[Disclaimer: These words are over a month old, I’m terrible at actually posting my blog posts on time]
Due to being a total cheapskate and always picking the cheapest flight regardless of inconvenience, my flight from Reykjavik to Rome included almost an entire day in Dusseldorf airport. I went to Starbucks, bought a chai latte and then didn’t move away from my power socket for about 8 hours. I had to spoof my mac address to continually get free 30 minute wifi sessions. Not a particularly interesting day of my trip.
The next day I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I took off most of the day to recuperate. I finally roused myself and headed into the heart of town for a walking tour at 4pm. This turned out to be one of the least good walking tours I’ve done, but it was still a good way to get my bearings. We started at the Spanish Steps went past (amongst other things) the Trevi Fountain and ended up at the Colosseum. All places I would later revisit to explore on my own time
I had received a tip from a friend that I should go see the Trevi Fountain at night; so I ate some pizza and wandered around the city until it got dark and I could go back to the fountain. I did the thing where you toss money into the water. I think I even did a second coin just to be completely sure I was getting my good luck or true love or whatever.
The next day the Pope was speaking at St. Peters Square at 9am. I had good intentions to get up early and go say hi, but unfortunately I was still a bit sick and only arrived a couple of hours later. I did still spend the day at the Vatican though. After getting satisfying my self with the square of Peter, I went to visit his Basilica. Which was… impressive. REALLY impressive. Okay Pete, we get it, you have a lot of money for basilicas, jeez.
I also went up to the top of the dome, which aside from offering the luxury of getting sweaty with a bunch of other tourists in cramped stairwells, also afforded me fantastic panoramic views of the city. Much recommended.
To complete my tour of pretty much all publicly accessible spaces in the Vatican I then went to the Vatican museum which is also home to the relatively underwhelming Sistine Chapel. The museum is pretty decent, especially the long corridors on the way to the chapel. But aside from that it’s all just more religious stuff, which I’m really quite bored of by now. The most interesting part was probably the garage, which had all of the carriages and armoured cars that have carried the Popes around. Also, despite deliberately going late; the museum was still super crowded. I guess this is what you get if you go to Italy in peak tourist season.
My final stop for the day would be Castel Sant’Angelo. I reluctantly forked out the cash to go inside, but it turned out to be really worth it. The castle is full of cool rooms and awesome views of Rome. After that I watched some football, and then slept.
Finally feeling 100% again, I decided to make the next day a big one. I spent the morning wandering around the middle of the city checking out all the famous churches, plazas and other attractions. There’s a lot of stuff clustered in the middle of Rome. You can hardly go around a corner without coming across something impressive. It was really fun.
After lunch I headed to the Piazza Venezia, an absurdly large Victorian monument lovingly referred to as the typewriter. After visiting the Piazza Venezia and Campidoglio I walked all the way around the Circus Maximus to Palatino Hill.
Palatino Hill is part of the ruins of the old Roman forum, a vast archaeological site that you could easily spend a day more exploring. I spent a couple of hours exploring and that was enough for me.
Finally, I went inside the Colosseum. It’s far more interesting to think of the Colosseum in terms of what is WAS (a kind of ancient sports stadium), than what it is now. As it stands, it’s a lot more impressive from the outside than the inside.
Rome was pretty great, it reminded me a lot of Paris, what with being a big historical European capital with more attractions than you could ever hope to tick off. Fun place to be a tourist though.