• Day9

    Rome 8th - 10th May

    May 9, 2018 in Italy ⋅ 🌙 15 °C

    We aren't having much luck with sleeping lately. Our apartment is on the 4th floor yet it still sounds like you are sleeping in the middle of the m5! The Italians feel it necessary to beep their horns at each other constantly. The moment one car beeps it encourages them to all join in and before you know it they are playing you a tune (not a very nice one, especially when you are trying to sleep). However I understand why they feel the need to beep as they all think they are F1 drivers going in multiple directions, ignoring all traffic signals... It's chaos 😂

    We were up at 8am today and on the tube by 9 on our way to our first attraction, the colosseum. Stepping out of the train station and seeing it for the first time is pretty surreal and you have to almost pinch yourself that your actually there. There were so many people around to help you know where you were going and we bumped into a very helpful man who said we could upgrade our tickets we already had for a bit extra to have a guided tour and enter the colosseum via a special entrance taking you straight out into the arena. By doing this we skipped all the queues and learnt a lot about the history of the place with the most energetic and engaging tour guide I've ever met. She was also English which helped!

    The colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built and construction began in 72 AD finishing in 80 AD when Titus was in power, however further modifications have been made since. It could hold between 50,000 to 80,000 people and was used for many things such as gladiator battles, recreating mythology, execution of criminals and re-enactments of famous battles. One thing that stuck in our heads from our tour guide was that the colosseum was not just a place of murder and death it was in fact entertainment which is very hard to get your head around in the present. Around the outside of the colosseum is a white line showing where once upon a time the walls came out to, however an earthquake had caused damage to the building and then robbers came along and nicked a lot of the fallen stone.

    Once out of the colosseum it was then onto the second part of our tour where we met another enthusiastic tour guide who made jokes throughout his tour which were terrible but actually by the end you found him funny. He showed us around Palatine Hill which is one of the most ancient parts of the city standing 40 metres above the Roman Forum. The Romans built palaces on this hill. We learnt that back in the Roman period if you were seen to be wealthy then the people of Rome would hate you and most likely you would be killed therefore early emperors did not want to show their wealth and so built smaller palaces on the hills. Whilst walking up the hill you pass the arch of Constantine which is a triumphal arch erected to commemorate a Roman victory. If you walk under the arch then you would be commemorating something therefore it is fenced all the way around so that people can't walk under it. Part of where we were walking was actually once underground and appears outside now due to it being dug up.

    After a pretty full on morning taking in some of the most famous sights in the world, we wandered in the direction of the Trevi fountain looking for a place to have some food. Along the way we spotted a street artist doing paintings using spray paint. Leah and I bought a painting each (we will see how that one survives the journey home 😂) We stumbled across a cafe called Euromania which sold mini €1 sandwiches and looked similar to subway. Once at a table we discovered none of the menus had any English on and so with help from google translate we figured out what we could order. It took us about 20 minutes to figure out how the system works. You have notepads and pens in the centre of the table and each item on the menu is numbered. You then have to write which numbers you wish to order on the order form and take it to the counter. They then hand you a buzzer and when it goes off you go and collect your food. This gave Leah and I ideas for a business venture back in the UK 😂

    When finished it was a short walk to the Trevi fountain. Along the way we were approached by a man dressed as a gladiator who wanted us to take a photo with him for money! He gave us no option but to take a photo and after giving him 10 cent we legged it. The Trevi fountain was extremely crowded as expected but also extremely beautiful. Whilst there each of us threw a coin into the fountain in our right hand over our right shoulder and made a wish (can't say what the wish was otherwise it might not come true).

    It was then a short train ride to the opposite side of the river to see the Vatican City. When there it was straight in skipping the 3 hour queue as we already had tickets. The Vatican City is a separate state within Rome and is ruled by the pope. If I'm completely honest we learnt nothing here as we were more interested at looking at the architecture, paintings and statues. We went down into the Sistine chapel where you must cover your shoulders to see the artwork on the ceiling which was pretty impressive. It was extremely crowded everywhere we went and so after about 2 hours we had enough and headed towards the Oxford Street of Rome... Via del Corso.

    This place was our idea of shopping heaven. Straight to Sephora we headed where they sell high end make up brands and demonstrate how to do it. Unfortunately mine and Katie's budget wouldn't quite stretch to be able to buy anything however Leah had a field day and came away with lots of goodies. Very aware of how much we could get back in our suitcases we were hesitant to buy a lot and so after our look around wishing we had brought a spare suitcase we decided to grab something to eat in an Italian fish restaurant (I was not impressed as I hate fish). However after spotting the only thing on the entire menu I liked, spaghetti carbonara, it was fine and actually extremely delicious (best carbonara I've ever had)😄.

    We had been so lucky with the weather all day but our luck had ended as we came out the restaurant to heavy rain (luckily we were all armed with umbrellas). The roads were all flooded once again and even the entrance to the tube station was like a swimming pool, and so following a group of Italians that looked like they knew what they were doing, we found ourselves at another, drier entrance to the train.

    Back in our apartment we were hit with another hurdle. The train we need tomorrow is fully booked! After a few hours panicking and trying to figure out ways around it I found a solution and we could all sleep knowing we would make it to Paris😄
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    Rachel Payne

    Hope you have a better nights sleep tonight......🙈😴. Enjoy Paris😍xxx