Sunday, 15 January 2012

Italy, Land of Pizza, Gelato and other cool stuff - Rome

Italy started off with a bang.  We reached Rome and had a great meal at a family run restaurant just beside our hostel.  The next morning, we got up very early to head to St. Peters Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.  However, the Vatican museum was closed for Epiphany so we walked back to the St. Peters and were lucky enough to beat the queue and see the Pope!  It was a pretty big affair, with tonnes of security, and a big crowd inside and out.  They had jumbo screens showing the Mass outside in the square.  The only weird part was when the Pope made his entrance, he was carried on a platform (like the ones in C. America in processions) and the crowd was clapping when he passed.  It was like he was a rock star or something.

(note.  I have no idea how to get colons or dashes or apostrophes on this Italian keyboard so pls bear with it). 

Afterwards, we walked around town for several hours, visiting Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and the main Corso del something which was a road closed off to cars (except busses), with thousands of people walking up and down the italian colour lit streets.  Despite the cold, we had a couple gelatos, with the gem of the night coming from Blue Ice Gelato shop.  The girl there gave me a huge cone with extra gelato.  Enough that Jaime commented on it afterwards.  Good thing we share.

Due to the cold weather and us realizing that 4 or 5 layers was still not enough for Jaime, one of our main missions was to find a proper winter jacket for her.  So half of our time in Rome was site seeing and eating and the other half was finding a coat that was warm, compactable, and fashionable.  Harder than you may think.  Ultimately, after walking up and down and up and down and up the Corso, we got the perfect jacket from Zara at a deal.

Our visit to Rome also included stops at the Colosseum, Palatine, Castle St. Angelo, and numerous gelato shops.  The Colosseum was awesome and something on my list (Chris) ever since coming to Italy 12 years ago and going to see it outside only.  Back then, we got hoodwinked into paying the fake gladiators 5 bucks to take a pic with them.  Thinking there wasn't much inside, we decided not to go in.  Something I hoped to change with this trip.   This time around, we marched straight to the front (no line ups - yay low season) and went in.  The audio guide was crap and said exactly what was on the signs.  Save your 5.5 Euros and just go in without.  OR pay 5 Euros each and get the live guide because ONLY with them, can you go to the wooden platform below and the under-area as well.  That would be worth it.  Absolutely amazing structure and incredible considering all the carnage and barbarianism practiced there at the height of such a creative and artistic period of one of history's greatest cultures.  Nowdays, I guess our equivalent is Jerry Springer or Reality TV.

Our friend, Colin (who we stayed with in Taiwan for a week) will be in Rome next week, so we are going to meet up with him again for round 2 and hit the Sistine Chapel for real this time.  Next up, Naples.

No comments:

Post a Comment