I left Paris feeling exceptionally sad but I was still looking forward to Rome. We landed there on a Friday in the middle of September. Once we exited the plane, the uncomfortable heat and humidity slapped us in the face.
Ofcourse our bags were the last to arrive and we had begun to wonder if they were lost. Luckily not! We headed to the buses and took a bus to Termini Station. From my first glimpse of Rome, I was not impressed and wondered where was all the magic of Rome. We took a taxi to our Hotel which was about 5 mins away from Termini. The hotel was average, spacious in European standards but the bathroom was miniscule. We decided to take a walk around and see what all the fuss was about Rome. The Barberini metro station was just up the road and the reason we booked the hotel.
We already knew the Trevi Fountain was undergoing maintenance but decided to take a walk anyway. Along the way we just stopped at an interesting restaurant to sample our first Italian dishes… They were OK but the Italian food back home in South Africa still seemed better to me *facepalm* We left, bought our gelato (which is the most divine thing I have ever tasted) and continued on our search of the fountain. There were about 3 signs to the fountain each in a different direction… Really not helpful, but anyway this is what we saw….
We continued just walking around exploring Rome till the evening by which time we crashed.
The next day we had breakfast which consisted of pastries and the most amazing cappuccino I had ever tasted. At Florence there was commotion people running everywhere and flashing screens with one word… DELAYED… It was a Train Strike, just our luck! We managed to catch a train to Pisa with not even a second thought of there being a train to get us back to Rome.
The next day it was time to tackle the Vatican and St Peter’s. We had pre booked the 4 hour tour with the Vatican Museum. We reached the museum and the queues were honestly out of this world, especially since it was a Saturday. Luckily we walked right past all the line, met our amazing tour guide and waited for everyone.
The tour is seriously worth it. Our tour guide Maggie was so knowledgeable and we learned so much of the behind scenes of the paintings and sculptures. Amazing, amazing amazing! A definite must do although extremely exhausting!
By the time you reach the St Peter’s part and the underground crypt you feel like collapsing especially with the epic heat… Actually one of the ladies did faint…
At the end of the tour we decided to go back to the Hotel and have a short break before we continued with Rome.
We stopped for some lunch and gelato and had a nap J
The afternoon we decided to tackle the Colosseum. We had purchased the 48 hour Roma Pass which made transport and entrance tremendously easy.
We long lines outside the Colosseum were skipped but once you are inside the crowds disappear into the vast size of the structure. Absolutely stunning!
After the Vatican and Colosseum we were too tired for anything except a choc milkshake made of Gelato. Wow now that was Dee-eee-lish!
The next morning it was time for a road trip. We had pre booked our tickets to Florence on from which we would be taking another train to Pisa. All we wanted to see was the leaning Tower.
We arrived in Pisa and followed Google Maps on foot to the Tower. What was supposed to be a 20 minute walk took about 40 mins.
Wow the Tower Is amazing! And really the day trip all the way to Pisa is worth it. It only takes about 2,5 hours anyway.
Walking through Pisa as opposed to taking the bus was really interesting. It was Sunday and everything was closed. The town is small and looked pretty uneventful to me.
We got back to the train station at Pisa only to discover after about an hour that all trains for the rest of the day had been cancelled… Yes the Train Stike which we didn’t take seriously.
We managed to get a taxi to Pisa airport, the caught the last bus to Florence. Ofcourse we had to meander the streets of Florence and eat gelato, as this is where it was invented!!?!? Finally got a train back to Rome… It was bed time after that ordeal as the next day was anoter road trip!
I had always wanted to visit Pompei and since we were going to be in Rome I knew we just had to! We bought our tickets to Naples at Termini. The trains are lovely, with little cabins. The scenery along the way is amazing. But, upon arriving in Naples I was kinda shocked at all the graffiti and dingy station to get to Pompei. We went to downstairs to the station and it was PACKED! The train comes in and you can barely breathe with people pushing and shoving to get on. You basically have to stand half way there (It takes about 45 mins), by that time you should find a seat.
On the way to Pompei you get to see Mt Vesuvius in the distance, it is gorgeous. We reached Pompei Scavi stop, I was so excited to finally be here! There was no queue to get. Make sure to take a map at the entrance and downlaod the Rick Steeves guide if youre not getting a guide. Pompei is fantastic! The history behind and the fact that it was covered in ash hundreds of years ago. Wow no words to explain how I felt visiting this place!
We explored Pompei till our feet ached and then made our way back to Rome. We had a rest and then made our way out into the Roman Streets. Rome is actually beautiful at night, so serene and full of history. We visited the Pantheon and looked for a nice restaurant for dinner.
We met a very entertaining Egyptian guy who was absolutely shocked that we were also from Africa. We had a lovely little dinner and outside on the street. Music was playing and people were dancing. That was the part of Rome I loved, not the day time madness.
We woke up the next day, shopped around on the streets and made our way to the airport. It was on to Switzerland 🙂