Eternal City of wonder
04.10.2013 - 06.10.2013
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4/10/13 Yippee on our way to Rome for our surprise stay, a fantastic friend had paid for our accommodation for our stay in Rome. Arrive at the Bologna station and find where our train is leaving from, board our train, super second class travel (wondering what that is). The train is packed, we had assigned seats, two women in our seats, not another seat to be had. So Paul spoke to one of the train staff who shoed the women off to another carriage. Some seats sorted our luggage stowed, we can relax. Another couple are in the seats sitting opposite us, they are not in their right seats too, never mind they get off at the next stop. We get our proper seats back and then we had the four seats to ourselves for the rest of the journey.
Paul goes off to the catering carriage to get coffee. He is gone for an amazingly long time. Have to resist the urge to text him to say look out the window now. The landscape was so changeable, little towns, cities, farm land. Fertile lands, with fields of melons, pumpkins, corn, cattle vineyards, and olive groves. Lots of tunnels. Past little villages perched high up on hills with church steeples almost piercing the clouds above.
Paul arrives back two coffees in hand, sits down then manages to spill one all over himself. to say he is p'd off after waiting so long, after people pushing in and then spilling it on himself was an understatement. A lovely man in the seat opposite talked to the ladies serving refreshments and asked that someone come and help clean it up. Paul drank my coffee and a little man came and cleaned up our mess. Time to sit back and look at the passing landscapes.
Arrive Rome Termini Station, we had already determined that we could catch a short metro ride out to our accommodation, which was near the Colosseum. Leave the main termini to go down to the metro lines. At the ticketing machine is a gypsy saying he can help with our tickets, we didn't need help nor did we want to hand over money for such unwanted help. Disembark at Colosseo metro stop and we are outside the Colosseum, wowoowww. This thing is massive, people everywhere, ancient ruins just up the hill. Amazing.
We head up the hill to our accommodation. This place is just amazing, actually is right in front of the Colosseum. We pushed the buzzer to be let into the building. Ride the single person lift to the second floor. Roberto greets us with a warm smile and a hearty greeting. Ushers us into the apartment entrance, 4 rooms through a seperate entrance, We are shown to our room, we are given a bit of a tour of the room. All I wanted to do was open the window and gaze out at the view. This place is decorated in my colours, purples and silvers, such a calming effect plus beautiful. The bathroom is amazing the bed huge, but the views. Open the windows and see the Colosseum and ruins down the hill. Wowwww.
Thank you thank you so much my kind friends for this little bit of luxury.
Time to visit this eternal city. We head down past the ruins, amazing architecture on every corner. We walk past massive buildings with massive statues, hawkers, people everywhere, Cobbled streets, Horse drawn carts. Way too much for my brain to take in in one hit. Crazy italian drivers, no such thing a pedestrian crossing in this place, you step out in front of cars, be prepared to be a speed hump. Ha ha.
We keep walking to get to this place that our friends had recommended for a lovely pizza by the slice. . We arrive at this square, there appears to have been an open market in the square a street sweeper is doing circuits, picking up rubbish on the ground and spraying water as he goes, people ducking an weaving to avoid the machine. The pizza shop that was recommended to us is this shop that has bread and pizza and cakes. You choose the pizza you want and give an indication of how much you want, they cut it weigh it, it is wrapped in paper, you pay and off you go. We sit on this fountain edge to eat it, then I want to take a photo, ahhh clumsy me drops my pizza on the ground. Sad face. But across the courtyard I see this roll of porchetta, oooohhhhhhhhh yum, pork roll with bbq sauce hmmm.
This city is a city of churches, some of the little churches are amazingly ornate inside. Mind boggling how old some of the frescos are, ornate ceilings, statues and tall ceilings, marble floors and multiple chapels within one church..
We decide to head to the Trevi Fountain to toss a coin in it. We head up past the Pantheon, huge imposing building, columns, ornate walls and floors., do the usual tourist thing with the fingers grabbing the hole in the roof.
A little gelato on the way to the Trevi. People everywhere, but we manage to make our way to the waters edge trying to take a selfy of ourselves by the fountain. A nice man comes up and offers to take a photo of us. Hmmm we should have realised someone with a polaroid around their neck should be avoided. Oh well we still managed to toss a coin in the fountain.
Time to head back to our accommodation. We walk and walk and walk until finally we decide to stop at a little trattoria to have some dinner. Ahh yumm. A belly full of vino, pasta and cheese we head back past the ruins.
Time for some well earned rest.
We wake up to thunder storms and rain. Not many people out this morning, we decide to go out and brave the weather. We have our croissant and coffee looking at the colosseum in the little coffee shop below the accommodation, views and food all for the same price, brilliant.
Back up to the room and Roberto is there, the people in the room next to us had their bag stolen and he was changing the locks.
We decide to catch the metro to the Vatican, via the hawkers trying to sell us umbrellas and ponchos. On the walk to the Vatican, there are people all along the roads trying to get you to sign up the their tours, where you don't have to queue. We were not going to go in anyway. Arrive Vatican Square, What a huge structure, tall columned buildings, fountain in the centre, stairs leading up to the Chapel, queues and queues of people standing in the drizzling rain being herded into the chapel. A window visible with a massive chandelier illuminated, was waiting for a glimpse of the Pope. We walk along to the exist to head up to the entrance to the Vatican where the ornately dressed guards are standing. Take some photos. Then all of a sudden hawkers are running everywhere, dropping their stuff and one even losing his shoe in the middle of the road. A Police officer in hot pursuit, A heated conversation between the police officer and a hawker on a bike ensues. Ahh a little excitement.
We head down towards the exist of Vatican square and notice police and men with ear pieces wandering around, closing entrances and directing pedestrians in other directions. We decide to stay close as we figure someone special is about to be coming by. Next thing we know, a police car comes and blocks the side street and out zips this car, blackened glass. We assumed maybe the Pope?
We head out of the square, cross to a few streets away and enter a little church on a hill. Wow what an amazing old church, but a little run down. There were a few nuns wandering around. Then one stepped up and said something over the microphone. Paul and I don't speak Italian so remained. Then one came up to me an angrily said something to me in Italian, we looked at her with eyes of I have no idea what you are saying and she said LOCK LOCK LOCK. Oh the church is shutting. Ooops.
Heading away from their I see a bridge, over a river and we wander across that bridge and see a Castel Sant Angelo, a massive castle. This city amazes me at every turn.
Time for lunch, I see a restaurant with a set menu, need a little rest so we decide to sit, Paul and I and one other person. Then people start to roll in, the place is packed. Antipasti, pasta and a drink 9 euro brilliant.
Our bellies full we decide to head towards the Spanish Steps, weaving streets, beautiful little boutique shops, lots of restaurants. We walk past a building and look in, wow, it is a massive church, but has this walled internal courtyard. so imposing but just beautiful. Wander a little further and see press vans and photographers out side a building a guard at the door. Paul decides to ask the guard what all the excitement is for, his response ohhh the trial of Berlusconi is on, he is in the building. Paul and I are on a corner trying to figure out where we are and where to go next when this lovely American girl walked up and asked Do we speak English, she is looking for something and was lost, ha ha so are we, we get out our map help her where to go and then she gives up a tip of direction to go too.
We arrive at the Spanish steps, must be at least 300 people here all sitting and taking photos of the people sitting. Ok maybe we need to get to the top, walk around the corner near the metro and there is a lift up to the top, brilliant!! Arrive at the top, just like in the movies, painting on easles and painters insitu. Climb the stairs to Trinita dei Monti. Simple and stunning church interior. People being told to be quiet, why do they need to be told to be quiet in a church, it is church as place of worship and tranquility not flash bulbs and stupid loud conversations, have some respect people Out onto the front Portico and views out of over the Roman Skyline at Sunset.
I have been having heaps of issues with ankle swelling and aching feet so we decide we need to head back to the room for a little while for some rest and me to put my feet up.
Ok off to search for our restaurant for dinner at a little trattoria our friends recommended, delicious meats, pasta, salad and potato. Then off to bed ready for our train ride in the morning and our week in Tuscany.
Rome I will be back with more time to explore.