All roads lead to Rome…
After only a few hours sleep and some frantic packing we made it to stansted airport where we flew good old ryanair to Rome (Ciampino). Our hostel was just around the corner from the main train station ‘Termini’. Great location…not great hostel!! Even though I had emailed a week before telling them we wanted to cancel the last night there, when we got there they said they didn’t receive it and made us pay for the night we were not going to be there! ‘We get hundreds of emails, I can’t read them all’, he said…!!! I think it is the only place in the world that won’t let you change your booking he was going to charge us more for 2 nights then if we just kept our original 3 night accommodation. And the freezing cold showers didn’t make us feel any better about the place either! Grrrr.
Our friend Erin met us in Rome and we spent our first day exploring the Colosseum. It took us about half an hour to decide if we wanted to do a guided tour, but we’re glad we did. Our guide was pretty funny and we learnt lots of interesting facts about the history and lives of the Romans. e.g. did you know in Roman numeral for 4 is actually IIII not IV, take a look at your watch. Also the woman were not allowed to sit or use the toilets, they had to stand only on the top layer of the Colosseum and they used to use poo bags and just throw them over the edge, over the crowds below trying to get in!
After this we had some pizza and headed back to the hostel for a siesta! Later that night we went exploring the ancient streets. We eventually found this cute little restaurant where we decided to have my birthday dinner!! After filling up on pizza and pasta, our waiter Franco and Chris schemed to bring out a dessert with a candle for me! After some embarrassing renditions of ‘happy birthday to you…’ Franco came back with some champagne and 3 roses for me. I felt so loved and grown up!!!
The next morning it was up early (not as early as expected though because our watches were still on London time) we headed into the Vatican City for Pope day! Instead of going in and standing with the crowds waiting to hear from the Pope we went behind to the museums and Sistine Chapel to beat the crowds. It was mind blowing. We stared at paints, sculptures and ceilings until our eyes bled and our feet ached! The Sistine Chapel is all you’ve imagined and more, Michelangelo is the mind blowing!
We then headed into Piazza Novella, where in ancient days there used to be a big man made pool for boat races. Now there is a cafe lined oval filled with street artists and 3 fountains. Sight seeing is quite tiring work…so we headed back to the hostel for some respite. After dark we went out ot the Spanish Steps and walked around there and ate gellati. Every corner of Rome has something interesting. Even in little obscure little side streets you’ll find amazing buildings and sculptures.