3.7 Rome

We were in Rome for three days, staying at one of the best party hostels in the city. The fact that our hostel literally has a night club in the basement didn’t really help us have as many early starts as we would have liked, but we still saw a massive amount of the city. We made a financial decision not to buy a metro pass and I must have walked the length of Rome at least six times. We went to the Colosseum on our first day. You can actually buy a combined ticket for the Colosseum, the Roman forum (the ruins of the old forum which was Rome’s meeting/market place) and Palatine Hill, and *pro-tip* you should buy this ticket at the forum where the queue is much shorter and then you can skip the queue at the Colosseum. Feeling pretty jammy, we did this, and, thanks to the fact of my being not quite eighteen, we got in for next to nothing. The forum is a huge area where you can see the ruins of ancient Rom e’s most important buildings, and the remains of columns and statues, including those that mark the spot where Julius Caesar was cremated. Our guide book had a detailed map and I gave Emily a mini guided tour by reading out the facts and adding my own imagined anecdotes. Paid tours may be more factually accurate, but I bet none of the other tour guides divulged the juicy gossip on Caesar and his many hilarious friends… I particularly liked the Colosseum, it’s such an iconic structure and the architecture is really quite profoundly good.

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On the same day we went to see the Trevi fountain and the Spanish steps. The Trevi fountain was very busy (and apparently It’s frowned upon to put your feet in it?) but we threw in our five cent coins (because otherwise you’re just wasting good gelato money) and made our wish to return to Rome one day. it was so cool to actually see something that I’ve been hearing about for so long! I have to admit that I wasn’t actually that psyched to go and visit the Vatican. Apparently you don’t even get to meet the Pope unless you fax him in advance and quite frankly who owns a fax machine anymore? The museum holds plenty of impressive and amazing things, and also lots and lots of things that the Italians shamelessly stole from the Egyptians. It was super busy and I got a bit tired of all of the tour groups pushing and shoving, more interested in the cafe than in Raphael’s timeless genius, or the religous sanctity of the chapels. I actually feel that the Catholic church have kinda sold out. They are making a lot of money from the museum and the chapel, but when is a church not a church? When there’s a gift shop in it. Even the fact that out of respect for the holiness of the Sistine chapel, you must wear long sleeves and long trousers, is sort of ruined because it coincides with the fact that the Vatican museum gift shop sells long-sleeved t-shirts.   I have a lot of thoughts on this subject which aren’t necessarily relevant to this post, but none of that can overshadow the beautiful paintings and sculptures which are all over the Vatican. I really enjoyed seeing it all. We took another slightly cheeky short cut by pretending to be part of a guided tour and managed to get into St Peter’s without having to queue. Again, it was so beautiful, I especially loved the domes, and I wouldn’t have wanted to leave Rome without seeing it.

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Emily and I have actually tried to quit eating Gelato but we were so efficient today we actually had free time, and we wanted to walk to la Bocca della Verita, so we had to have a little. It’s so addictive, I need to stop. We also managed to squeeze in a trip to the Pantheon and a number of the other famous and not-so-famous piazzas. We have met so many people in Rome, mainly because we are in such a sociable hostel, and we have definitely picked up lots of advice (such as the queue jump tip) which has been super helpful, and even horrible antisocial people like myself like chatting to new faces occasionally. From now on, we happen to be staying in private rooms for one reason or another, and although I will miss the fun element of being in a bedroom with lots of guys and gals you only just met (free stuff, conversation, and a massive discount for staying in a twenty-two bed mixed dorm), I will not be sad to bid farewell to my promiscuous room mates, mystery mattress stains, or shared showers filled with strange debris that you don’t even want to look at, let alone touch. I definitely can’t wait to get to a fast internet connection! These few photos took so long to upload the people queuing behind me are about to lynch me, but if I get away, me and Emily will be leaving for Bologna bright and early tomorrow morning.

MTG, PV xo

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