Sneezing and Sniffing in Rome for New Year’s


It’s winter and everyone is either sick, was sick recently, or is cheerfully announcing to everyone that they never get sick (please join me in coughing all over those bastards). And my dad, always the attention seeker, got sick before Christmas, got better, and then got sick again two weeks later, just so he could get more sympathy.

Anyway, this is a travel blog not a blow by blow account of my family’s health issues, so… when I got sick I decided to go to Rome. Well, more accurately, I booked a trip to Italy for New Year’s and then I got sick, but I wasn’t going to stop a few sniffles stop me going.

I stuffed packets of tissues in every nook and cranny of my jacket and backpack and headed for the airport. Ryanair got me there in one piece after I slept most of the journey, waking up only occasionally to splutter and cough and die. Then I checked in at my hostel and set out to find food.

I realized at this point that my head felt like it was being ripped apart, so I GoogleMapped pharmacies. Closed. All closed. Eventually I found one by staring up from my phone and realizing I was standing inside one.

I’m not well acquainted with pharmacies at the best of times. I can rarely tell the difference between shampoo and body wash, and bandages and tampons, so it caused some surprise when an employee asked me what I was looking for while I was standing in front of shelves of baby food and I said, “do you have anything for a cold?” But 10 Euros later I was in possession of some Italian flu medicine in pill form: one pill the size of an egg every 6 hours, with food. So now, again, I had to find food.

I have no idea what any of this is. Isn’t Elgydium a terrible movie with Matt Damon?

My girlfriend, from 6000 thousand miles away and 8 hours in the future, Googled nice-sounding places of healthy food, all of which were closed when I found them. So I held my aching head and staggered in the direction of the Trevi Fountain. I came across a small café with stacks of wine bottles around the walls. I sat down at a table in a corner and picked at a ham, pineapple and lettuce salad and felt sorry for myself — partly because my head was pounding, partly because for some reason eating the ham made me want to throw up, and partly because I paid 9 Euros for what was mostly a cup of lettuce.

Eventually I felt a bit better.

Over the next few days I explored Rome, taking my pills as advised, drinking lots of water, trudging around the Colosseum, visiting Vatican City, trying to enjoy the city. If you say nice things about me, I might write about those separately. It’s a beautiful city.


However, that’s not the end of the story. I was also super congested and nasal-sounding too, so every time I spoke to anyone it took a few tries before they understood what I was saying. I once ordered a spicy sausage pizza and ended up with a spaghetti carbonara.

And then I developed a cough which still lingers to this moment (although if you’re reading this in the future, presumably I’ll be better, unless you’re reading this in 2050, in which case woooow, my blog still exists!).

I should also point out I was staying in hostels and the second last person people want to share a dorm with is someone with a hacking cough. So I apologize to my fellow dormers for sniffing and coughing my way through those nights. Still, at least we didn’t have a snorer, who are the absolute worst people to share a dorm with.

After struggling through two nights in Rome, then two nights in Florence, I headed back to the UK, to get lots of cups of tea made for me. It was a worthwhile trip, as all trips are, but not a particularly enjoyable one. And yes, when I got back to the UK my dad was still sick. Or sick again, who knows.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Anonymous says:

    Its your Dad, I’m still sick. Sick of getting colds. Sick of working for a living .Sick of being the source of all human laughter. Maybe a bit sic.

    Liked by 1 person

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