Posted in travel

Rome, Italy with my Lady Friends (Part 1)

Because tonight I can’t stop looking at my travel photos, I decided to blog it up!.

I was three months pregnant when me and my friends went to see one of our Dream Destination country, Italy. We had a busy trip and went to different places. First things first, Rome was the first city we visited.

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We had an early flight to Fiumicino Airport,  and from there we hired a van to our rented flat, 35-40 minutes away. After a lot of talking and dealing with the price, the driver charged us €50 euros. Considering there were 4 adults, 2 children and loads of luggages, €50euros was such a good deal, compared to hiring 2 separate metered taxis. Other than hiring taxis to, and from the airport, we relied on public transport. Buses and train tickets are easy to get (ignore the long lines at times). For more details about the convenient public transport in Rome, you can check out Roometoolkit dot com. FYI, please read transport instruction before you go specially for first time travellers!. Every city has different instructions, so read and learn first. Never waste your money on taxis for sight seeing and going around. Personally, I would recommend using public transport or hop-on, hop-off tour buses. Expect a lot of walking as well, because tourist spots are mostly walking distance from each other, so walking and more walking is super highly likely!. Don’t be naive, wear your most convenient shoes! walking around Rome is so much fun!.

Another thing to keep in mind is to always be aware of your belongings, specially during peak season. Rome is totally jam-packed with tourists during high season. Locals have warned us to never leave our things unattended, pick pockets are pretending to be one of the tourists. So be aware all the time. Rome has so much to offer and too many good things to see, you might/will forget to watch over your shoulder.

Our rented self serving apartment was 10 minutes walk to the Vatican City, and the nearest train station. The owner was right outside the apartment waiting for our arrival. We arrived later than planned, due to a marathon happening that day (8.am-ish). He didn’t speak too much English, but definitely one of the best apartment owner I have ever encountered. The place was clean, friendly and very “homie”, in fact, we didn’t want to leave at all!. Claudio (the apartment owner) prepared us presents when we arrived! oh plus wine and nibbles! (can’t get any better than that!). We went to grocery, cooked our own food, and had unlimited of everything! (do I have to mention coffee?). We had to eat our lunch out, but breakfast and dinner were served at home (yep! so feeling at home).

FIRST DAY/ARRIVAL DAY:

After we got our things sorted, and fed our tummies, we headed to Vatican City right away. The cloudy and cold day news turned out sunny and bl👀dy warm!. I could say we almost fainted from roasting (imagine me and my friends wearing winterish outfits). See pic and feel free to laugh at our “fashion victims” moment.

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fist day in Rome!

 

We continued anyway like it was normal to wear coat under a warm sunshine. I was happy to see though that it wasn’t just us wearing the right outfit on a wrong day. The views made me forget I was roasting inside, I was definitely having fun while walking around. More of my amusement was when we reached the Via della Conciliazione street, otherwise known as the road to the St. Peters Basilica, wide and crowded, but the view of the big dome stands out!. Thanks goodness by the way!, everything went cooler as soon as we were inside the St. Peter’s Basilica.

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I tried my best to take a picture of the big Dome with fewer people as possible, it was actually busy that day.
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St. Peters Basilica grounds.
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Don’t forget to look up when you are there to check those bigger than life statues.

The Vatican City, is a must see place when in Rome. It doesn’t matter if your Catholic or not, religious or not, as long you you happen to be there, don’t miss it. The architecture and sculptures around the Basilica are magnificent!. The bigger than human sculptures on top of the buildings were astonishing.

As for me who grew up in a Catholic family, my main purpose of going there was to visit Saint Pope John Paul II’s graveyard (my favourite pope). Secondly to see some of Michelangelo’s many sculptures particularly the Pieta.

The first thing I found close to the entrance of the Holy Door was Michelangelo’s Pieta. Mother Mary holding her dead child Jesus in her arms was incredible. For a good few minutes I was like imagining Michelangelo putting it to shape, what was he thinking at that very moment? and how was he able to make something that went way down in history? how can someone be able to make such a perfect creation (what a genius!). It was almost hypnotising. I was the happiest when I finally saw it. The Pieta is the only sculpture Michelangelo signed himself, the rest of his works were left unsigned (intriguing eh).

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Pieta is covered in thick acrylic glass to avoid people going near it, and to prevent more destruction.

Next thing I looked for was Saint Pope John Paul II’s graveyard. I actually didn’t have to walk any further. If you are standing in front of the Pieta, Pope’s graveyard/chapel is on the left side. I can’t even describe the feelings I had as soon as I saw his name carved on the stone. It was a very touching moment, I was in tears, so as most of the visitors. Though I wasn’t able to see him alive, I’m glad at least I was able to pay tribute by visiting his grave site. Pope John Paul II will always be my favourite Pope, inspiration and a good example.

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Pope John Paul II

We also went to see the Vatican Grottoes where the tombs of the former popes are buried. Admission was free but taking pictures was not allowed. It is located at the basement on the right side of the Basilica. The Basilica itself is so big, we had to ask the securities where the grottoes is located.

Because we didn’t have enough time, we were not able to go inside the Sistine Chapel, I heard it has one of the best architectural designs and no one is allowed to take pictures for copyright purposes. The  place was almost closing after we toured around the St. Peters grounds. Sistine Chapel is one of many reasons why I should go back to Rome/Vatican City.

SECOND DAY:

As early as 6 in the morning we all started gettingt ready for our next sight seeing. We took the train to the Colosseum first. During the holiday season, no early hours is early enough for queuing. We arrived before 8 in the morning. It was too late for us already to get in line to buy tickets at the gate. So much earlier than 8 in the morning is needed to be the first in line. You could buy tickets at a shop close by, and go for the quick entry, but the very busy and crowded lines turned us off. Even if you have the fast entry ticket, during the peak season you still have to wait until other people comes out to prevent overcrowding inside. I failed to see one the most historic place of brutal gladiator fights, execution and sometimes a simple entertainment area during the medieval times. Buying tickets online is one of the best option (only buy tickets on reliable websites). I now have 2 of many reasons why I should go back to Rome!. Although we were not able to see the inside (so as many other tourists), the outside view of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum were more than beautiful enough to see. We had photos taken here there and everywhere!.

 

After the Colosseum, we headed to another world famous Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain). We had quiet a hard time looking for this place, and the signage that didn’t point to the right direction didn’t help either. There were beautiful sights along the way, one of which was the Sephora shop!. Girls being girls, we had a mini retail therapy. After we satisfied ourselves with girly stuff, we continued looking for the fountain!. Thanks to fellow tourists and the water sound coming from the fountain, we finally found it!. The fountain itself was surrounded by tall buildings, between the junction roads. As expected, the place was crowded but nonetheless, it still looks spectacular!. Have a go and see it yourself! it is so much prettier in person than in pictures and movies. And if you want to make a wish, they say use 3 copper coins? well theres nothing to loose (other than your coins). Don’t ask me what coin to use if you have no copper, coz I don’t know either!, I even forgot to make a wish myself when I was there. Anyways, I had so much fun looking at the fountain and loving it!. I could sit there all day watching the people go by, of course with my fave coffee in hand (I’d like to say coffee and a book, but I’m not a good reader).

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After I got captivated by the beautiful fountain, were back to walking again. We walk through the streets, until our feet took us to the Spanish steps, Piazza di Spagna, and the Trinita Dei Monti church. If you’re wondering where they all at, they’re all in one area. We took our time to appreciate the beauty of the place. Our mini travellers were having fun as well. If you love designer stuff and have much money to spare on shopping, this area is the place to be. Designer shops are everywhere, but no we didn’t shop, we just let our eyes droll and mouth water. While we were there, we took the opportunity to taste Italy’s famous ice cream! gelato. My personal verdict? don’t dare not try it!. Gelato is an ice cream only Italians know how to make it taste different from any other. By the way I have sweet tooth 🙂

The day passed by so quickly, we all got tired at the same time happy and contented. There was so much to see but not enough time. We only had two days in Rome so we made the most of it. Rome will always be one of my favourite travel destination. I like how friendly and happy the people were. I found Italians approachable and charming. And not to forget, foods were so yummy, a bit pricey, but you always get what you pay for. Try seafood spaghetti! yummylicious indeed!.

ON DAY 3:

The third day was for another City to see, we booked our fast train tickets online to head our way to Florence!!. We had so much fun as much as we had in Rome, but we went to different towns/cities while based in Florence, but its gonna be up on another blog, because I don’t want this blog to be too long.

P.S I consider this trip as me and my baby’s first trip abroad together! 💪🏼

Have fun! and I will be back to Rome one day! Cheeeeerssss! until next blog!.

 

 

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First time mommy at 36!

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