It’s been a while since I added to my Fat Girl On Holiday series… mostly because I haven’t been on holiday since Santorini, duh. For my 30th birthday (yes, I am now old and decrepit) my amazing girlfriend Emma took me to Rome! I want to give you a mega honest review of what it was like for me, a fat girl living with Endometriosis, to go on a walking mini city break for a weekend – right in the middle of an Endometriosis flare up. (You can read more about endometriosis in my blog post here)
Flying Whilst Fat
Let me tell you, usually as a size 22/24, I have absolutely no trouble fitting into plane seats. I have never had to ask for a belt extender and I have never felt too squashed in…that is, until this RyanAir flight. I know that fitting into plane seats is a horror for most plus size women and the thought of it is enough to ignite fear in the most confident of flyers. The moment I got on the plane, I knew I would have a problem. It was a SMALL plane – the seats were packed in and even Emma at her size 14/16 was finding it a snug fit. The belt was about an inch away from being able to be closed on me so as everyone was filing in still, I called a host, asked them for an extender, and they discreetly passed it to me shortly before takeoff. On the way home, I asked for one the minute I got on the plane and it was handed to me with no fuss. It was not an embarrassing experience, I did not feel ashamed or like anyone was looking, it was all done professionally and quickly.
Some top tips:
- Pay for priority boarding – this is a godsend, especially if you have the fear of people looking at you when you ask for an extender. Ask for one the moment you step on the plane if you know the seating will be snug.
- Do your research – you can use Google to find out the width and size of seating before you fly if you know what flight number and plane make you are going on.
- Pre-buy your extender – you can buy your own extenders from eBay and Amazon before you fly if you know you’ll need one.
Rome is a walking city. By that, I mean the best way to get around and see everything (and discover bits no one else will) is to walk and explore. Arm yourself with a map and just wander around. This of course presents itself with some challenges if you have a disability or chronic pain condition (much like me).
I arrived on the Friday, dumped out stuff at the incredibly plush Corso 281 Luxury Suites and immediately set out for an explore. Luckily our hotel was right in the middle of town, so we were very near everything, but it was still a good 10-15 minute walk to see the main sights. By the Saturday, my actual 30th birthday, I was tired from travelling and exploring the day/evening before. Accompanied by the start of my period and a really bad flare up of my endometriosis, our plans of doing more walking and travelling to Vatican City soon went up in flames. Vatican City is just outside of Rome and either requires a taxi, transport or about 30 minutes of walking to get to it. We had to change out plans because of this, and we decided to take an open topped bus tour instead so that we could still see all of the main tourist points, even if we didn’t explore them.
Some top tips:
- Buy your tickets in advance – if you want to look around the Colusseum and the Vatican, you can buy tickets for these before you arrive. That way, you can avoid the queues and you can just get on with things!
- Explore the backstreets – we found some proper cute little gems in the back streets, including a secret little prayer room and the shop where the priests and the Pope himself buys their ceremonial robes from!
- Get hop on/hop off bus tour tickets – if you get these, you can then use the bus tour as your own personal transport taking you directly to all the best tourist destinations. This allows you to save your legs for walking around places, rather than to and from places.
Food and Drink
The food in Rome is INCREDIBLE. I mean, jawdroppingly amazing. That might be because we did a lot of wandering to find hidden gems but the food was truly amazing. Even our hotel complimentary breakfasts were delicious too. My diet consisted of pizza, cheese, meat and gelato. Oh and alcohol, obviously! The food is expensive – think about the amount you would pay for a meal in a mid range restaurant in London. For three courses including drinks, we would typically spend around 35 Euros each. Most restaurants add on a service charge, so be wary of that when you are totalling up a tip at the end of the meal. If you’re lucky, you tend to be given Limoncello and biscotti at the end of each meal too. The water in Rome is fine to drink from the tap too, so don’t be fooled into having to buy mineral water.
Some Top Tips:
- Don’t eat cheap gelato – If it’s in a plastic tub, chances are it’s not homemade. Good, homemade gelato should be slightly more expensive and should be free from unnatural colours. If the banana gelato is yellow, its not homemade – it should be grey!
- Eat at quieter tavernas – don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track to find somewhere authentic to eat. If the place has photos of the food in the menu, don’t eat there, they will more than likely serve a lot of tourists and cut corners!
- Order mozzerella – If you have the space for a starter before your main, get buffalo mozzerella and prosciutto ham – honestly, you will not regret it!
Here are some of our photos from our wanderings around and some from the tour bus too! We actually only walked around the Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon and the Colusseum, but still saw everything else thanks to the bus top tour!