A Travellerspoint blog

Day 10 - Venice

BUON NATALE FROM VENICE!

overcast 6 °C

Merry Christmas everyone! By the time you read this Christmas in Australia will be over so we hope that you all had a wonderful day filled with love, fun and fantastic food!

We were up around 8am this morning to head downstairs for breakfast. The breakfast included in our room is a fairly standard hotel breakfast featuring bacon, eggs, cereal, ham, cheese, bread rolls, pastries, yogurt, fruit and drinks. A yummy way to start out day.

We then went across the road to the train station to catch the train into Venice. 4.80 Euro for the two of us return got us to the train station in the heart of Venice with a 10 minute train ride each way. We tossed up weather we should buy a 35 Euro travel card which gets you unlimited trips on the train, vaporetti and bus for 72 hours but we decided that once we were in Venice we would just walk as this is part of the fun!

When you walk out of the train station in Vencie you walk out into a small piazza with the main canal straight in front of you. Quite a sight really! I was amazed at how many people were out and about. I have only ever spent Christmas Day as a special day with family and so I guess I didn't realise that it is just another day for so many people. We were not sure how much would be open on Christmas Day but we need not have worried.

We decided we would walk through the centre of Venice to make our way to the Rialto Bridge and St Mark's Square. My intial impressions of Venice were mixed. It was a bit smelly (kind of like Charleville bore water on a really hot summer day) and dirty, but really really cool. I loved that I had seen Venice so many times in pictures and now I was actually there. We wondered through the streets taking pictures and found the Rialto Bridge (a bit of a let down really - it was a bit under-whelming) and then found our way to St Mark's Square. Around these areas is where it started to hit me how touristy Venice is. Ed had warned me that it would be very touristy but I wasn't prepared for this. Rome was touristy in that there were a lot of tourists around but it still seemed like an authentic Italian city where as Venice is all about tourism. Restaurants have their menu's in 6 different languages and there are a million little shops and market stalls all with the aim of making money out of the tourists. When Ed and I were talking about it I compared it to the Gold Coast. It kind of had that 'tacky' tourist feel about it.

After wondering around the square and looking in the VERY expensive cafes (one of them was charging 9 Euro for a coffee!) we headed out to the lagoon side and started to make our way back towards the train station. We decided to head off the tourist strip and found ourselves walking through the back streets of Venice. This was the highlight of the day for both of us. It is amazing to see how life happens here and how people get around the tiny little streets and canals. We loved seeing the Gondola's (no ride in one for us......very expensive) and we even saw two water Ambulance boats screaming through the canals.

After getting a little lost (some streets turn out to be a dead end at the water) we eventually made it back onto the tourist strip again. Once again we were hit with a million tourist shops and restaurants and were once again a little disappointed. We jumped back on the train and headed back to our hotel for a lazy afternoon (Ed is STILL not feeling well) followed by a yummy Christmas dinner at the restaurant attached to the hotel. Beautiful fresh pasta for both of us and we called it a day.

Pictures to come when Ed uploads them from his camera.

Posted by AndreaSchache 23:46 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 8 - Cinque Terre

overcast 11 °C

Ed is feeling much better today but we woke to a very overcast day. It looked like it was going to be freezing out so we rugged up to head out at about 10am. The pharmacy sign (big green flashing crosses) told us that it was 12 degrees and even though it was overcast it seemed like decent weather for some exploring.

We got to the train station just in time to miss a train headed in the direction that we wanted to go in so we had an hour to kill. We went for a bit of a walk and also sorted out plan for the trains to head to Venice tomorrow.

As it is Sunday we thought our best bet for the town to have the most open would be Monterosso. We originally were not going to head to this town because it is reviewed as a 'touristy' town geared toward the summer crowds. We figured that because it is the biggest of the 5 towns we might manage to get a decent feed and hopefully some gelato (we've been hanging out for some. Most places have closed down for the winter in Cinque Terre including all of the gelato stores that we have seen).

The train took us quickly to the other end of Cinque Terre for 2 Euro each and we walked through Monterosso checking out what was around. There were lots of signs around town with photographs of a flood/landslide that caused a lot of damage to the town in October of 2011. It looks like it caused quite a lot of damage, however the town seems to have recovered quite well.

We were wrong about Monterosso being the town wit most things open. We struggled to find a place for lunch and finally found a little pizza restaurant that was open. Their menu looked great. Ed opted for a Calzone and I went for a Ham and Pepperoni pizza (as it said on their English menu) only to be disappointed when it arrived. Turns out Pepperoni, even on an menu written in English, means capsicum. Anyway, it was easily picked off and for 19 Euro including a couple of drinks it was a cheap and filling lunch. (Thinking about it now, I think I remember reading something on Tony's blog about this happening with them too?)

The rest of Monterosso was deserted. We walked through to the 'new' part of town which seems to be mostly hotels etc and everything was closed down for the winter. As with the other towns in the Cinque Terre I can just imagine this place completely buzzing in the summer. Ed and I have both said that we will definitely come back here, maybe not in the summer but maybe one September. I would love to see these towns with more stores, cafes and restaurants open.

On our way home we decided to stop in a Vernazza as we had plenty of time to spare. What a good decision that was! This turned out to be the town with the most happening in it! We got off the train and started walking down the main road only to find......a Gelato store that was open!!!! YAY!!!!! Getting two scoops each (Ed even had the 'Cinque Terre' flavour) we headed down to the main piazza on the water. There was a bar full of people who were spilling over on to the street with their drinks and all seemed to be enjoying themselves. We sat and ate our gelato taking in all in and while Ed was off taking some pictures of the rough sea crashing against the rocks and I was people watching a band starting playing live music in the piazza. They were fantastic. Their music had a sort of ska-like vibe and they soon had people up and dancing. We sat for about an hour, people watching and taking in the atmosphere.

We headed back up the street towards the train station talking about how we bet we just miss a train only to hear one pulling in. Ed ran up to try to catch the train that I was sure we were going to miss. He ran into the ticket station to buy the tickets and once we had them jumped straight on the train. Train tickets in Italy must be validated before you get on the train or you risk a 50 Euro on the spot fine so I stayed on the platform to try and validate the tickets. I managed to get one done and was trying to do the other one when Ed told me to get on the train quickly. The validation machine was not quick enough so we ended up on the train with only one validated ticket. I worried the whole way back to Riomaggiore that we were going to get fined but it all turned out ok!

Now we are in the process of packing up our gear and getting ready to head to Venice via Parma and Bologna tomorrow. We have really enjoyed our time in Cinque Terre as it has allowed us to relax and explore at the same time. We managed to walk around four of the five towns (We gave Colonglia???? a miss this time around as it had 365 stairs from the train station to the town and we wanted to take it easy with Ed being sick) and have said we will come back for sure when it is warmer and a slightly busier time of the year.

Posted by AndreaSchache 08:06 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 9 - Cinque Terre to Venice

overcast 9 °C

We had an early start to the day today although it turned out that we probably didn't need to. We paid for our apartment yesterday so all we had to do this morning was leave the keys on the table and pull the door shut behind us. I don't think the owners liked the idea of getting up early to see us off!

We loaded ourselves up with our backpacks etc and headed to the train station in the dark to catch the 7:30am train. The plan was to train to Parma and spend some time looking around and then doing the same in Bologna. The train trip to Parma saw us speeding through many areas covered in snow. I was quite pleased with my first look at snow for the trip, especially as I was in the warmth of the train at the time :)

When we arrived at Parma we got off the train to about 6 degrees. We walked through the train station looking for somewhere to leave our bags while we went for a walk around town but there didn't seem to be anywhere. So, after a quick coffee and hot chocolate we jumped back on the train and headed straight to Bologna (we went through Reggio Emilia - for all of those BSS lower school teachers out there, and Modena - which is apparently where they make Ferrari's).

We had the same problem with our bags at Bologna train station even though it is a huge station. We decided to set off into town anyway and would just carry our things with us. We walked around for about an hour and then sat down in this little bar for some lunch. I had an awesome pesto and bolognese lasagna and Ed had a smoked salmon salad. Yum!

We then walked through a market that was set up and managed to pick up a beanie and scarf for Ed and a beanie/hat for me for 1.50 Euro! Bargain!

As it is Christmas Eve and we are not sure how much will be open around Venice tomorrow we decided to get some groceries (just some snack foods etc) that we can eat just in case. We found a supermarket and Ed went in to find us some treats. By this stage I was freezing (I didn't realise how cold it was going to be so I hadn't put thermal legs on or packed my gloves in an easy to get to place) so we started making our way back towards the train station.

As much as Ed didn't want to I made him take me in to McDonalds for a while as it was warm in there and I desperately needed some heater action. We sat and people watched for a while and then moved to the train station to do the same thing. We had pre-booked our tickets from Bologna to Venice so we had to wait around for a few hours until our train time. When Ed and I were looking at all of the train times we didn't factor in not being able to leave our bags somewhere!

Once on-board the train took us quickly and comfortably to Venice where we got off 1 station before the end of the line and checked into our hotel (Hotel Plaza - as recommended by Tony and Carley). We are up on the 8th (top) floor in a flash room. Ed decided to book a decent room as we would be here for Christmas and even then it is only costing us 100 Euro a night. Not bad at all!

We have just finished having dinner in the restaurant joined to the hotel. A super yummy Tomato and Basil pasta for me and Calamari and grilled vegetables for Ed. The meal ended up costing 32 Euro because they charge 1.50 Euro a head cover charge and then slugged us 3.50 for a bottle of water! We are not too fussed though because we didn't end up spending too much in Cinque Terre and it is Christmas!

I'm just hanging out to see if Mum and Dad get online soon so that I can wish them a Merry Christmas before I go to bed.

Posted by AndreaSchache 12:26 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 7 - Cinque Terre

semi-overcast 12 °C

Ed is feeling a little better today so we headed out to explore one of the other towns. We caught the train to Manarola (the next town up the coastline) because the walking track between Riomaggiore and Manarola are closed due to landslides. Such a shame as the train took only 2 minutes so it would have been quite nice.

Manarola is another cute little town. When you get off the train you once again head through a tunnel to get to the main street of town. We decided to head down to the water first and headed through a little piazza and past some restaurants to get there. After exploring and taking some pictures we headed back to the train station hoping to catch another train within the hour time frame we had to use our tickets to get to another town. After checking the train times again we realised that the train we were planning on catching doesn't run at this time of the year. We decided that was ok with us and walked back into Manarola to explore some more. We took our time and headed up the very steep main road to take some pictures from the piazza at the top of town.

I can't get over how amazing these little towns are. Buildings that are 4 or 5 stories high built into the side of a mountain, joined to the next building. At one point we counted that from sea level Manarola goes 17 stories up with just flights of stairs to get to the top. Crazy!
The weather today turned out to be beautiful with the sun shining and the daytime temperature being about 12 degrees so we bought some yummy foccacia's and headed down to the waters edge to sit in the sun and eat lunch.

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After a quick drink in one of the town's cafe's while waiting for our train we headed back to Riomaggiore for a quiet afternoon.

We have discovered that most of the little shops and cafes in town are open in the mornings and then close up for most of the afternoon. They then re-open at about 5pm. I headed back out to get some bread etc just after 5 and the town was buzzing again! The Christmas lights have been put up and there were plenty of people about.

A yummy home-cooked dinner and an early night should see Ed feeling much better tomorrow.

Posted by AndreaSchache 11:21 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 6 - Cinque Terre

semi-overcast 11 °C

Ed is sick :(

He has been complaining of a sore throat for the past few days and it has come to a head today. When he gets sick he often gets an infected throat. I hope it doesn't get that far! I'm not really wanting to have to make the confusing trip to an Italian Doctor!

We decided to take it easy today spending most of the day in the apartment with Ed resting. We went out a couple of times to do some slow exploring and do some laundry.

Riomaggiore is an amazing little town with it's colourful houses perched right up into the mountains. It is a maze of stairs and doorways leading off the main street. The main street mostly doesn't have vehicle access with most cars parking at the top of the town and people walking the main street. There are 2 elevators in the town to help get you up the hill but neither of them are working at the moment!

They seem to love their church bells here. We have heard them quite a few times today with seemingly no order to when they are rung270_IMG_2844.jpg270_IMG_2846.jpg. I'm sure there is a reason for each time but they don't seem to fall on the hour etc.

Hopefully Ed will be better tomorrow and we can head to some of the other towns to explore.

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Posted by AndreaSchache 11:19 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 5 - Rome to Cinque Terre

semi-overcast 11 °C

Ed had a very early start this morning after our crazy early night last night. At 4am he decided that he couldn't sleep any more and headed out to take some night night photographs. 3 hours later he came back and headed down for some breakfast. We called a lazy morning today and hung out in the room until about 11am. We grabbed some groceries for our train trip and bought some beautiful cashmere lined black leather gloves for both of us. I think we will need these as we head further north. We then made our way to the train station.

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I am now sitting on the train headed to La Spezia and then to Riomaggiore. The train is currently heading along the coastline.....just beautiful.
While I have the time to write I have some general observations about our time in Rome:

  • So far we have not met any overly friendly Italian people. Everyone seems to be quite straight and do not smile at your etc when you are buying something etc. They are also very loud when they are talking to each other! I don't mean by this that people have been un-friendly....they just haven't gone out of their way to make us feel welcome.
  • Italian people are so well dressed. Everyone looks like they are ready for a fashion shoot for a magazine. Makes Ed and I look completely daggy in our generic travel clothes. Ed doesn't have a problem with this but I do!
  • Everyone in Rome seems to be a crazy driver and even more of a crazy parker. Scooters and cars are parked everywhere you look long the streets including right over the crossings!
  • It seems like everyone in Rome smokes!
  • Rome is a treasure trove of little cobbled streets with interesting little shops and cafe's that open into beautiful piazza's ranging in size and decoration.

LATER THAT DAY:
I had to stop writing on the train because I was travelling backwards and was starting to feel a little unwell. I think the motion sickness tablets that I got 'just in case' may come in handy!

Our train took us to La Spezia station. We then had to get on a regional train to Riomaggiore. A further 10 minutes on the train and we were in Cinque Terre!

When you get off the train in Riomaggiore you have to walk back through the train tunnel on a pedestrian path that shares the same tunnel as the train. We got to the end just as a train came through the station (not stopping at the station) and were rewarded with a huge gust of cold air that nearly blew me off my feet.

Once you are through the tunnel we had to make the ascent up the hill to find the place we had to meet the landlords of the apartment we are renting while we are here. My first impressions of the town were good but I'm not sure how people live here all of the time! It is so steep and there are so many stairs! As we climbed we past lots of little shops, cafe's and restaurants, many of which look closed for the winter. I think this is going to be a few day where we can relax and not do to much.

We were looking for a little church that Ed had been told to look for. We were also told to ring the owner (Fredrica) when we arrived so that she could meet us at the church and take us to our apartment. Our phones were not working to call her so we stopped on the street and Ed went into a little COOP supermarket for help. A lady talking Italian a million miles an hour pointed him to a pay phone and showed him where the church is.

We waited at the church for a couple of minutes (after watching a couple haul heavy looking suitcases up the hill - the girl didn't look very happy - I think the backpacks were a GREAT idea!) a man turned up in a little car. He came to us saying "Call Fredrica, call Fredrica?". Turns out only spoke the most basic of English but was to take us to our apartment. We loaded into his car and he drove us up the rest of the very steep hill. With lots of gesturing and very, very basic English he showed us to our apartment and took his leave.

We are staying at the Cademandin Apartments in Riomaggiore. What a fantastic find! We have an apartment consisting of a good sized bathroom, a large bedroom with the most comfortable bed and a living/kitchin/dining area. We also have quite a large balcony with an amazing view to the water. The apartment has been renovated within the past few years so everything is quite modern and nice. For 90 Euro a night we are more than happy.

As we saw some yummy looking produce on our way up the hill and most of the restaurants looked closed we decided to cook ourselves a meal for tonight. We made our way down the crazy stairs to the main street and bought some fresh food to cook up a yummy pasta dish for dinner.

Posted by AndreaSchache 11:15 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 4 - Rome

overcast 11 °C

We had the wonderful plan of heading to the Vatican today to climb the stairs of St. Peter's Basilica so we were up early and headed down to the breakfast room just before 7am. After fueling up on a breakfast made up of yummy pastries, hot chocolate and toast for me and pastries, hot chocolate, yoghurt, bacon, ham and cheese for Ed we heading out into the cold morning air. The temperatures have not been too bad. A minimum of about 2/3 degrees and a maximum of about 11ish each day. After walking for about 10 minutes I remembered reading in Ed's well researched information that the Basilica is closed on Wednesday mornings. What day is it today? Wednesday!

As it was only early we decided to head to the Spanish Steps to take some photographs while the area was not packed with people as it was the other night. Turns out that was a fantastic plan! Big tip for anyone visiting Rome......go to the Spanish Steps EARLY in the morning! After taking some pictures we also decided to head back to the Trevi fountain for the same reason. Once again it was deserted! There were still a couple of dodgy looking people around but they were outnumbered by the 4 policemen that were also standing around the area. After taking some photographs we headed out into the streets in search of a coffee for Ed.

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We stumbled upon a little cafe and decided to take a seat inside to warm up a little before continuing on our journey. We had been told that when you buy a coffee you are charged more if you sit down to drink it than if you stand at the counter. Ed had what he told me was an awesome cappuccino for 2.50 Euro and we took in the atomosophere of a little Italian cafe where mostly locals go.

Once we had warmed up a litlle we hit the streets again and stumbled upon Piazza del Popolo. This was a great spot to sit on the stairs in the sun and do some people watching. We walked from here along the river before crossing over and walking up the main road heading into the Vatican City. What a sight. The buildings over here are truly amazing! We avoided the people trying to sell things and the many offers of tours on our way in and made it safely to the metal detectors. Once inside we decided to climb the dome first. This turned out to be a good decision as there was no line. We paid our 7 Euro each which got us a trip up the lift to the inside of the dome. This is lined with tiny mosaic pictures made to look 3D from the other side of the dome. Very impressive.

We then had the 300 and something stairs to climb up to get to the top of the dome. What a climb! It starts fairly easily but you are soon hit with a spiral staircase that goes on and on and on! We stopped about halfway up for a breather and were treated with a glimpse of the view out of a tiny window. The final flight of stairs is an even more difficult spiral staircase that even had a rope hanging down the middle to hold on to as it was so narrow! We made it to the top and were rewarded with some absolutely spectacular views!

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We stayed at the top for about 20 minutes taking in the view before heading back down the stairs (equally as challenging on the way down) and lift and into the Basilica itself. This place is HUGE! Everywhere you look there are beautiful carvings and statues etc. It is difficult to put into words exactly how beautiful this place is. We wondered around for a while taking photographs etc before deciding that we had had enough religious viewing and taking our leave.

By this stage we were both a little peckish and made our way to the awesome little part of town just south of the Vatican to get some aranchini balls. On the way we stopped in at the bar that Ed had found the other day (there seems to be a theme emerging here....) for a couple of beers.

After a snacky feed we decided to retreat to the little bar/restaurant that we ate in 2 nights ago for a couple of drink before an early dinner.
We both had a dinner of the most awesome pasta ever and decided to call it a very early night. The walk home took about 45 mins adn we both fell into bed around 6:30pm (I think the jet lag caught up with us!).

Posted by AndreaSchache 11:10 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 3 - Rome

overcast 10 °C

We started this morning with an early morning walk to the park that is nearby. It was a cold and dark start to the morning but we discovered what seems to be a beautiful area. Ed is going to head out there again tomorrow morning to take some pictures (while I sleep in!)

After heading back to the hotel to fuel up on breakfast we made the walk back to 'Old Rome' to visit the Colosseum. What a great move it was buying our tickets at the Roman Forum yesterday as we walked past the already long line of people waiting to buy tickets (this was just after opening time) and straight inside. Once again we decided to not get an audio guide, opting again to just wonder around and take it all in. What an absolutely amazing place. We listened in to some tour guides who were explaining the place to some other visitors and heard some of the details of what went on and read a lot of signs dotted around the sight. We spent about 2 (freezing) hours wondering around, taking photographs etc before decided that it was getting too crowded and we had seen all that we needed to.

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We headed off in the direction away from the main entrance of the Colosseum to avoid the usual tourist traps and stopped into a little cafe for Ed to have a capuccino. We were both cold and tired at this stage so we decided to head back in the direction of our hotel for a rest and some internet time. We are now about to head back out into what I think will be a cold evening.

LATER THAT DAY:

We headed out for a wonder around town which turned into quite a long walk. We are (when I say 'we' I mean Ed) finding our way around the city quite well. Ed had heard of a beer place that he wanted to go to so we found that and much to his delight they have a wall full of beer. He sat and had a look for a while and realised that out of a whole wall of bottled beer and about 30 taps he had only tried about 6 of the beers. He was in heaven! The people were who worked there were really friendly which was a nice change (more on this later) and it was warm so we sat for a while. Ed had two different beers and was going for a third when we realised that the staff had started ignoring us and had put reserved signs on all of the free tables. I think they were getting ready for it to get busy and were trying to get rid of us! Ed bought a bottle of their own beer to drink in Cinque Terre and we went back out into the cold.

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Ed had it in his mind that he didn't want to eat in any of the 'touristy' and as we were within a few blocks of the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain we decided to start heading back towards the hotel planning on finding a place to eat on the way. By this stage I was cold and tired and just wanted a simple bowl of yummy pasta or some yummy pizza. All of the restaurants near our hotel seemed to have much more 'fancy' food. We finally settled on a little restaurant where we both got pizza. The man who was serving in the restaurant spoke very little English which made for an interesting meal.

Posted by AndreaSchache 11:08 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 3 - Rome

overcast 10 °C

18th December
We started this morning with an early morning walk to the park that is nearby. It was a cold and dark start to the morning but we discovered what seems to be a beautiful area. Ed is going to head out there again tomorrow morning to take some pictures (while I sleep in!)
After heading back to the hotel to fuel up on breakfast we made the walk back to 'Old Rome' to visit the Colosseum. What a great move it was buying our tickets at the Roman Forum yesterday as we walked past the already long line of people waiting to buy tickets (this was just after opening time) and straight inside. Once again we decided to not get an audio guide, opting again to just wonder around and take it all in. What an absolutely amazing place. We listened in to some tour guides who were explaining the place to some other visitors and heard some of the details of what went on and read a lot of signs dotted around the sight. We spent about 2 (freezing) hours wondering around, taking photographs etc before decided that it was getting too crowded and we had seen all that we needed to.
We headed off in the direction away from the main entrance of the Colosseum to avoid the usual tourist traps and stopped into a little cafe for Ed to have a capuccino. We were both cold and tired at this stage so we decided to head back in the direction of our hotel for a rest and some internet time. We are now about to head back out into what I think will be a cold evening.
LATER THAT DAY:
We headed out for a wonder around town which turned into quite a long walk. We are (when I say 'we' I mean Ed) finding our way around the city quite well. Ed had heard of a beer place that he wanted to go to so we found that and much to his delight they have a wall full of beer. He sat and had a look for a while and realised that out of a whole wall of bottled beer and about 30 taps he had only tried about 6 of the beers. He was in heaven! The people were who worked there were really friendly which was a nice change (more on this later) and it was warm so we sat for a while. Ed had two different beers and was going for a third when we realised that the staff had started ignoring us and had put reserved signs on all of the free tables. I think they were getting ready for it to get busy and were trying to get rid of us! Ed bought a bottle of their own beer to drink in Cinque Terre and we went back out into the cold.
Ed had it in his mind that he didn't want to eat in any of the 'touristy' and as we were within a few blocks of the Spanish Steps and the Trevi fountain we decided to start heading back towards the hotel planning on finding a place to eat on the way. By this stage I was cold and tired and just wanted a simple bowl of yummy pasta or some yummy pizza. All of the restaurants near our hotel seemed to have much more 'fancy' food. We finally settled on a little restaurant where we both got pizza. The man who was serving in the restaurant spoke very little English which made for an interesting meal.

Posted by AndreaSchache 11:08 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Day 2 - Rome

overcast 14 °C

After a good nights sleep we headed down this morning to check out the breakfast that is included in our hotel stay. We were pleasantly surprised to find a nice selection of bread, bacon, cheese, eggs, cold meats, cereal, yogurt, drinks and pastries. After filling up we headed out for our first real day of exploring.

We headed in the general direction of 'Old Rome'. This is the area of town that contains the Colosseum etc. I am loving walking the streets and taking in all of our surrounds. I love that many of the streets are lined with mandarin trees. You can obviously just take a mandarin if you feel like as most of the trees only have fruit above arms reach. During our walk we stopped in for Ed to get an Espresso (only 90 cents if you stand at the bar and drink it) and to take some photographs along the way.

We found our way fairly easily to the area near the Colosseum and took the advice that had been given to us by many people and went straight to the Roman Forum. He we bought a 2 day pass that got us into the Roman Forum, Palatine Hill and the Colosseum for only 12 Euro each! There was no line up so this was a great tip that we will pass on to anyone else that is coming to Rome. We opted out of getting an audio guide as we entered the Roman Forum but in hindsight probably should have gotten one. Ed and I are not really up with Roman History so some of the importance of the area was a little lost on us, but we did spend about 4 hours walking through here and Palatine Hill taking in the amazing ruins and discussing how incredible the buildings are/would have been and how they managed to build using such huge pieces of stone etc without the machinery that we take for granted today. It was amazing to think that we were in the area where the whole Religious and political base was formed. The grand houses that have been discovered and preserved at Palatine Hill were also amazing. There was one that had the most intricate detailing on the floor and walls. Check out Ed's flickr page to see some of our photographs.

By the time we had finished walking through these areas it was 1pm and we decided that we wanted to leave the Colosseum until tomorrow as it closes at 3pm and we wanted to give it the time we thought it deserved. So we set of to discover some of the less traveled parts of Rome.

Ed had read about some Pub's that he wanted to visit on the other side of the river just south of the Vatican. We headed in the general direction and when we reached the other side of the river we discovered the most amazing part of town. This part of Rome is called the 'Trastevere'. It consists of lots of little cobble stone streets with restaurants, apartments and shops. We found another amazing gelato shop called 'Fior di Luna' and stopped for a short break. We had the most amazing choc-hazelnut and choc-orange gelato and also bought some little blocks of chocolate.

We wondered around this area for a few hours and commented to each other that this is what we expected Rome to be like. We both fell in love with this area and we will go back there again hopefully before we leave Rome. We found 2 little pub's where Ed had some Italian beer and then found a little restaurant for dinner. 2 drinks, pizza for Ed and the most amazing tagliatelle for me cost us 24 Euro. We are amazed with how cheap food is!

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By this stage we were both really tired and cold and realised how far from our hotel we were so decided to fuel up on some more gelato from 'Fior di Luna' before starting the long walk home. On our way we somehow managed to find the Pantheon. What an amazing building. It has a massive dome (3rd largest in the world) which has a large hole in the top. It had been raining so we could see how this allows the water to flow straight onto the floor inside. The floor has been designed to drain the water away. Silence is requested inside the Pantheon, however most people seemed to be ignoring this. We wondered around and took some photographs before heading out into the cold night air again.

We made it back to our hotel room with the aim of getting on the internet for me to update this and for Ed to put his pictures up but I managed to pass out pretty quickly as the jet lag caught up with me! (I am now writing this on the 18th not the 17th!)

Posted by AndreaSchache 05:16 Archived in Italy Comments (4)

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