Ciao! Come sta?
We? Bene, grazie, and si, we are in Italia. And si, conosco solo alcune parole in italiano.
We have made it to Italy, our third milestone of our trip and now over half way. Having survived a 12hr train affair from Nice to Rome, our pre-booked accommodation right near Roma Termini (the main train station in Rome), unfortunately was not to the standard of the photos we saw online. Our first impressions of Italy were slipping as we were initially locked out with a Chinese family who at that stage were very frustrated. After calling the hotel to challenge the receptionist to say, ‘si, we had a booking’ (as she said to call back tomorrow); we then concurred the stairs (my mum’s suitcase was pretty heavy by the end of the day) to get to our room. Our expectations of a three star hotel turned into a less than three star hostel. Yay, for my mum’s first experience of a hostel – ha. At least we got clean sheets, towels and a sugar fest pre-packaged breakfast. With the lots of walking and carrying our luggage from train to train and up and down a gazillion stairs I probably need the carbs!
Nevertheless, we both crashed out that night and had an amazing sleep. O, the train trip was also an experience – coast, coast, and coastal views!
Roaming Rome was obviously on the cards for the next day. We had originally talked about organising a tour to see the many sites of Rome due to our minimal time. However, luckily we didn’t as our day unfolded quite unexpectedly spectacular.
We organised our train tickets for the Almalfi coast first up, as we have come to realise it is best to organise the next day the day before just in case of any random mishaps or change of events. After standing in line for what seemed to be forever, we got our tickets – now all very excited about the reality of uniting with Anna for Loretta and Jamie’s wedding in Positano. Though, feeling a little light headed, we scored our second amazing coffee (even the coffee on the train the day before was better than all our coffee experiences in France combined). Then found a bookstore with English books (as I’ve finished one and needed another – so, now reading about elevated speech, which is extremely interesting) – and, off we were to the Vatican City.
Anyway, on the way to the Vatican City, in Josey-style (my mum) we headhunted a cute pair of Italian shoes! So, we can tick that off our list and trust me, they are very Josey (my mum has so many pairs of shoes – one trait I didn’t seem to inherit, which is probably not a bad trait to not inherit).
Following the crowds and my sense of direction, in the heat of the day we lined up for the Vatican museum. Apparently the line was at least a quarter of what would normally be the case (another Mary and Grace moment!). Once inside we headed to the pizzeria for some energy food (yes, pizza does count), and then off to get an audio guide and randomly follow the many trails to the Sistine Chapel! Though, along the way I think I took at least a hundred photos of ceilings! To grasp the detail and scale of the Roman Catholic artifacts it’s ort to be seen to believe. Unbelievable, and here my mum thought giving your life to Christ was about living as a minimalist – well, that myth has been busted!
We must admit, the crowds were intense and when we could, we stood in front of windows, fans and sat on the tiled floors to cool down. It was so hot! Just before we got to the Sistine Chapel we downed a cold Schweppes (first soda in a very long time for me) as I am pretty sure I would have fainted without it. Anyway, we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel with hundreds of other people to score some seats on the side (other Mary and Grace moment) to just chill for a bit and take in the grand beauty. It was grander than we had ever expected, so we’ll leave it at that.
Next was St Peter’s Square (in between we got ripped off at a café and paid 12euros each for a gelati!), to be almighty stunned again. We walked around for a bit, took some selfies and then headed inside. Again, we’ll leave it at that, as it was so incredible (more incredible than the Sistine Chapel – well I think so).
After St Peter’s Square we walked to Castel Sant’Angelo, then jumped on a random bus only to randomly and quickly get off at Palazzo Venezia to race to the top of the stairs (on the side) to catch a sunset over Rome (wow!). Then headed to the Roman Forum to walk towards the Colosseum as the moon rose (I know!). Nothing else could have made the days’ events any better! We chilled for a bit (again) at the Colosseum to take in the immense aurora and then back on the metro to get to our hostel. If only we had packed a foot masseuse! I forgot to add that I found a print of my Beetle for 3euros!!
This takes us to the end of roaming Rome, as we just downed an espresso at Roma Termini (I had two), and now on the way to Napoli. The countryside is so amazing and can’t wait to spend the next four days along the Almalfi coast!
Being a coastal science communicator, after this trip I am sure I’ll be a hundred fold more inspired and passionate about everything coastal.
Stay tuned for an Almalfi coast update! Arrivederci!