Friday, May 11, 2012

When in Rome

After our 'break'  in Lauterbrunnen, we headed south to warmer climates in Rome. While this looked like it would be our longest trip, it went much smoother than our trip to Lauterbrunnen, although we almost had to run for our change in Milan. We pulled in to platform 1  and had to find platform 11 in ten minutes instead of 25. Fortunately Milan's main train station is quite straight forward and we didn't have any problems finding it.

We got into Rome at 2pm, and our b&b was within walking distance of the train station. Fortunately the clouds only thought about raining and we got there dry. The address was easy enough to find but the b&b was not marked (it was an apartment building). Lucky for us another guest was leaving just as we arrived so was able to let us in and show us the way up.

The place is in central Rome on quite a  busy street, but is quiet enough at night time. Italians  are not big breakfast eaters so there is not a  large selection of breakfasts, but we've been having croissants with chocolate in them, juice, and André has coffee.

The first afternoon we decided to join a  free walking tour. It was not the same company we used in Paris, as they don't operate in Rome. While  it wasn't a  bad tour, it wasn't as good as the one in Paris. We saw the Spanish steps, the pantheon, Trevi fountain, and several other churches and monuments. We had dinner at a little restaurant near Trevi fountain -not too expensive but the food was average. Strike one for roman  pizza, although Michelle said her lasagne was reasonable. Afterwards we got gelato from a place recommended by our tour guide. I had  caramel and chocolate, Michelle had pineapple and lemon, while André had coffee, baileys and chocolate. It was amazing. It was like gelatified flavour, not flavoured gelato. I  would never have picked pineapple gelato but I  tasted Michelle's and it was fantastic. It's called Giolitti and is near the Prime  Ministerial house, if anyone wants to know!

That night while finding our way home we ended up going down the road  that leads straight to the Colosseum. We crossed a road, turned down another street and there it was in front of us! The street was scattered with other ruins too, and while stopping to take  photos we met another traveller, Sean, who is a Canadian working in the UK. We got talking for two hours and decided after midnight that we should meet up the next day!

So the next day we met up with Sean and spent most of the day looking through the Colosseum,  roman forum and Palatine Hill. I  didn't realise how extensive the complex on Palatine Hill is and we spent quite a  bit of time there. We spent a good three hours at the Forum and Pallatine Hill alone. I was surprised to learn the original roman senate building is still nearly entirely in tact.

In the afternoon we went to see Trajan's market. Waste of money. It was of average interest level, to me, especially as we'd just spent the  rest of the day at far more interesting complexes, and  it charged 11  euros when it had cost 12  for the Colosseum, Forum and Palatine  hill combined. It might have been OK if it only charged 5 euros perhaps, but at 11, I don't think it's worth  it. We visited another gelateria for afternoon  tea,  near the pantheon. They  were also very good but I  still preferred Giolitti's. I  had chocolate fondente and mango, Michelle had Mars bar and cookies, while André had coffee and chocolate, he thinks, but can't quite remember!

Dinner was at a  restaurant near the pantheon. At the same time was a protest with riot police, though the police only had to intervene for a  short time when a  few individuals got aggressive. From what we could gather the protest was something about cruelty to dogs, but we couldn't figure out exactly what was going on. Dinner  was pizza and cannelloni. The pizza was reasonable but still not amazing. Strike  two for roman pizza. The cannelloni was pretty good though. For dessert we took Sean back to Giolotti's and this time I  had mango and watermelon (the best mango gelato I've ever had, and the watermelon reminded me of the watermelon sorbet mum makes!),  Michelle had caramel and nutella, and André again had coffee with something else. It was another late night but it was an excellent day. I will update again later but for now I have to go  to bed!

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