Rome under RainThe Panthenon, when it rains the water falls through the roof and collects onto the floor. A sight worth walking around in the rain to see.The most disappointment I felt in Rome – the Trevi fountain gated, void of water, and covered in scaffolding.Chestnuts roasting on an open fire….The Spanish Steps – you could barely see them under the crowds…and the scaffolding.
I was the last of my Intrepid Travel group in Rome, after the rain stopped I went back to the Colosseum and traded cameras with two honeymooners for a few photosWorld Cup fever has started all over Rome.A New York themed bar – the Yellow down the street from our first hotel, 3* Hotel Stella3* Hotel Rimini – a stones throw from Termini Station and the express bus to Fiumicino Airport.Nazzareno – saying goodbye to the lovely Rose, my fellow Canadian traveler over lasagna and roasted eggplantA double rainbow after a crazy lightning storm – from my fifth floor terrace at Hotel RiminiVatican City, mind-blowing.Consecrated in 1620, with Michelangelo being among it’s architects. St Peter’s Basilica is a masterpiece.
There are many things the Italian’s do right. When your heritage and architecture can be traced back thousands of years it is no surprise everyday life is impeccably wonderful. Among these tricks are perfectly poured cups of caffè which in Canada we fondly refer to espresso (the weaker, watery sister). In Venice it was spritz. In Gubbio – gelato. In Assisi, wild boar pappardelle pasta. In Spello – olive oil and wines from the surrounding mountainside bursting with flavor. In Rome, there is aggressive – tactful – driving. You step into traffic, cars simply move around you. Stop where you are walking, continue moving where you are not. 21st Century Romans have perfected cars and humans co-inhabiting roadways, and I love it.
Rome is a city that greatly reminds me of New York. It is bursting at the seams with every cuisine and nationality you could possibly imagine. So much diversity, yet so much history and phenomenal architecture. I only spent two days in Rome and it was not enough time to go into any major museum or see anything in depth – but the highlights were wonderful. Our Intrepid leader, Massimo, took us on a full speed introduction walk that allowed us to see everything quintessentially Rome. On my second day, I woke up at 6:30AM to see my roommate on her way back to Australia (tears) and then took the M train to the Vatican with some remaining members of our group. We did a full look around the basilica, again being completely blown away by the singing. The highlight of Rome for me was climbing to the top of the dome. It was a winding staircase, about two feet wide more narrow on one side so you had to keep your shoulders hunched and walk slightly sideways. A claustrophobia’s nightmare. The view from the top was worth the 500 or so odd steps. Full 360 degrees of Rome, old and new. The main basilica was free (although the lines for security were so long even at 7:00AM – give yourself plenty of time) and the dome was 7 EUR. If you go here, put this at the top of your list.
On traveling alone. I say I traveled alone, which is true. I left Canada by myself. Devoured macarons from Ladurée in Paris – still alone. Spent a day in Venice walking everywhere and eating penne drowned in pine nuts, basil, olive oil and Parmesan washed down with multiple glasses of wine followed by afternoon spritz and chatting with a few other travelers from the US, Canada and England. Once I met up with my group of fellow Italy enthusiasts I felt from day one that I was among people I had known for years. Traveling “alone” was eye-opening, I learned so much about myself and for the first time in my life felt true independence. I can honestly say Italy with Intrepid was absolutely one of the best vacations of my life.