On day four, we said our goodbyes to Meghan and began our journey to Rome. The journey consisted of a train, shuttle bus, airplane, second shuttle bus, and the metro in Rome. Not nearly as expensive, exhausting, or long as it sounds. We made it through another Ryanair experience…2 down, 5 to go. The Ryanair’s portion of the airport in Marseille was literally like a converted warehouse, but we appreciated the ease that accompanied a bitty airport. Travel-wise, everything went smoothly other than a litttttle trouble finding our first shuttle bus and navigating the streets to our Bed and Breakfast. When we landed at the airport, the sun was shining and it was definitely too warm for the sweatshirt and coat I was wearing (so I didn’t have to cram them in my bag.) Those came off really quickly and we were safe and sound in our B&B/hotel/hostel by 8:30 pm. The owner was awaiting our arrival and explained to us (very quickly) how to unlock the 3 doors that stood between outside and our room. Very secure! We settled in a bit and headed out to find dinner. We stopped at a restaurant a few blocks away and I ended up having gnocchi marinara. It was delicious. There was a bit of a language barrier, but we all got what we wanted…and we were introduced to the fact that Italian restaurants don’t offer free water, just still or sparkling. Then we headed back to bed so we could be up early the next day!
Friday was our first full day exploring the city of Rome and it was absolutely gorgeous. We started our day off with a free croissant breakfast at our B&B and headed out.. We took the metro to Vatican City where we began at the Vatican museum. We concluded that it was an overload of art. I still haven’t processed all of the time and money that went into all of the paintings, sculptures, and fabrics. Indescribable. We then saw the Sistine Chapel where the guards shushed the crowds and yelled “Silencio!” Everyone was rushed through there. Afterwards we went to a place nearby for some Italian pizza of course and it was great! We followed that up with a trip to St. Peter’s Basilica (what you think of when you think of Vatican City). We ventured around the square, used the free drinking fountains, and eventually lined up to go in the church. We waited to see what it cost to go up to the top before deciding, but after seeing that it was 5 euro to walk it, we were in. Paid for our ticket and began our long journey upwards. Over 500 actual stairs…atleast 1000 walking steps. If I was claustrophobic the winding stairs and slanted walls toward the top would have done me in, so I’m very thankful I’m not because when we finally reached the top, the view was absolutely amazing. Insanely awesome experience and the weather was fantastic. After we made our way back down (including winding stairs like the Blarney Castle), we made our way to the Spanish Steps. Sat around for a bit, a million men tried to sell us stuff. Literally every few minutes. Then we headed to the Trevi fountain where we made a wish, got some gelato, and enjoyed the evening in front of the fountain. We made it back to our B&B and bought some dinner right across the street to bring back with us. It was a very successful and beautiful day.
Today was day 6 and our last day in Roma. We will be leaving at 8 am for our next destination.Today we met up with two of our very best friends from Cork, Julie and Hayley. We didn’t even know they were going to be in Rome until last night. So that was an awesome surprise! We met them at the Colosseum around 10:30 and began our day there! It was literally over 70 degrees and sunny, so a beautiful day once again. Afterwards we stumbled our way around to a high point of the city that presented us with a wonderful and free aerial view of the ancient ruins (which would have been an additional 7.50 on top of the Colosseum), so that was perfect! Then we wandered our way past Roma Capitale, some more magnificent buildings, and eventually to a little pizzeria where we bought pizza slices by weight. I had broccoli and sausage, which had no real sauce and was great! I had it again for dinner from a different stand. After lunch we went to the Trevi Fountain again (this time it was day time and sunny) and we had some more gelato from the best place according to Hayley. Next was the Pantheon and a few more indescribable churches. We ended the evening walking around a square of vendors selling and painting artwork. Pretty awesome. We said our goodbyes, headed back to our B&B to literally rest our feet, went and got a late dinner across the street, and made one last trip to the Colosseum to see it at night. It was wonderful Saturday!
Overall Rome was a great experience. You would not believe the number of men who try to sell you everything from sunglasses to magnets to roses. When you’re in a touristy area (which is much of Rome), they literally attack. We quickly got both annoyed, and accustomed to saying no and not slowing down one bit, but it made me sad to think that these are their lives…probably because they have no other choice when it comes to making money. I am surprised that Rome has no laws againt their ability to sell in the streets, because their persistence takes away from the experience. Other than the vendors, the pizza and gelato were as amazing as the rumors claim them to be and all of the sites were incredible to see. We had a wonderful time in Italy!