When I was passing by the Colosseum along the road via di S. Gregorio, I turned the corner and walked along via del Cerchi. There was a big empty field on the left and the Palatino is on the right. There was not many people along the road. I was a bit tired and I stopped to get some water from my bag. A young Russian man, about mid 20s, came to me and asked for direction to his hotel.
He said he had just arrived in Rome and he was travelling alone. I told him I have also just arrived in the morning and I was also travelling alone. We talked for a while and he asked me to take some pictures of him with the empty field as the back ground. I felt a bit strange and wonder why he didn’t want the Palatino or the church as the background.
A few minutes later, two men came from my behind and identified themselves as policemen. They asked whether we were carrying drugs and wanted a check. The Russian voluntarily showed his wallet to the two men and later the two men wanted me to show them the items in my haversack.
I took out the items from the bag slowly one by one. I suspected these two men are not real policemen. I read about cases like this in the local newspaper. The victim was asked to go to a quite corner for a full body check for drug and ended up naked while the two men ran away with his money and other belongings.
It was lucky. The two men found that I did not have much money with me and let me go. I saw some tourists passing by and shouted at them to get attention. The Russian told me that he suddenly remembered someone told him his hotel was on the other side and walked away. I continued to walk towards S. Maria in Cosmedin to see the mouth of truth.
I think back and wonder could the Russian and the two men were together as a gang trying to cheat tourists. I was not cheated could be that I was steady when they questioned me. But I would not such incident to happen again.
Travelling alone is not easy especially when you do not understand the language in that foreign country. Nevertheless, despite this bad incident, I will still want to visit Rome again.