Taking my sweet time with these blogs, so I’m afraid there might be some details lacking in my little anecdotes. I have no one to blame but myself. Here we go!
We got to Rome in the afternoon and dropped our luggage off at the hostel, which was a blissfully short walk from the station. It was an interesting experience – checking into the hostel in a laundromat/internet café and then being shown our room in the apartment building next door. We were ‘upgraded’ to a room with a bathroom inside, but it only had 3 beds and we were joined later that night by a random Argentinian guy. It was a strange experience.
After we had dropped our things off we spent the rest of the afternoon following the map that the hostel owner had scribbled all over, highlighting where we should go and when. It was a gorgeous evening, and we walked all the way from Termini station to Piazza del Popolo, stopping at Trevi fountain, the gelato shop (of course) and the Spanish Steps…
The next day we woke up early and took the bus up to the Vatican. Thankfully we had pre-booked our tickets with a small group so we avoided all the vultures in suits yelling at us to skip the queue. The Vatican itself is amazing, but getting in and out is a nightmare.
We sort of cut things short because we were starving, and the line into St Peter’s basilica was sadly way too long; we had to get to the Colosseum with enough time to properly see it. So we left, taking another busy bus to the Roman Forum and Colosseum. Didn’t take us long to get inside which was a relief! Paying an extra bit to skip the queues was a good decision.
The Roman Forum was so interesting. It’s incredible to walk through a market square of Ancient Rome, next to temples and soaring pillars, when there is a busy street and new buildings just beyond the fence.
Afterwards we walked over to Piazza Venezia, walked up the pristine marble steps of the “Altare della Patria” and watched the guards switching positions. The whole thing is in amazing condition.
Next, we walked around for a long time, got a bit lost, and eventually found the Pantheon. On the way there we stopped at a famous gelato shop, Della Palma, which offered 150 flavours! It was the hardest decision I ever made. I got 4 scoops and they were all delightful. We ate our ice cream on the steps outside the shop before going on.
That night at dinner, I was scolded by an old man in Italian for using a knife with my spaghetti. I didn’t know what he was saying the first time, but he came back after we had finished eating and repeated himself in broken English. I swear, I only used my knife to mix the sauce in, but he didn’t care. Jenna found it hilarious.
On our last morning, we walked over to “Basilica Papale di Santa Maria Maggiore” which looked ordinary enough on the outside, but the interior was absolutely breathtaking – I couldn’t capture it with the camera, but you’ll just have to believe me. The rest of the morning was spent wandering around near the train station, admiring some gardens outside the Baths of Diocletian.
It was a quick trip, but worth it all the same. I’m not raving mad about Rome but it’s so saturated with history that you can’t help but feel in awe of every cracked pillar and statue that you see.
Thanks for the gelato and the sore feet, Roma!