Thursday, April 28, 2011

When in Rome. . .

When we arrived at Athens airport to check in our luggage, we were given a Boarding Pass that said our flight was leaving from Gate B07, so off we trotted to said gate in preparation for loading. Only to discover that the plane boarding at that gate was going to Paris. . . Shelley and I didn't really mind as we have said we would like to go back to Paris, but we were a little worried about our accommodation. Turns out we were meant to be at B03, which thankfully they figured out in time to make an announcement about! However, whatever gate we were on, it didn't really matter as, in true Easy Jet style, the plane was late!! We were meant to be leaving at 10.50am and we didn't even get on the plane until 11!! We eventually did get on the plane however and after a small hop we landed in Roma!! We rushed off to pick up our luggage and attempt to find the bus that would take us into the city centre, we needn't have bothered. We could have walked to the baggage claim, we could have crawled to the baggage claim, hell we could have skipped twice around the whole airport before going to the baggage claim and still have beaten our luggage!!
Anyway, our luggage eventually arrived (and actually our luggage, because in spite of Shelley telling me to just grab a pack, any pack it doesn't matter which one, I waited for ours to arrive) and went off in search of a bus to the city centre.

We found the hostel very easily as it was only a 200 metre walk from where the bus dropped us off, we checked in and then crashed out for a couple of hours as we had been up since 6am.

After we awoke we went for a bit of an explore around our area which is what we normally do on our first day in a new city. We got a bit hungry and decided to stop somewhere for dinner. We went to this really cute looking restaurant called De Famiglia (The Family) where we ate Salad, Pizza and Tiramisu (mmmm, tiramisu). The waiter was VERY interested in Shelley and kept trying to persuade her to go dancing with him later. He even gave her his number and told her to call him at 11.30 which is when he was finishing work. As Italy is a Catholic country, Shelley and I are generally quite circumspect when in public together, but she was still wearing her wedding ring and I did point out she could have invented a fake husband. . .Anyway, dinner was very lovely however when we asked for the cheque we got told 'no' as our waiter didn't want to let Shelley go. We started to have visions about what 'The Family' might do to us if we insulted them. . .Eventually the cheque came, we paid and left with Shelley firmly saying that we were not going back to that restaurant again, not only would we not visit that restaurant again but we would also not go down the street that the restaurant was located on for the rest of our stay!

The hostel we were staying at had a deal with a bar next door called 'Living Room' that meant we could drink there for €3 so we spent our evening in there drinking while a. . .foo. . . .foot. . .football (?) match was on, it looked a lot like soccer to us. We met a couple of Americans who were about to visit Auckland for a couple of days so we gave them some tips on what to do while they were there and around midnightish we crawled up to our dorm and crashed out. Our alarm was set for an early wake up as breakfast was from 7.30-9.30 but um, well, it sorta didn't happen. . .

When we finally did wake up, I have to admit I felt pretty guilty about sleeping the day away in the great city of Roma so we got up and left on our first adventure pretty quickly as we had discovered the night before, we had arrived in time for the last day of the Rome Cultural Week. Now you may be thinking, 'thats nice but what has that got to do with the price of fish'? well it meant that lots of places had no admission charge all day. This also meant that lots of people were also taking advantage of this fact. The first place we visited was just 5 minutes from our hostel. Terme di Diocleziano is a large museum built on one of the ancient bath sites for the Roman Emperors back in the day. There were very lovely gardens attached and the museum was fill of all the artifacts that had been excavated in the area. The buildings themselves were also very impressive.

There always comes a point when visiting museums when, you either can't read the info on the artifacts as it is not in your language or, you think if you read anymore museum-wank your head will explode. In these cases I always take to making up my own explanations for things. These I explained to Amber are primitive smurf houses - before they moved into the modern mushroom!

So there were these carved stone heads included in the outside scenery. The explanation for them was that they were commissioned by some emperor and at some point would have been hung on the wall, however my theory is that the placement of them now (they are sticking up out of hedges) is to freak the hell out of all all the tourists who don't immediately see them until they are right in front of them and then get a bit of a surprise. (I think there is probably a little man in a booth somewhere watching on CCTV for amusement value).

Another pretty common feature in Rome was what Amber and I refer to as water features since our Barcelona trip.

The next place we visited turned out to be a church. We didn't realise it was a church until we got there and, as it was a Sunday and not visiting churches on Sundays is a rule for us, we didn't stay long. Then it was onto a bus and across the bridge to a place called Castel Sant Angelo (castle of angels) It was at this point that we found all the other tourists in the city. We ended up standing in line for about an hour. It was originally built as a tomb for the emperors but then some popes came along and decided that it should be a fortress instead. So they moved all the emperors out and installed some cannons. I'm not too sure where they put the emperors, but it is probably not really so important. The main structure of the castle is included in the city walls and it has a awesome view. Oh and it also has a couple of angels.

This is a photo of the Castel Sant Angelo, those dots at the bottom of it is the line of people not ants.

This is the bridge that we crossed.

These are of the view from the top.

After we got done there, we decided that rather than get back on a bus which reminded me of a London tube at rush hour, we would take a walk and check out some other places on our map that I couldn't really pronounce. Lots of them were water features. One place we ended up was Trevi Fountain. There is a custom that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder with your back turned to the fountain you will return to Rome one day, so this is a pretty popular place with the tourists and it was swarming. The fountain was beautiful with very clear water which must be filtered to keep it that way as most of the other water features we saw were no where that clean!

At some time around leaving Trevi Fountain we discovered that it was 7pm and therefore decided that we would walk home. At this point we had walked pretty much round the whole city so we figured that it wouldn't be too much effort to walk back . We stopped at the bar downstairs for a well earned glass of wine and discovered that they did free pasta for the guests at the hostel we were staying at. It was good pasta too. Anyway that was our first epic day.


Anonymous said...

When in rome eh!!!! PSMF

Anonymous said...