Saturday, 14 June 2014

Interrailing Chapter 4 | Rome

Following up on my previous post, in this next post I will be discussing the final part of my adventure in Italy; Rome. Roman history - one of the reasons I expect many people visit Rome, and something I too couldn't wait to witness. During our pleasant stay at The Yellow Hostel, again we got to see pretty much everything we hoped to  during our time in this marvellous city including: the Colosseum, the Vatican the Roman Forum and the Trevi fountain. Again we struck lucky with this hostel as not only was it pretty central, it was cheap, friendly and they had their own bar which was perfect for grabbing a quick drink or breakfast in the morning. I would definitely recommend checking it out if you are thinking of visiting Rome.

So what did we get up to in Rome and what's worth paying a visit? Well let me start by telling you - there's plenty to see and do. I would probably be here all day if I started listing all the things you could do so I will let you in on some of the things you shouldn't do. One thing I must start by saying is that the underground system in Rome is not the best. The attractions are not clearly listed like they are in Paris and therefore it's not as easy to navigate your way around. However, if you are visiting Rome for a few days then this will be your best point of call. If you are like me and want to be certain that you are going in the right direction then I would recommend double checking with the locals! 

The Trevi Fountain
Just a tad wet after the torrential downpour...
Another fantastic way of seeing this enchanting city is by an open top bus. Yes I know what you're thinking-typical tourist, but when it's pouring down with rain and you haven't got a clue where you are going, paying twenty euros or so to jump on a bus which takes you to every sight in Rome makes it all seem worthwhile. Unluckily for us, it was freezing again and raining too - we got absolutely drenched. Probably not the best idea to sit on the top but I surely didn't want to miss out on any of the sights, rain or no rain! Joking aside, I must say, the weather did have a big impact on our time in Rome. I didn't think I would be getting my rain mac out, certainly not in this city! But it just goes to show-you cannot rely on the weather not even in sunny Italy...

After a just about bearable tour of the city, we decided to jump off at the Vatican. Again this wasn't the best idea as it was Easter Sunday the weekend we were in Rome and because of the rain, everyone wanted to take shelter, literally anywhere... I knew there would be a queue but I wasn't prepared to wait three or more hours in the pouring rain so we decided to jump the queue and grab ourselves a tour guide. This was pretty easy going even though the reception at our hostel told us otherwise. Yes, you can always rely on the wonderful tour guides standing outside the attractions on the lookout for vulnerable tourists. I am always very weary of anything like this, I hate the thought of being scammed but luckily it was all legit and after a half an hour introduction we finally got ourselves in the warm.

So another tip here - if you want to avoid long tiresome queues it may be worth paying that little bit extra for a tour guide. This way you not only cut the horrendous queues, you actually get to learn about the different attractions and are not just standing there wondering what an earth you are meant to be looking at. This I found was particularly useful in the Vatican and the Colosseum as neither of them had any signs to explain what each room/feature was. When you have an expert on hand explaining all the ins and outs, you can sit/stand back and take it all in. Now as I may have mentioned in my last post, I am not the world's biggest religious person, neither do I take an interest in the Pope's affairs. However, I must say the Vatican was a very special place indeed. The fact that it is a separate city to Rome is something, but only when you get inside do you realise the complexity of such place. Hundreds and hundreds of rooms all surrounded in beautiful art work. I think we managed about 40 on our tour but as our tour guide said you would be there for weeks if you were to study each one. Our tour of the Vatican lasted for a good three hours and by the end I was ready to get of there. It was awfully busy and there was an awful lot to take in but still well worth a visit especially if you are a fan of the pope.

Inside the Vatican
Just look at that detail - a glimpse of the stunning artwork on the ceilings
Michelangelo in all his glory
During our tour not only did we have the chance to visit the wonderful Vatican museums, we also got to experience the beautiful Sistine Chapel and the Vatican's gardens. Unfortunately the Basilica of Saint Peter was not open to visitors on the Easter Sunday weekend but this didn't really bother me too much as I was already exhausted. Overall, I think we definitely tried to fit too much in during our trip. We were soon to feel the effects of hours of endless walking as soon on our return home. I for one was aching for weeks! Luckily we had two full days in Rome to check out all the sights and the following day the sun decided to make an appearance just in time for the Colosseum.

Luckily we didn't pay the Colosseum a visit when it was raining

Inside the masterpiece that is the Colosseum

A better look at the beauty
Roman history in its finest form - this place was truly remarkable. I actually shocked myself at how much much I enjoyed it. Along with seeing the wonderful Colosseum, on the second day we also had a guided tour of the Roman Forum which again exceeded all my expectations. If you are a fan of Roman History or simply want to see some amazing architecture then I recommend you get yourself down to Rome ASAP! It was amazing to see so many of the vital foundations of these buildings still standing - you could really picture how it used to look all those years ago. It's crazy to think they used to have so many gruesome battles and these buildings played such an important part of Roman life. I must note, I am a huge fan of the theatre and anything performance related so for me this was bound to be one of my highlights of Rome..

One of the many temples in the Roman Forum
The Roman Forum at a glance-breath taking
The Colosseum from afar

The Pantheon

After a hectic two days exploring all that Rome has to offer which also included the spectacular Pantheon (see above), we finally got to sit down and enjoy our last meal in the big city. This time we decided to go all out in one of Rome's finest restaurants and what a delightful evening we had. As the famous saying goes; when in Rome... I think the pictures below pretty much sum it up. I don't recommend you reading the rest of this if you're hungry.
One of the best salads I've ever tasted-King prawn and avocado
Another delicious Italian pasta 
So there you have it. Besides the torrential rain and the countless hours of walking, it was great to finally see Rome. This was the place I held the highest hopes for out of everywhere on our trip and it certainly didn't let me down. In terms of size, I was quite shocked as Rome wasn't as big as I thought it would be but still more than enough to do in a couple of days. I will definitely be paying a return visit to Rome when I'm older as I am sure I will appreciate it even more so then but for now I will say Ciao!


1 comment:

  1. Italy is so beautiful you look like you had an amazing time. What an adventure and you have all the memories to keep Lucy


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