We managed to find a train that would take us straight from Salerno to Rome, which was fantastic (that is after we made it through the horrendous bus ride from Amalfi to Salerno!). We decided to make a seat reservation and thank-fully we did as the train was packed – a seat makes the 3-hour journey a lot more bearable!
It was nice turning up to Rome and knowing exactly where to go since we had organized to stay at the same B&B. This time since we were arriving at a reasonable time we walked the 2.2kms there. Once we got there, we dumped our bags and headed out straight away to find a supermarket to get supplies. We remembered from our previous experience in Rome how easy it is to drain money in Italy’s capital!! Unfortunately our B&B didn’t really have an equipped kitchen so it limited what we could buy. However we shopped well – for 11 Euro we managed to have enough for 2 nights dinner and lunch for 1 day.
After the 5km round trip to the supermarket we settled in for an early night since I was coming down with some sort of cold. Soup, skype and you guessed it – Gladiator, the movie… it just had to be done! We also booked our onward travel after Rome, so we didn’t have to worry about it for the remainder of our stay.
We had 2 full days to explore what we didn’t manage to see the first time round in Rome. Our first day was spent walking ALL OVER the city – it was great but I have to admit my cold kicked in pretty bad and I was home in bed by about 5pm! The day was awesome though, another one of Morgan’s legendary walking tours, here’s what we saw…
We made our way down past the Colosseum (it’s one of those things you don’t get bored of seeing – especially if you watched Russell Crowe fight in there just the night before), on to the Piazza Venezia, which is home to a massive white building with chariot statues atop of it. It really is magnificent, however the purpose of the building escapes my mind right now – some sort of cultural department, but I may be wrong. Next we walked down past the Area Sacra Argentina, which is home to a lot of ruins that they are still working on to uncover. It also has a high cat population!
Afterwards we hit the Campo de’Fiori – used for centuries as a site of public execution however today it is a huge open air market selling everything from t-shirts to spices to Italian coffee makers. By this time we were working up an appetite so we stopped at the Piazza D. Chiesa Nuova to snack on one of our homemade sandwiches. Afterwards we walked across the Pont Vittorio Emanuele ii bridge towards the Castle Saint Angelo – we didn’t spend a lot of time here, as the peddlers were everywhere selling their crap. Next up just past the castle was the Palazzo Di Giustizia with its magnificent exterior towering over us. We then crossed back across the Tevere River to go and get some of the ‘best coffee in Italy’ according to our B&B host at Café Saint Eustachio in the Piazza Eustachio and it was truly the best espresso I have had to date!
We followed up our energy boost by visiting the famous Pantheon – by the way it is free to enter so we actually went in! And it was pretty amazing! Next up was my favourite site of the day, the Trevi Fountain – the most magnificent fountain I have ever seen with Neptune’s chariots and sea horses amongst the rippling waves. We sat down here to have another sandwich and I also had to do the traditional – throw a coin over the shoulder – to ensure my return to Rome someday ? We then passed by the Spanish Steps which were pretty un-amazing. Afterwards we were pretty stuffed so we made our way back towards home, stopping off of course at the oldest gelato factory in Italy – Fassi Gelatoria. Fantastic value for money and I have to say the lemon gelato is truly the best I have had in Italy (and I have tried a few!!).
The short walk from the Gelatoria back to the B&B was surprisingly eventful as a BMW pulled up beside us and a guy showed Morgan a police ID and preceded to ask him for identification. We weren’t sure if it was a hoax or what, but after we said our passports were at the hotel they just drove off. Hmmm… Morgan just has one of those faces I guess! It was another early night as I was completely exhausted from sneezing and sniffling my way through the day.
Day 2 we dedicated to the Vatican City – the smallest sovereign state in the world by the way. It was a bit of a hike from our B&B but we decided we were going to shout ourselves a nice lunch out today so the walk was going to be needed. The Pope’s city was pretty spectacular – we decided we didn’t need to go in the Basilica however the Vatican Museum was a must. 15 Euro each but it was worth it and we made sure we had budgeted it in to our allowance for Rome. The artwork was mind-blowing, absolutely gorgeous and of course the highlight of the museum was the beautiful Sistine Chapel built in 1484. It was awe-inspiring to see the infamous ‘Genesis’ painted by Michelangelo. Of course like all good things in Europe, you weren’t allowed to take any photos. However like Morgan and I keep saying, we can always go to Thailand and get whatever we want painted on canvas there, they may not be as good but are a lot cheaper than a gift shop rip-off.
That was pretty much our day. After the Vatican we found a little red and white checkered table cloth restaurant down one of the little alleyways for lunch where we had bruschetta, ravioli, spaghetti cabonara and of course 1 liter of the red house wine. It was the most delicious lunch and for 25 Euro we were both brimming afterwards. We slowly strolled back to the B&B, stopping of course for one last Roman gelato on the way.
As the story goes, it was time to pack up our things and prepare for the next step on our epic journey through Europe… it’s still hard to believe that we left Dubai over 5 months ago and we have about 2 months left.