebook and read: “The chaos of Rome and its traffic may make you think that Mussolini was a necessary evil.” Yes, Rick Steves. Yes. He must have also tried to find Bus 78.
Even my New York City upbringing hadn’t prepared me for crossing the street in Rome. Rules–there are no rules!
“Focus, Anna. Water, AC, and a bed,” I thought. We sucked it up and hailed a cab. After 20 minutes I was fairly sure we weren’t in Rome anymore. We stopped at an open space, kind of a campground, and got out. An extremely nice hostel worker greeted us and asked how our journey was. It took all I had in me not to gouge out his eyes right then and there. But he was the keeper of the water, AC, and bed, so I opted for a silent smile. He hauled our bags and stopped outside a trailer.
A trailer, ladies and gentlemen, is what 15 euros a night gets you in Rome. We stood there, mouths open, not believing this is where we would be staying and walked into the air conditioned room. No, not a room, half a trailer.
“I never thought I’d sleep in a trailer,” I said as I laid down.
Ironically, the trailer turned out to be godsent. It was an amazing retreat from the dirt, bustle, and noise of Rome. And it was just a short ride away on Bus 78. Instead of the sirens of the city we heard birds chirping. There was always hot water, no hookers outside the windows, the bathroom didn’t flood, and the AC worked. There was a pool to cool off in, croissants and espresso for breakfast and the staff were pleasant. Unfortunately, I couldn’t say the same about all the places we stayed on that trip.
So, we weren’t going to let one little elephant ruin our retreat from the city. No, we let the elephant stomp around each night while we drifted off to sleep to the swaying of the trailer.
Years later, I returned to Rome and stayed in the city proper, in a noisy hostel with a shared bathroom. I remembered the trailer, and the elephant, fondly.