Oh Roma!

Trip Start May 05, 2012
Trip End Mar 01, 2013

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Where I stayed
Hotel des Artistes Rome
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Italy  , Lazio,
Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rome welcomed us with torrential rain. The air-bridge didn't work from the plane and so we had to walk from the plane to a bus that then took us to the terminal. Luckily we didn't have to venture outside to take the train to the main station Termini in the city. By the time we arrived the rain had slowed to a drizzle and so we could put our bags on our back and walk around the puddles to our hostel. We found a Pizzaria close to the hostel for dinner (we had a horrible snotty waiter) and then went back to the hostel to sleep!

This place did not do free breakfasts, but for 1.5 Euro we could have breakfast at the cafe across the road and have a glass of orange juice, a croissant and a cappuccino. Not a bad deal really! Our next order of business was to find a bank to break our 500 euro note. When we changed money in China before we left the bank only gave us two 500 euro notes. We were able to change one in transit in Moscow, but now we had the second one to break and no one wanted it! We tried in total about 4 different banks. The banks that actually let us through the door didn't have cash (what sort of bank doesn't have cash?!), and it was such a traumatic experience even trying to get into these banks that it wasn't long before we were both thoroughly frustrated and grumpy. (Don't laugh, have you ever tried to get into an Italian bank??? They have little capsule things that scan you for metal before they let you in. The first bank let Evan straight through and then wouldn't let me in (I had the money), until a kind man kept repeating "metal" at me until I understood. The next bank wouldn't let me in even without my bag. My boots apparently have too much metal on them for me to be allowed in. I wasn't going to take my boots off so I waited outside while Evan was told they didn't carry cash). We finally decided to go to the tourist information centre and ask them. Luckily for us, they let us pay for our Roma passes with the note, even though they had to go and get more change. My faith in humanity was restored!

So, now that we were armed with smaller change, the Roma pass, and a better frame of mind we headed off to the Colosseum. Winter is a great time to visit. The temperature was pleasant (warm and dry) and we had no trouble with the line. We didn't buy a tour or anything, just wondered around by ourselves for a while. It was amazing to see and appreciate the history of this structure. It would probably have been better with at least an audio guide (the same for the Palentino Hill which we visited afterwards), but we still really enjoyed it. Once again we found a nice, cheap tourist menu for lunch and washed it down with wine. 

After lunch we had a walk around the Palentino hill area and the Roman forum and then wandered in the general direction of the Navona Piazza, admiring the buildings and stopping for gelato on the way. Piazza Navona has a couple of really weird fountains but also lots of artists showing off their work and offering to draw you. We thought it would be quite funny to get a caricature of us, so we sat down and were stared at for about 15 minutes and viola! Caricature drawn. We are not sure if we like it or not - but it was a fun experience! We also bought a really cool spray painted picture of the Colosseum. We found another nice tourist meal for dinner and then had a look at the Trevi fountain.  Very nice at night and not too many tourists!

We wanted to have a look at the Vatican the next day so we headed out there after getting some washing done.  We just had a look around the outside and took some photos before finding another lunch deal.  The lady handing out the fliers for this one took us to the restaurant herself - a full 10 minute walk away through countless side streets.  It was well worth the walk though, our lunch was delicious!  We then decided to walk back towards the Pantheon - over the river and through narrow little streets.  We were in desperate need for a toilet stop and Rome (and all over Italy!) didn't seem to have many public facilities.  Luckily we found a big gelato shop with a bathroom - Problem solved!  We then had another look at the Trevi fountain in daylight.  It was much busier but also a good place to stop and have a bit of a sit down and people watch. 

We had dinner that night at a restaurant beside the Colosseum.  We sat outside, drinking good table wine (such a luxuary - wine is so expensive in China) and enjoying the view.  A great way to spend our last evening in Rome.  It was such a lovely and impressive city.  Next time we need much more time to explore it fully!

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thirsty-boots on

Great blog and awesome pictures!! I can't wait to go visit there! Yaaah!!

-Knight (aka, "Thirsty-Boots")

Gramz on

Thanks for the trip, brought back memories.xx

Aaron on

Winter is definitely the best time to visit!! So jealous, all those restaurants near the Colosseum are AMAZING.

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