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When in Rome...

Written on: Wednesday May 7th, 2008

A journal entry from: Around the World in 80 Days!

Day 48 - Rome, Italy - distance travelled 37,970 kms

Bonjourno! Our first stop in Italy has been a memorable one.  After feeling a bit homesick in Athens it was nice to get out on the road again and get our travelling legs back under us.

We arrived on Sunday and had a little easier time finding our hostel than in Athens, considering the entrance is virtually a hole in the wall.  Our hostel is nice, first dorm style room we've checked into and we found ourselves in the unofficial 'Canadian' room.  There are actually quite a few Canadians in the hostel and we've had a good time meeting everyone.

We spent the first day just walking around the city and getting ourselves orientated.  It was a nice day to walk around as many of the streets were blocked off to vehicles around the Colosseum and many of the other archeological sites as it was a Sunday.

We set out to the Colosseum our first day making sure to get there early.  We heard stories of waiting in line for ages so we wanted to beat the rush.  We also sprung for a guided tour so that proved to be well worth it and quite informative... apparently the movie Gladiator isn't entirerly correct in its representation.  We were also glad we got there early because it started to rain later in the day.  We wanted to head into a museum and spend the rest of our day inside but all of the museums are closed Mondays.  So we ended up buying a ridiculously overpriced yellow umbrella from a street vendor and walking to the Pantheon.

Our second day was dedicated to the Vatican.  Again we made sure to get there early as the lineup getting into the Vatican Museums wraps around the block... something the movie Eurotrip did make an accurate portrayal of.  We didn't see the entire collection as that would have consumed our entire day but we made sure to see their major exhibits and the Sistine Chapel.  Afterwards we left to stand in another line entering St. Peter's Basilica... equally as long but moved a lot faster.  After walking through St. Peter's we got in another queue to climb up the cupola, 5 euros to walk up then back down 551 steps.  Especially difficult once you reach the dome accent... pictures can only describe... the final 20 or so steps were a combination spiral staircase / rope ladder.  On our walk back to the metro we took the scenic route and walked around Castel Sant'Angelo, Ara Pacis, and finishing our walk at the Spanish Steps.  We went out for dinner with a bunch of people from our hostel and ended up having a pretty good night.  We're not in as much of a tourist area as we were in Athens so we had some fun butchering the Italian language and ordering our meals.  It was a few people's final night in Europe so 1 or 2 too many bottles of were ordered.

Our final full day, today, was spent walking through a few museums and just enjoying being in Rome (after sleeping in slightly).  We had purchased a 3-day 'Roma Pass' that gave us unlimited transit as well as free admission to our first 2 sites... somehow our passes weren't scanning properly so we managed to get into every site for free!

We leave bright and early tomorrow... planning on going to Florence through Pisa.  This will be our first time on the train in Europe so we hope things go smoothly.

We'll be sure to blog again soon...

-Matt & Leslie

... we have too many pictures to post, so the extended slideshow will have to wait till we get home!


From Stine :) on May 8th, 2008

All of the pictures look fantastic!! I'm so jealous! Keep on truckin'! Travel safely...look forward to seeing you in June! Love ya!