That Time We Went to Italy (Part 1) … Rome

I’m the worst at writing travel blogs. I was going through some of my older ones thinking, damn I wrote a lot. The daunting prospect of writing a post or two or three about our five days travelling around Italy is probably why I put it off for over a month. But here we go! If you have any questions, feel free to write a comment 🙂

Day 1 – April 18th 

We started our five day voyage across the Boot, in Roma. (Cue the Lizzie McGuire Movie references). I heard some interesting things about Rome beforehand but the city was not at all what I expected. Well, actually I’m not sure what I expected but it certainly wasn’t that. The beginning part of the trip was filled with a bit of transportation woes, starting back in Madrid but following us to Rome. The buses from Rome’s Ciampino Airport to the city centre are a complete travesty and a scam – despite only costing 4 euros. It’s not even worth it. After about an hour of waiting for the bus we gave up and got a taxi.

After checking in to our hostel (which was actually a guesthouse) we had a fabulous first Italian meal of gnocci served by a fabulous Italian waitress. From there we walked to Palentine Hill, which “is the centremost of the Seven Hills of Rome and one of the most ancient parts of the city,” Wikipedia says.  Amazing is the best word that is coming to mind right now. The bright sun and really warm weather just enhanced the beauty of this ancient site, filled with stairs and gardens and ruins of once great homes, palaces and temples. In Ancient Roman mythology, these grounds hold the cave where the infant boys Romulus and Remus were found by the she-wolf that kept them alive before they were later raised by a human couple. It is from the story of these two boys and the eventually victory of Romulus over Remus, that Rome gets its name.

Gnocci (yummmm)

Palentine Hill

From there we went to the Forums (you can just walk straight to them – they are on the same grounds) and looked in amazement at the Roman Forum, the plaza that was once the centre of the entire Roman Empire.

The Roman Forum

The last was the famous Flavian Amphitheatre, a.k.a. the Colosseum, which I always have such a difficult time spelling. When I was in grade 9, I went to France and Switzerland with my high school and one of the first towns in France we visited was Nîmes. There, there is an amphitheatre called the Arena de Nîmes. To me the Colosseum was just a bigger version of that. It was still amazing though being in the theatre where those infamous gladiator fights were held. When you’re standing inside, you can see down into what would have been a basement hidden underneath the arena floor. From the ruins it is easy to imagine cages where animals and slaves were kept, the hecticness that must have gone on below ground while emperors and subjects cheered on the bloody battles playing out above.

Inside the Colosseum

Day 2 – April 19th

Day number due started off late because we had to move from our first hostel to another, due to some random booking we did. The issue was that we could not find this hostel for the longest time. It took about 2 hours longer than we had originally planned, but once we found it we headed out to a whole new country: The Vatican City.

CPGrey has a fantastic video explaining all about Vatican City and how it is possible for such a tiny country to exist within another country, let alone within a city. Just so you know, there are no customs or passport control or anything of the like to enter. You just walk past a wall and say “Hey! I’m in Vatican City!” Then you turn around and walk a few more steps and say, “Hey! I’m back in Rome/Italy!”. Then you turn around and do it all over again.

We toured the inside of the absolutely stunning St Peter’s Basilica and stood in awe of the marble and gold and pure artistry that surrounded us. The extravagance was astounding and a tad off putting but brilliant nonetheless. Naturally, like the tourists we are, we went to the world’s smallest postal service and send off some (expensive!) postcards, just for the heck of it.

The Basilica – we think the chairs are for a mass
The ceiling in St. Peter’s

After pretending to escape from the tiny country, we hopped on the metro and made our way to the

trying to escape

to the Piazza del Popolo where there is the church of Santa Maria del Popolo and a giant obelisk in the plaza. We fell prey to the tourist trap of buying roses from those sketch guys who persistently try to sell you things and ended up taking cheesy pictures with them (the roses, not the sketch guys). We then went too the fanciest McDonald’s EVER and watched the sun set on the Spanish Steps. The rest of the evening/ night was spent walking from one monument to the next, enjoying the outdoor night life. We saw the Fountain of Neptune in the Piazza Navona, the Pantheon, ate some gelato and ended the night at the Trevi Fountain. I reminisced of days from my youth where I watched the Lizzie McGuire movie somewhat religiously and in tribute, I did a very inaccurate recreation of the film by singing (horribly) “What Dreams are Made Of” while Em filmed it. Some people nearby clapped and cheered me on. It was thoroughly embarrassing but had to be done. The only bad thing was that I never got mistaken for an Italian pop star, met a cute singer named Pablo or got handed a giant wheel of cheese. But what can you do?

Piazza del Popolo

The Fancy Schmancy McDo’s

The Spanish Steps

Fountain of Neptune

The Pantheon

Em and Vi with gelato and crepes

The 3 coins I tossed into the fountain

The Trevi Fountain

Italy Part 2 soon!

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