Rome roaming in roma

So, it turns out I have a new favourite place in the world. The Colosseum! It’s epic! I mean, the feeling and sense of the history of the place is unbelievable. The memories that echo from it from the depths of history are unreal. This does, however, mean a serious consideration was given to relegating my previous favourite place in the world which has now become simply my favourite place in the UK. And it remains secret! My trip to Rome comes from a desire to see as many places as I can and have as many adventures as I can, as soon as I can. The idea of visiting 30 countries before you’re 30 is very romantic and provocative, but I don’t think I’ll achieve that. In the past year I’ve done Germany (but I’d already been to Germany so that didn’t really count), Morocco, France (also doesn’t count), The Netherlands (also doesn’t count!), and now Rome. Next up is Iceland, unless I squeeze something in before hand, and then Australia. This means that before I’m 30 I still won’t have visited 30, but I’m still on the case to get to as many places as I can! I’ve just glanced up and reminded myself that this post is entitled ‘Rome’ so I’d better get back on topic. My trip to Rome was the bargain price of £55 for flights (Ryanair) and €70 accommodation (Piazza Ragussa), then €8 for transfers, €15 for a 3 day travel card, and a couple of entry fees on top. It’s turning out cheaper to travel than I’d anticipated. The problems began, though, when I realised that I didn’t actually know any Italian other than ‘pizza’, ‘espresso’, and ‘birra’. Oh, and ‘ciao’! Not very useful! But I survived. Just about! The public transport system was interesting to negotiate. There are suburban trains, which aren’t much use in the city, and 2 metro lines. These 2 lines intersect the city but don’t give you many options. The buses just kind of go where they fancy, and the tram timetables and routes are nigh on impossible to decipher for a non-Roman such as myself. That meant my feet became my trusty mode of transport! And they deserve a medal! My first port of call, naturally, was the thing I recognise from countless history books, films, and ancient stories – The Colosseo. My hotel kindly told me how to get there, beating the transport system! When I saw it I was overpowered by awe. This thing is nearly 2,000 years old and still standing strong. I could see that it provides an infinite number of photographic opportunities, yet unfortunately they had wrapped half of the taller side in scaffolding for renovation so I had to be quite imaginative.

Another fantastic sight was the Pantheon. This place looks from the outside like half cave, half ‘Acropolis’. But you go inside and the most magnificent church is presented to you. The sheer size of the open space makes the mind wonder how on Earth it was possible to engineer such a building so long ago. It has a square outside which is full of entertainment, cafe’s and trattoria’s, which give the ears something to do whilst the eyes are so engrossed in the view. It’s a must visit place when in Rome. I wonder if it counts towards my ’30’ that I visited the Vatican City. That’s a whole other country, right? And what a wonderful little country it is. The place has it’s own postal service, but I wonder how many letters are sent within the country itself. One of it’s post boxes sits atop the roof of St Peter’s Basilica, which is a place which is brand new yet so familiar. The Pope’s gaff was another such place that made me wonder how on Earth it came to be. How many people suffered during it’s creation? It’s clear from the energy that there was a lot of drama there.

My intention when I arrived at the Vatican was to see the Sistine Chapel. A place which holds what I consider to be the world’s most famous piece of art, Michelangelo’s Creation Of Adam. That had to wait though, as I was tempted by the dome atop St Peters and decided that the lift wasn’t an option, I had to see what the inside of the walls looked like in this incredible basilica. Some 550 steps later I arrived on the roof, having walked up thin circular staircases, long sloping floors, inward leaning corridors, and around the inside of the dome looking down inside the basilica. It was well worth the climb, and the views form the roof across the whole of Rome are tantamount to those of Paris from the Eiffel Tower. Stunning. So when I’d finished with this little mission the Vatican Museums, home to the Sistine Chapel, were closed! I had to return the next day to sit in the two and a half hour queue between a Chinese tour group (who’s leader was enthralling and keeping me entertained, despite not having a clue what he was saying!) and a couple from somewhere up North who’s moaning about the city they were visiting made me wonder why they’d even bothered coming at all. The Vatican Museums are organised in such a way that you have to walk a set path around the whole place, Ikea style, before you get to what you want to see. Unfortunately I wanted to leave half way round because the sheer volume of people crammed in was unreal. You literally can’t move. But the arrival in the Sistine Chapel made it all go away. The gigantic barn like structure is beautifully decorated and the art on display is simply incredible. The Swiss Guard were on hand to ensure that nobody broke the ‘absolutely no photographs’ rule, but nobody beats Hybrid Dave. Even the Swiss Guard! So there we have a it. A brief synopsis of my three days in Rome. My verdict, do it! It’s hard work at times, but totally worth it. Much love x

Created By
David Williams


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