Trip Start Jul 03, 2010
14Trip End Aug 02, 2010
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Where I stayed
Day one we hiked to our hostel...Hotel Des Artistes, nice place, a little hot but the beds were nice and we met some cool people. Did a night walk all the way to the colesseum and took some cool night photos. Day 2 was crazy hiking everywhere around Rome as we ticked off all the main sights. The Spanish steps, Trevi fountain (which was amazing), Pantheon, Il Vittoriano, Roman Forum and The Colosseum...that was only our first half of the journey haha. Of the above, I've gotta say the Pantheon was my favourite, it's so old!...Built in the Roman times and still so majestic. I especially like the ray of light coming from the oculus, pretty much hole at the top of the dome, it was amazing seeing this pillar of light through this massive structure surrounded by marble
Second half of day one included checking out some of the grand Piazzas of Rome. They're pretty much massive squares for hanging out, markets, buskers, like Fed square but so much cooler =P. They're often decorated with fountains, statues (obelisks) and set in front of a church, so they're jam packed with stuff to see and do. My favourite would but Piazza Navona, there was this awesome jazz band just jamming next to one of the fountains (VIOLIN JAZZ!), just nearby was an old man doing some old fashioned finger puppeting and further along were hard core Italian breakers showing their stuff...so in short...wow! Did I mention there was an art market, a fountain of the four rivers, a massive church, all of which was surrounded by bars, restaurants and gelaterias =D....mmmm.
We had dinner in the Tratsevere area of Rome (across the river)...had nice pasta al pesto and Lee said it was the best carbonara he's ever had. What was delicious though was Yee-Ling's ravioli...their tomato sauce...bellissimo! =P It felt like liquid tomato in your mouth. We got lost trying to get home though, so that was a little depressing but we did manage to check out one of the old southern gates to Rome so that was good
Oh btw, the gelati here is AMAZING, you can SEE real ingredients in them and they're always delicious...and yeah, they are everywhere haha. Pizza in Italy is also amazing, less toppings than the ones at home but they are really fresh and taste wonderful. Plus they're cheap as! Fountains are also abundant in Rome, seriously, they are everywhere, running non-stop..yes NON-STOP just pouring out water and it's so fresh and COLD. Lifesavers after all that walking we did.
Day 2, SHOCK HORROR, there is a strike with Rome's public transport and there are no trains or buses running. How do we get to the Vaticant!?!? Walk of course! What a wonderfully bad idea haha. This is in 30+ degree heat, in LONG pants since we heard that dress codes in the Vaticant are quite stringent (That put Lee off so he stayed for a chill time in the hostel). So yeah, a wonderful one and a half hours of hiking through the streets of Rome. However, unlike hiking 1+ hours in the streets of Melbourne, there are so many things to see and do. Mopeds speeding to and fro, angry Italian drivers horning, people chilling at a trattoria (restaurant) and the monuments, churches and statues you inevitably stumble upon. It was definitely worth the sweat.
The crowning glory of course was the Basillica of St Peter in the Vaticant. I cannot even begin to describe the place, surreal is the word that comes to mind and it really was. It felt like those scenes you see in final fantasy like computer games of wonderfully impossible places. I don't know whether it was the multicoloured marble statues, the light streaming in from the basilica windows or the massive columns leading to the painted ceiling but the place was simply wonderful
We then went up to the cupola (The top of St Peter's) for some amazing panoramic views of Rome but the climb up was taxing. 600+ steps up or so...and not straight, constantly turning, then it went all haphazard and twisted...then really REALLy narrow...and then...the light...glorious light and air XD. Did I meniton we were in PANTS in 30+ degree heat climbing 100 plus metres? >.< The vaticant museums was our last stop and it was amazing how much work the popes have put into the place. Guilded gold ceilings, all painted with amazing scenes of the bible/history/random christian motifs. There were tapestries and maps and of course the Sistine Chapel. While it was very nice, it didn't seem as impressive to me for some reason, maybe because of all the people crowded in there or the fact we weren't sure that it was the Sistine chapel but it was a little underwhelming. Still, it's definitely worth a visit and it is very nice inside. Unfortunately, after that we followed the wrong people and ended up outside the museum with no way to get back in, so that was disappointing. Spent the rest of the day checking out a museum near the fountain of Angels and Demons. Very cool =D