Here we have it folks, the final destination of the surviving Europe chronicles, Rome!
It was 6am Friday morning when we left Blamers hostel in Switzerland, half awake, dragging our luggage behind us across to the bus stop. We ended up at a different train station than the one we had arrived at. We took a train from there to Milan, Italy. Then another one from Milan into Rome. We got into Rome around 2:30pm that afternoon. Unlike the previous legs where we had to walk about 20 minutes to our hostels, Hotel Cherubini was conveniently located merely steps away from the train station. Our group leader got us all checked in and gave us a chance to freshen up before we met up for our orientation walk. The rooms were cozy but clean inside, I’d take that over more spacious and dirty any day!
Considering this was the least amount of time I was going to be spending in one destination, I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied with the number of things we accomplished in one afternoon/evening. The only thing I was disappointed about was missing out on the trip to the Vatican Saturday afternoon as a few of us had to head to the airport the next morning for our flights home. On the bright side, it gives me a reason to go back and spend more time in this beautiful city! What I have learned from this lesson is to book future departures in the evenings so that I can maximize my days spent on vacation rather than traveling!
On our orientation walk we passed by churches and many significant sculptures, including what I thought was the Trevi Fountain (the image in the center below). Please don’t judge me I blame the movie “When in Rome” which gave me the false depiction of what to expect! It was a circular fountain, outside of a church!
Other sightings included the Victor Emmanuel II Monument. Also, the Arch of Constantine which is similar to the Arch de Triomphe in Paris. It is located right next to the Colosseum. Apparently, it is the triumphal arch that the victors would pass through.
Before we got that point though, we passed a real-life Italian Genie in the streets. I spotted a fenced window where I noticed more love locks like in Paris where people attached locks with their names on them to symbolize sealing their eternal love.
Shorty after, we arrived at the Pantheon. If you plan to visit, please be mindful to wear modest clothing (that covers knees and shoulders) as you can be denied access if not dressed appropriately. It is a church after all, I was able to take a quiet stroll inside and capture a couple pictures of this ancient building.
Then finally, the main attraction I was looking forward to seeing the Trevi Fountain, the real one! It was incredible! Much bigger that I had imagined! It was so crowded around there, everyone trying to get a good picture of themselves with the fountain in the back ground. I was having a hard time getting a good picture of it, so I gave into one of the gentlemen that were there hassling tourist to take Polaroid pics for 8 Euros. Another guy has said 5 Euros, I told him I only had 3 Euros and he was kind enough to take one for us. I had to be mindful to have enough Euros left for dinner and for my train ticket back to the Airport in the morning.
Nearing the end of the orientation walk we came across the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. It was this squared off area that looked like ruins. This used to be the site of government and other important buildings. The sun started to set, and I captured a nice picture of it peering out from a church at the top of the hill. Right around the corner from there was the Colosseum, I also got part of the sunset with the Arch of Constantine in it.
The sunset marked that it was time to eat, so we headed to Grazie a Dio è Venerdì. The food there was very reasonably priced and delicious! I had the Lasagna Salmone, Zucchine e Bufala (Salmon lasagne with zucchini and buffalo mozzarella cheese).
The surprise of the night was after dinner the lights went out and the staff started singing “Happy Birthday”. They came out with 2 birthday cakes and placed them in front of me and the two other girls I was celebrating my birthday with that week. It was an awesome way to end the London to Rome adventure; but the party wasn’t done just yet….
After dinner we walked over to Yellowbar, it wasn’t too far from the restaurant. There we took in a performance by a live band. Now this, was a fantastic way to end the evening.
The next morning…
If you could hop on a plane right now, where would your next destination be? ✈️