Made it to Rome

Trip Start Dec 26, 2005
Trip End Jan 25, 2009

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Flag of Italy  ,
Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I definitely feel as though I'm in a different country today, especially with the change in climate, food, people and sights. But it took forever getting here from Vienna. Given that there were technical faults with the train, the trip from Vienna to Rome took 17 hours, with a 2 hour stop over in Venice. It was only suppose to take 14 hours. I slept 10 hours of it though. I shared the compartment with a couple from Cairo... the lady was very nice, a teacher by trade who has lived in both the UK and Austria. The guy is a director of a chain of hotels in Cairo. Shame I'm not going to Cairo on this trip because I now know locals there as well!

I still haven't decided whether German or Italian trains are better. Both were immacuately clean with excellent facilities but I think the German trains get the nod given their efficiency in sticking to a time limit. I have yet to decide what my next move is... whether to Florence for a day or two or direct to Zurich. It is very hot here and walking around the ruins etc. was hard work. The crowds are abominable, the prices high, the queues long along with several nasty and impatient tourists. These reasons will probably see me expedite my trip to Zurich.

My last day in Vienna was absolutely fantastic. I spent the afternoon at a beautiful public pool in the hills surrounding Vienna. I've written down the directions on how to get there for future reference (let me know if you're going... it is a must if you're interested in swimming). The pool grounds, overlooking Vienna, are located in hills with vineyards etc. The public pool was very well structured with all the kids in one section, and the adults in the other... made for a pool party atmosphere with no kids. The water, however, was ever so cold and I limited myself to much need sunbathing. I'm a little burnt, added to by today's time in the sun. It cost 5.5 euros to get in, including a locker for your valuables. I'd prefer this type of day over touring the sights any day!

Finding accommodation on my arrival in Rome was easy. Within 3 minutes of disembarking the train, I had a guy come up to me offering me a hostel room. After asking some preliminary questions such as price, number of people in dorm, exact location, inclusions such as breakfast etc., I was sold and walking off to the hostel. It's called Ariana's Bed and Breakfast, affiliated with Hollywood Hotel, two streets from the main termini. There are 5 beds in the dorm, and seems to be an ok place for the 25 euros a night. I've been told that Italy is slightly more expensive than Austria. The location is outstanding with everything I need close by.

After checking in, I headed back to the main termini to board the hop on hop off tour to get my bearings in as short amount of time as possible. But getting on the tour was nowhere as efficient as what it is in Munich. I had to wait 1.5 hours before even getting on the bus. I paid 20 euro which includes a 2 day pass including all sights that I'm interested in seeing. Not a bad deal given that all transport is included and I don't have to think about the logistics of getting to each sight. Today I spent my time at the Quirinale (President's Residence), P.ZZa Venezia (Building as a result of Italy's Reunification), the Colloseum (which charges an exhorbitant 11 euros to enter... I ditched that idea) and The Foro Romano (Roman Ruins from the beginning). That was enough to tell you the truth. Tomorrow I will be prioritising a visit to the Vatican City... the main reason for coming here.

The food is very good... my first meal was Lasagna, but another reason for coming here to Italy is to immerse myself in the food and wine, whatever the cost. Italian food is one of my favourite dishes and I can't wait to get my teeth stuck into a varieties of pastas and pizza.
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