Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Rome trip 28-30 January 2011

Went to Rome for a 'long weekend' last week - a very short trip actually. The city's not exactly as I imagined it to be, and like S says, it's quite backward in a lot of ways...just look at the graffiti everywhere on the outskirts of the city, it's a little crazy really! The people are significantly nicer than people here, but then this is London and people anywhere else are nicer.

Didn't write my travel journals during the trip, just some notes on where we've been, just for the record... :)

First day:

Late lunch - After checking in, we were told by the very nice receptionist that it's quite late for lunch and most places were closed that time of the day. @_@ It's about 3pm...luckily there's a restaurant nearby that's open all the time. We were reluctant to eat near Termini station after getting off the airport bus (waited for ages for that...), coz the places all looked quite dodgy and the food's mostly 'spoon food' (we always call the ready-made food that's 'spooned' on your plate 'spoon food', 'but but food'!). The place he recommended was okay, prices were a little high (higher than the usual London chain restaurants, we were expecting something cheaper in Italy), but the food's not particularly good though it's freshly made. It's a wonder why they use mostly cured meat (ham / smoked meat) in their dishes - you hardly get any fresh meat / seafood!

Went along the old wall to the Spanish Steps after our late lunch - it's already getting dark. Spanish Steps, despite being a tourist must-see, is quite disappointing in reality. Those are just normal steps, why are they so famous? I don't get it...

Anyway, we walked to Trevi Fountain afterwards. Again, very touristy, but nothing particularly impressive. S asked what's famous about this fountain, and all I know is that it's made famous by a film. Supposedly if you throw a coin in the fountain (with special posture, with your back facing the fountain and your hands crossed or something), you will go back to Rome. Well, whatever! One thing I know is that there are lots of coins in the fountain every day. :P

We had dinner in a nearby 'historic' restaurant. It's supposed to be really authentic and all that, but the food's REALLY bad. I mean, REALLY! I haven't tasted something as bad as that for a long time...perhaps it's even worse than the canteen food served downstairs. @_@ Horrible experience.

Second day

Took the metro to the Colosseum. The metro's horrible, and when compared to it, the tube in London is not so bad! (You can see how bad it really is) Everywhere is like a crime scene... all the stations are just really, really old. Anyway...

Went to Repubblica briefly, took some photos, and went on to the Colosseum...

Colosseum: Well, it's world-famous, but again to be honest I was a bit that all? We're lucky that we bought the Rome pass, so we bypassed the huge queue outside. Yes, I suppose it's a historic site and all that, but I would say Angkor Wat is A LOT more impressive than that!

Also went to the Palentine Hill and Roman Forum (all included in the same ticket)... nothing interesting there either, Palentine Hill is a bit boring even, and Roman Forum, if you don't have an audio guide / guidebook with you, is nothing interesting either. I just kept going through my guidebook for the different 'buildings' in the Forum, but to be honest, who cares? Those are just ruins...and uninteresting ruins at that.

Walked to the nearby Vittoriano, commented as 'an eyesore' in Rome. I personally don't find it particularly unpleasant to look at, but of course it doesn't seem to serve any purpose being such a big structure there! Went up there for some photos, then walked to the Santa Maria in Aracoeli, a church next door. It's quite a nice old church, but we've probably been to too many churches already, we weren't really looking into the details. :P

Walked to Piazza Navona (yeah, it's all walking on that day...didn't make good use of the pass for transport at all), where Bernini's huge fountain is. Went into the church Sant Agnese in Agone there, where supposedly Saint Agnes was burnt alive and executed... just another church.

Walked to the Pantheon after be honest, this is even more disappointing, as there's nothing interesting to look at there - what's it about the big dome and the hole at the top? Hmmm. Anyway, you get free entry there, which is great for Rome...

Last stop: Musei Capitolini. We went in quite late, and we went just because we wanted to make 'good use' of the pass. :P It's already quite dark by then, and there were very few people in the museum (entrance fee is about 15 euro, quite steep for a not particularly famous museum if you ask me), so we almost had it all to ourselves. Some parts of the museum seemed a little creepy even, as the statues and sculptures could very well come alive at any moment! :P

Third day

This day's supposedly reserved for the Vatican Museum, with the Sistine Chapel being the highlight. But we were too unlucky - it's the last Sunday of the month, and enty to the museum was free. When we got there, the line was horrible...basically the queue surrounded the city wall of Vatican! @_@ We gave up right away and went to the St Peter's Basilica instead. Vatican City's okay, but again, nothing particularly impressive. We went to see the Pope's coffins down in the basement, and some people were still kneeling in front of the last pope's coffin, crying... @_@ We went into St Peter's Basilica after much hassle (lining up in the same queue for the second time, going through security all over again and arguing with some rude Italians who jumped queue...), and it is, of course, worth it. It's very big compared to all other Catholic churches I've been to (of course, this is the Vatican!), but other than that everything's quite...normal? We saw the Pieta - I'll confess I'm quite ignorant but I think I've seen it before somewhere else, but I can't remember where it was.

We were also lucky enough to catch the Pope's speech - haha, he appeared high up in the 2nd window of a tall building, you can't even see with your bare eyes who it is actually! :P Of course we couldn't understand anything, but people there were quite happy and impressed after listening to him. @_@

LUNCH! That's the greatest meal we had in Rome...and it's recommended in the guidebook. It's a seafood restaurant, it's not cheap at all but everything's nice!!!

Hmmm we went to a couple other churches after lunch...but to be honest I don't remember much about them. I just remember at the back of one church (we were lost and got there and thought it's closed) there were lots of rubbish birds (seagulls really) which were eating rotten meat (I presume the meat's rotten as it looked hideous)... gross.

Had a rushed dinner near the station before catching the airport bus. Not good again. :(

It's quite tiring to be honest, having to walk so much, but I guess that's a good thing as well! You get to see a lot more walking...

(see my fb album for trip photos!)

And then in a few days' time we're setting off for Munich!!! :) I hope it's gonna be a good trip!

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