Currently, I am sat on a plane, flying back from Rome. I have just spent a fantastic five days in Italy’s capital city and I thought that I would write up my trip in my own little travel diary. Don’t worry though, these wont be the only posts that I put up, I’ll
milk this for all it’s worth space them out over a couple of weeks, with some of the other ideas that I’ve had. For once I seem to have a fair bit to blog about!
So a while back my sister asked me if I would like to go on a five day, four night trip to Rome as she had found an amazing deal online and it was, in all honestly, pretty damn cheap for what it was. I agreed and soon enough the day rolled around and we were waking up at the ungodly hour of 3am to make it to Heathrow for our flight. After breezing through check in and enjoying a travellers breakfast at Heathrow Costa we were on the plane and off to Italy.
Arriving at Fiumicino Airport we quickly realised that it may have been a good idea to learn at least some Italian, as we struggled our way through buying a ticket for the direct train from the airport into the central station in Rome, though we managed in the end (albeit after sitting and watching a few groups of people first) before we knew it we were disembarking at Termini, smack bang in the centre of the city. After finding a kiosk with an assistant that spoke English we had bought our weeks metro and tram travel card and descended into the murky underworld of the Roman Metro. Actually, that’s being unfair; the Metro in Rome is exactly like the London Underground – except it’s clean (I know, novel right!). Disembarking further north at Ottaviano we managed to find a bus that would take us up to our hotel, passing ‘Stadio Olimpico’ on the way.
After managing to walk right past our hotel the first time we tried we spotted it and finally pushed open the main doors and walk through into the hotel lobby only to be greeted by
what can only be described as DIY SOS: Hardcore Edition an ongoing refurbishment. After chatting to the receptionist we were told that our booking had been moved to another hotel in the chain, despite us previously being told twice that we were indeed staying at Hotel Number 1. We asked the receptionist for directions and instead of being helpful, she merely suggested we go and find a taxi outside. Needless to say, she has earned herself a place in that oh so special of hells, reserved for murderers, paedophiles and those that don’t clear their own tables at Fast Food Restaurants. I hope she enjoys it down there where Mick Hucknall and The Cheeky Girls are on repeat 24/7 and the only shows on TV are The Only Way Is Essex and Toddlers and Tiaras. Good grief, that’s a fearsome place.
Cue montage of worried wandering around Rome until we finally chanced upon a kind pair of security guards at a massive electronics and hardware store who very kindly ordered us a taxi, because apparently you have to be some kind of wizard to find a cab in Rome. Anyway, much later we ended up at our NEW Hotel, hot, grumpy and footsore but finally able to relax. At least we had somewhere to sleep for the night AND we were MUCH closer to the centre of town, only a ten minute wander from Piazza del Popolo.
After a very hectic and stressful morning we decided to grab a map and head out into the city to explore and try to find a few of the famous landmarks we had heard about. Hopping off the metro at Barberini, we decided to go and find the Trevi Fountain and although we set off in the fit direction we somehow managed to end up walking straight past it until we found ourselves at The Spanish Steps instead. Instantly I was overwhelmed at how busy it was, a Saturday afternoon of sightseeing in Rome may not have been the most ideal of plans in hindsight.
Climbing the steps we decided to saunter back and find the Trevi Fountain and after a brief pause on the Steps to take some pictures of the crowded, bustling shopping streets we were accosted by what seemed to be the entirety of Rome’s gypsy community, all trying to push a rose into our hands to then charge you money for. Quite honestly I have never seen such ruthless harassment on the street before and it was quite an experience with more than a few of them having to be told to back off numerous times before they finally got the message.
Eventually we made it to the Trevi Fountain and it was absolutely beautiful. I think it will go down on record as my favourite fountain, the sculptures adorning it were carved so masterfully, it really was as good as everyone had told me, and of course we both threw the customary coin backwards over our shoulder into the water to ensure that we would one day return to Rome. It was in front of this fountain that we tried our first true Italian delicacy, Gelato. All I can say is it was FANTASTICO!
After the Trevi Fountain we visited many other Roman landmarks including Trajans Column, the temple of Hadrian, Piazza Navone which hosts the absolutely fantastic Fountain of the Four Rivers sculpted by Bernini which, if you are a Dan Brown fan you will remember being on the Path of Illumination (No, I didn’t really get the Da Vinci Code either, but boy does Brown write one hell of a book! Plus, Angels and Demons was much easier to understand!). We also managed to make out first visit to the Pantheon, though we were unable to go inside as it was being used for a holy mass, it is after all a fully functioning church.
After a busy and tiring day we wanted nothing more than to eat some gorgeously fattening food and head back to the hotel so we ducked into the McDonalds (I know, it seems like a crime going to Italy and then going to a McDonalds but bear with me on this one) which just so happened to be the oldest and fanciest in Italy, boasting a separate McCafe and having some Italian options on the menu, such as a focaccia bread based burger.
After a busy night we managed to find our way back to the hotel where we proceeded to collapse into bed and by half 9 we were both asleep, absolutely shattered after our first day in Rome, but eager for our next busy day in the Capital…