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Alone in Rome/Barcelona? is it crazy? Please I need advice!!!

Alone in Rome/Barcelona? is it crazy? Please I need advice!!!

Jan 26th, 2006, 06:21 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2006
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Alone in Rome/Barcelona? is it crazy? Please I need advice!!!

hello I'm in a bad situation right now. I was supposed to meet a friend in rome but she backed out. I already bought my tx and now I'm wondering if I should go to Rome alone. I have a return flight from barcelona since we were planning to go there also....can someone give me some advice? I am really freaking out on the idea to going to Rome and Barcelona all on my own....what should I do? Where should I stay? Safe places to go to?

AyQuehago is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 08:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Ay,

Sit down. Breathe deeply. Take a bottle of white wine out of the fridge.

Pour a glass. Sit back and sip.

Ah, la dolce vita.

Now. Start with the guides to Rome and Barcelona under "Destinations".

You can fly from Rome to Barceloan for as little as 40E.
See www.whichbudget.com

ira is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 09:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 75
As much as traveling with friends can be enjoyable I find it just as enjoyable (probably more?!) when I get time to myself. There's nothing more exciting than the prospect of having my own schedule. Although I understand you're returning from Barcelona, I would never miss a chance to visit Rome - there's so much to see. I've been twice and have a third trip planned this coming May - I haven't even begun to scratch the surface. That said, if you're on a tight schedule and traveling alone isn't your thing maybe you should spend more time in a different location with less "alone" travel. Once you've figured out what your comfort-zone is you'll have the trip you want. Best of luck!
kansas59 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 09:19 AM
Join Date: Apr 2005
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My very first solo trip was to Rome.

I was very nervous, and having recently hit the big 40 and gone through a fairly messy divorce my confidence was very low.

But I had a wonderful time, thoroughly enjoyed myself, gained lots of my confidence and self-esteem back, and came home feeling greatly empowered.

Looking back I marvel that I actually went there on my own given the way I was then, but it was one of the best things I could have done.

So stop worrying and GO!!

You'll have a great time, and there is so much to see and occupy yourself with in Rome you won't have time to get bored. And if you feel lonely at dinner - strike up a conversation with others. On my last night dining alone, I heard an American man talking to an English couple across the room. I went over, introduced myself, said I hadn't spoken English for 3 days and could I join them! The couple obviously wanted to be left alone, so I joined the American man, we chatted, I paid my own bill and it was a good evening.

I have only been to Barcelona with others, but I would have no problem going there alone either.

The only thing I would advise is be very aware of pickpockets in both cities.

Have a fabulous time, and post a trip report when you get back!
I think it was SusanP who posted a trip report about being on her own in Rome (and Italy too), and it made very good reading. Try searching for it.

julia_t is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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I admit, I felt somewhat uneasy when I alone started for my first business trip to Rome without speaking any Italian. However, it worked out nicely..
First, European cities including Rome and Barcelona are very safe, much safer than downtown areas of American cities. The only harassment may be pickpockets in Rome, but you can deal with that if your are a little careful. You can even walk through these cities at night. (Keep in mind that NOBODY except tourists goes to dinner before 9.00 p.m. in Rome or Barcelona).
Second problem, the language. Be prepared that both in Rome and in Barcelona many people do not speak English. But this is not really a problem, because people are very friendly. With gestures, notes on paper and the help of a dictionary you can get along.
Third, what to do. In Rome, there are thousands of things to do, places to explore. You just wander through the city, visit museums and churches, go shopping, sit in cafés and enjoy yourself. If you wish company, just start talking to people in cafés or while visiting attractions. You will meet many tourists who speak English, and the Romans, when speaking English, are very communicative too.
Don't be afraid. You will enjoy your trip.
traveller1959 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 11:35 AM
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Hi Ay,

Don't freak out. I've been to both places , a solo female traveller. In fact my first solo trip was madrid, barcelona, venice, florence, rome & amalfi coast. I had a blast and it was the most liberating thing I've ever done. I'ts natural to feel a little nervous but I would still go if I were you.In Rome there is a small nothing fancy safe hotel in a great location called Hotel Concordia, get review at tripadvisor.com. There is so much to see in rome and the city is so alive and vibrant that you'll soon forget all about your friend. Check easyjet or skyscanner for a cheap flight from rome to barcelona. Barcelona is a smallish city, easy to get around, friendly people, great architecture, don't skip it. Have an awesome time!!
laartista is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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As julia_t mentioned, I spent 18 days in Italy in Sept, including 5 nights in Rome, by myself. It was fabulous! Definitely do it. If you want to read more, here is my trip report:
SusanP is online now  
Jan 26th, 2006, 03:17 PM
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When I was 21, I got stuck travelling with some girls who were only interested in shopping instead of seeing things in Italy. So I ditched them and went alone all through Rome, Florence, and Venice. I ended up meeting some great Aussies and had a fabulous time.

Ten years later I went to Rome on business and my DH joined me. He was forced to "do" Rome alone as well, and has said it was one of the best things he ever did. It is such a moving city, and really a good one to soak in alone, IMHO. You will be fine. Just be careful and smart. As other said both cities have pick pocket problems, so be careful. IMHO Barcelona is safer than Rome, but I don't really have anything to base this on, just a general feeling.

StephCar is offline  
Jan 26th, 2006, 05:20 PM
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No problem!

I have often traveled solo over the years. I'm now 70 years old, and I plan on spending part of my trip this summer to Middle and Eastern Europe solo.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 07:18 AM
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oh thank you so much for the the messages, I'm feelinf a little better now I think I'm going to do it anyway...spanish is my native languange (I'm from the Dominican Republic) so I should not have any trouble in Barcelona, only a little in Italy, but I'm going to get some phrasebooks and stuff. Italian is somehow diff from spanish but I think I can understand a little bit...Can someone give me recommendations on places to stay?? In Rome and Barcelona. I want to go to Pisa too most likely by train, any advice? Places to stay in Pisa?
Thank you soo much for all the messages, I feel a lot better and now I don't think is so crazy to go at it by myself.
AyQuehago is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 01:07 PM
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I've been to Rome and Barcelona, not alone, but I have traveled to Sydney, Paris, Athens and Italy solo and like the previous replies, my advice is GO. One thing about going solo is that you make ALL the decisions yourself, when to wake up, where and when to go, how long to stay, no one else to please except yourself. Yes, it will require a little assurance about yourself, but you will find it a challenge and after the trip, you will feel great about yourself and how you met and conquered all the "anxieties" of going solo. Where you will be going will have a lot of tourist from all over the world, maybe even from your own country. Ask questions of other tourist and strike up a conversation with people at the next table, ask them where else is a good place to eat, etc. You'll have a great time. When you go for dinner, bring a good book or a guide to read and don't feel that you are alone. I'm leaving this Sunday for 4 days in Venice and 4 days in Milan and the Lake Como area, not alone, not lonely, but solo. Take pictures and these will be some of your best memories.

Happy Trails,

cc48 is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 01:16 PM
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I haven't been to those two cities but have traveled in Europe alone and loved it. Especially with your Spanish you'll be fine.

As to where to stay and places to go, what were you planning to do with your friend? I don't see why the same plans wouldn't work, just you won't have him/her tagging along.

I like to stay in central areas so I can get around on foot as much as possible (I'm a chicken about public tranportation for some reason).
suze is online now  
Jan 27th, 2006, 01:26 PM
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Haven't been to Rome yet, but I went to Barcelona by myself two years ago and it was wonderful. Someone from Fodor's had recommended the Hotel Continental on the Ramblas and it was delightful. Small, boutique, friendly people and I felt safe. They have a coffee/snack bar set up all day and it was fun to come back to the hotel, have coffee and a snack and watch the people promenade the Ramblas. I got the bus "get on/get off" pass and just wandered around having a good time. Barcelona is a great city.

Please go and have a wonderful time.
Sharon is offline  
Jan 27th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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I was in Barcelona in May. It's a wonderful city, and I'll go back again the first chance I get.

FYI: Barcelona is NOTHING to be afraid of. The people are great, and if you don't speak Catalan or Castellano, don't worry about it. MANY people speak english.

Since you're asking about cool and safe places to hang out, I suggest:

1. Guru BCN

* It's on Josep Anslem Clave, right off of La Rambla
* The vibe there is really cool. There's good music and out-going attractive people (staff included)
* This lounge/club has the best Mojitos ever!
* There's a guy who works there named Mauricio. He's real open, and he'll take you around and introduce you to everyone.

2. La Fonda--Restaurant

* It's on Escudellers, right off of La Rambla
* Hands down this is the best restaurant in Barcelona. The food is great, the atmosphere is trendy/classy (yet you can wear what you want), and the prices can't be beat. (Try the goat cheese salad w/ salmon)
* The place is very popular so the line can be long, but trust me; It moves fast, and it's worth it to wait.

3. Passeig de Colom

*On this street which is just across the way from Port Veil beach, there are several really great bars.
* There's one bar that serves Sex on the Beach in a HUGE mug, and 6 people can get drunk on the one drink. I can't remember the name of the place, but if you walk down that street at night, you can't miss the people sitting at the outside tables w/ 32 oz. mugs.

4. Fat Tires Bikes

* It's on Escudellers, further up the street from La Fonda
* They offer great and inexpensive city bike tours. It's cool to take a tour early on in your stay. You'll find many things to do and see on the tour so when you're alone, you know what places to check out and what to get into.
* Ask for Ivan. He's great! He's from California, but has been in Barcelona awhile now.

5. Tablao de Carmen

* If you're interested in an authentic Flamenco show and a nice dinner, this is the place for you and a date. Even if you just want drinks and a show, you can do that too.
* It's located in Poble Espanyol

Have fun!


P.S. Don't ask anyone for the time. One night I was walking down Avinguda de Parallel, and I asked the first person I saw for the time. Long story short...I got cursed out in Catalan by a 6'3 drag queen prostitute with a lisp.

teneriqueza is offline  
Feb 1st, 2006, 09:48 AM
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I just want to say Fodor's is the best site ever. All the people here are very helpful and really great! Thanks!
AyQuehago is offline  
Feb 4th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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Hi AyQuehago, I heartily recommend Hotel Royal Victoria in Pisa because of the charm of the decor (you have to consider antiques as charming btw) and the extreme kindness of the staff. If you go, please say the Rhodys say hey. It's right on the river and an equidistant walk to stazione or leaning tower through an unspoiled city. Good luck and enjoy being able to make your own choices!
donco is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 11:37 AM
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Whoa I had such a wonderful trip! Rome was beautiful! Amsterdam and Barcelona were fun. I also recommend very much Istituto St. Giuliana. Perfect location, walking distance from everything nuns that run in are wonderful...such a great place! In Amsterdam and Barcelona I stayed in Hostels and I can reccomend in Barcelona where I stayed very much. Centric Point Hostel. Walking distance from las ramblas, great location, a block away from Gaudi building, completely renovated, elevator and free internet/bar room with a great view.

I'm soo happy I got to go to Europe, this was my bday gift to myself and I can say what a great gift!

Thank you to all fodorites for great recommendations.

Oh and tenerriqueza, I think the time thing works in Rome too. Some random italian asked me for the time and I answered in spanish to him, and he proceeded to tell me how happy he was to meet a southamerican woman (I told him I'm from the caribbean, but he ignored that) and how he was rich and loved south american women because they are always in need of money and he is rich and he likes to give them money. Then he said "i'm in need of being with a woman so if you need money I can give you money" I was completely in disbelief and offended that this man though I was a hooker just because I looked latina and I told him what time it was. I simply said no I don't need any money and went on my way....it's kind of funny but not really. So don't tell the time to any man if you're a woman in Rome or Barcelona, he may think you're a hooker....
AyQuehago is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 11:41 AM
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AyQuehago, I'm glad you had such a good time. Sorry you met those unpleasant guys.

Re the time-telling, once my friend and I were in Seattle, and we were walking around at about 8:30 PM, probably not in a great neighborhood. We were asked about three or four times by seedy-looking guys what time it was. We kept on answering something like "8:30". Much later, I realized that this is actually a coded message for buying drugs. Apparently if you answer "4:20", you get offered pot.
WillTravel is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:24 PM
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Posts: 5,206
My son stayed in Barcelone at a lovely pension, don't know if this is your style - but the owners were wonderful, very accomodating and helpful with places to dine, directions, etc - it was clean and well located. you can likely find it on the web, Pensioni Marie-Luz, calle Palau 4, Barcelona -
their fax (if # hasn't changed) was 93 317 3463

He spent many days wandering by himself, meeting people, and loved it - he was with friends some of the time and some not - sometimes he preferred his "alone time" and moving at his own pace and seeing what he wanted.

You will love your trip - it is an adventure - but you will be safe as you are anywhere if you are responsible and ask the people you lodge with , they are usually a wealth of info on where to go and not to go solo. Keep a journal ! write a trip report !
have a ball, you are not crazy - you are adventurous
escargot is offline  
Mar 24th, 2006, 12:34 PM
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escargot: i think she already got back from her trip.
youngandrestless is offline  

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