Since all roads lead to Rome, no trek is complete without a visit to this historic city.
Having just seen a rerun of the film, “Three Coins in the Fountain” featuring the Trevi Fountain in Rome, I decided to venture on a coin throwing quest to this famous fountain.
Each day, approximately 3,000 Euros are thrown in the fountain by countless visitors. I managed to get there early before the crowds, threw my coins in, and wished for good luck. As you will see later, it worked!
On my way back, I wanted to savor the local flavor of the city. After all, when in Rome do as the Romans do, so I made my way to Termini station to ride the train with the crowds. I noticed signs posted throughout the station reading, “Beware of Pickpockets”, and I was careful to keep my hands in my pocket on my wallet. I should point out that I am a seasoned New York subway rider, and thereby an expert at spotting pickpockets. On entering the Termini metro train, I noticed a few suspicious characters, so I moved to the other side, keeping a watchful eye on them and my hand in my pocket.
I stood next to a young mother and her baby in a stroller. The baby was smiling sweetly at me with cherub cheeks and clutching a lollipop in her chubby fingers. In a magnanimous Roman gesture, the little angel stretched out her hand offering me her lollipop. Instinctively I reached out, but then put my hand back in my pocket only to feel a hand already in there! I grabbed on to the hand… and was shocked to see it was the young mother trying to pick my pocket using her baby as an accomplice!
When I told my wife the story, she said, “You should know never to take candy from a baby”.
Bob Arno (ex-pick pocket artist) says that approximately 300 people get their pockets picked daily in Rome. I am lucky not to have been one of the victims. I guess the fountain granted my wishes for good luck!
On your treks, you need to be careful to avoid getting robbed. Unfortunately, in some places thieves and pickpockets are exceptionally skilled, so you have to be very vigilant. I guess their training commences at an an early age.
The mother and child team of pickpockets were Roma gypsies, and travelers are always warned about gypsy thieves. ( The pic on the left shows a mother and child on the prowl. The newspaper is used as cover when the hand slips in your pocket or purse).
This gives the Roma people a bad reputation because many of them are hard working, decent people, who have faced discrimination for centuries.
Roma gypsies originated from India, and left their homeland about 1,500 years ago. According to researchers at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology in Spain, the Roma first came to the Balkans and then spread to the surrounding areas in Europe about nine centuries ago. Today, there are about 11 million gypsies in Europe.
Most Credit, Debit, ATM cards contain embedded RFID (radio frequency identification technology) chips. Such chips encode basic information (e.g., account numbers, expiration dates) that can be picked up by point-of-sale RFID readers, eliminating the need for cards to be physically handled or swiped. This opens the possibility for unauthorized persons using RFID readers of their own to access your information.
Criminals can use a card reader and a netbook computer to copy account information from RFID-enabled cards that are carried in people’s pockets and purses. This is known as “card skimming”. To avoid this, I always carry two or three cards side by side together in one sleeve. If anyone tries to skim, he or she will get a jumble of comingled data from the three cards that wouldn’t make sense. This is a simple solution that I recommend, unless you want to purchase an RFID blocking sleeve or case seen below.
Read more at: Link – RFID article
I hope that one day you get a chance to visit the Trevi Fountain and throw your coins in for good luck! You don’t need to rush, after all Rome was not built in a day! If you have already visited, please share your experiences with me!