Can we just take a minute to breath in before we truly take in the beauty that you are about to see?
Okay. You officially think I’m crazy, right? But hey, when you come across the snaps I took below, you too will be in awe.
But before we do, let me give a quick intro…
I had an amazing birthday this year! My best friend and I decided to take a quick break from the hustle and bustle of our nerve-inducing med school timetables and explore one of the European cities in relatively close proximity. Brussels. Paris. The list went on. Finally we ended up falling in love with the beauty that is Rome. The weather was supposed to still be good this time of year. Stunning architecture. And gelato on every corner. We were sold.
Best choice for that time, I’d say. But I’ll leave you to decide on that one.
On another note, going away for even short breaks can be stressful so here’s a few things we did in order to alleviate some of the pressure:
- Get all parties to write down and research places they would like to go and things they would like to do before putting a itinerary together. It saves time for actually enjoying what’s in store and it allows everyone to feel involved.
- Make sure you have organised the itinerary in such a way you have a rough idea of the timings and that they are actually achievable. For example if you’re going to land the night before and have booked yourself in for a 6am tour the next morning, nine times out of ten, you’re probably not going have the energy to go.
- Research public transport links in the area, the frequency and of course the cost before you land. Where we were, I managed to come across the ROMA72hr travel pass which covers all modes of transport (except a shuttle bus to the airport) in a 72 hour period for only 18 euros. Considering how often we went on buses, with an average bus ride costing 1.50 euros, we saved a considerable amount. In regards to the routes, GOOGLE MAPS is your friend but I also found rome2rio.com extremely useful.
- Try your best to purchase tickets for where you plan to go online beforehand. For places including the Vatican museum and Sistine chapel expect lines that stretch miles with no exaggeration! Even though we went in the relatively low peak season it was great that we had already bought tickets that allowed us to skip the lines because visiting some of the sights would of have proven impossible.
- If you’re a student, most countries provide the International Student Identity Card that can help get you discounts on anything from KFC, theatre shows and even museums. Check out the website at https://www.isic.org/get-your-card/ to find out more information.
- Wherever you are staying don’t just pick a random B&B without researching it in depth. Tripadvisor is an excellent tool for seeing up to date reviews and photos taken by people who have actually stayed there. False advertising is not ideal when you expect 5 star level quality and come to a hotel that is sub par with your stay already paid for so please don’t forget this.
- Research free things you can do in the area because you may miss out on some gems. We actually went on two tours of Rome, each consisting of two hours of walking through the backstreets and the history behind what we explored. I actually came across this website http://www.romefreetour.com/ and I am extremely glad we went. It was extraordinary and the tour guides had such passion for the topics they were covering. (But I must stress, please wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking along the cobble streets, up and down stairs etc so wearing even flats you need to break in are not wise. Trust me, I know this from experience yet irrespective of the blisters it was well worth it LOL!!!)
Hope this helps 🙂
Now here’s what we got upto…
I had no intention of taking photos at the airport but if you know me I will always have a camera to hand if possible so I cannot promise that at all!
I must say that it was not easy dragging myself out of bed to get ready for such an early flight having only had just over an hour sleep but I guess a girl’s gotta do what what a girl’s gotta do.Thankfully it gave me the opportunity to view the sunrise thousands of miles up in the air so that’s a photo opportunity that I can never forget.
En route to the hotel…
It involved travelling from Rome Ciampino airport for about 30 minutes to Rome Terminal Station where we could than get the buses we needed to get to our hotel. Most of these pics were actually taken through the window but I think they’re still pretty good. 🙂
Time for dinner. Pasta it is!
After which we decided to have a walk round the Spanish steps and Via Condotti.
The next day began with a trip to St Peter’s Square as well as the Christmas tree lighting ceremony. The tree was 25m tall and beside it was a very detailed nativity scene with 17 statues dressed in traditional Maltese attire. The tree was adorned with handmade decorations based on the designs of terminally ill children in the area. This event was a beautiful and poignant celebration with an all male choir, Christmas hymns, performances from the Pontifical Swiss Guard band and speeches from various canons.
The Vatican tour began at 10am and we started the tour at the Spanish steps which led onto various other sights including the column of Marcus Aurelius, Pantheon, Piazza Navona, Castel Saint’Angelo, Saint Peter and Vatican square.
The 4pm tour also began at the Spanish steps but concluded outside the colosseum. It too was an interesting tour and allowed us to visualise the sights during the transition of day to night. It included a number of stops such as the Saint Andrew’s Church, Roman aqueduct, Trevi fountain, Roman forum and last but definitely not least the colosseum!
The Vatican museum and Sistine chapel is a place not for the faint of heart.With over a thousand rooms and over 9 miles of pieces it is one of the largest art collections in the world so you should be prepared to walk for a good few hours as you journey through the ancient, the medieval, the modern and then lastly the contemporary age.
To put this experience into one word. EXTRAORDINARY!!!
All in all, it was a lovely break away and I can see why it is such a photography haven. If you haven’t been and are contemplating a visit hopefully my post has persuaded you to give it a try!
Until next time 🙂