Now that I’m home and countering my Europe withdrawals by seamlessly browsing through and editing what seems to be 33GB worth of shots, it’s time I take you guys along with me as I relive these past but rather vivid moments.
Over one of the best 19 days of my life, the four of us covered Rome, Florence, Venice, Lauterbrunnen, Munich, Paris, London & finally Manchester. Trudging through the heat of Italy, the snow of Jungfraujoch and the perfect British weather in the UK, every detail serves to be wonderfully memorable — things like struggling to carry my 12kg luggage up and down the lovely steps of the train and metro stations whilst jostling in the crowd doused in pickpocket-paranoia.
After 13 hours of flight to London and another 3, we finally saw ourselves in Rome, Fiumicino Airport. It was rather empty, dodgy and it felt like we were on a potential set of a mafia movie.
On board the Leonardo Express, we headed for our accommodation located in sight of St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. After battling some metro chaos and rising up to street level, there we were — lost and mocked by the absence of street signs. Flight fatigue didn’t mix well with Italy’s heat or the fact that the cobble-stoned streets weren’t luggage friendly — bumpy start, indeed. Pun intended.
Nonetheless, our navigationally trained boys did their best and we did find the apartment! … on the other side of Vatican City. Our mistake: Changing to and alighting at Ottaviano metro station instead of remaining on and taking to the train station nearby. Oops.
Nearly 5 in the evening after settling down but we took advantage of the late sunsets and took a short walk to Vatican City for St Peter’s Basilica! (By late, we mean 9pm.) A thing to note when visiting the Basilica: Entrance is free but they’re pretty strict on dress code. Nothing sleeveless and beyond is allowed, neither are shorts/skirts that stay above the knees. T’was hilarious seeing people covering their shoulders with tissue paper outside the entrance. I kid you not.
Credits: Jocelyn/ Derick
The Basilica was just terribly grand and ornate from top to bottom with majestic domes for ceilings, beautifully carved statues, meticulously replicated paintings and colourful patterned marbled floors. You had to be there to stand and bask in awe, like the stream of fellow tourists and I did.
Most of our accommodations were booked via Airbnb, where we’ve learnt never to trust the provided photos. We weren’t expecting much from our room in Rome, which turned out to be a wonderful surprise! A big studio comfortable enough for the four of us with a rustic dome-like ceiling made of bricks that likened the room to feel like an old underground wine cellar, especially since it was a basement unit. Our landlord as a wonderful Italian woman, who admitted her English was limited to sentences required to successfully check us in and out of her apartment complete with animated gestures.
Since Carrefour was nearby, we decided to whip up our own Italian pasta that night! Something we’ve come to love doing, which also helped us spend a lot less than planned.
I’m virtually useless when it comes to cooking in a group so this is a pretty common sight with me awkwardly standing around and occasionally poking my head in to find opportunities to lend a helping hand. It often results in me … snipping the packets open or something. Pretty important task if you ask me.
And voila! To mark our first night in Rome after an arduous journey and stashed hours of touristing, we had a tomato based pasta with minced pork, spinach and cheese ravioli and mushroom soup. Ah, home cooked comfort food in a foreign country.
PS: More on-the-go snippets of my trip are tagged with #wenzineurope on Instagram.
Up next, When in Rome (II) featuring the renowned Colosseum & Palatine Hill!
Follow the rest of my journey:
Day 1/ 19 June – When In Rome (I) (Now Reading)
Day 2/ 20 June – When In Rome (II)
Day 3/ 21 June – A slice of Pisa
Day 4/ 22 June – Florence and the Tangerines
Day 5/ 23 June – A penchant for Venice
Day 6/ 24 June – Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland
Day 7/ 25 June – Top of Europe: Jungfraujoch
Day 8/ 26 June – Travel: Greetings, Munich
Day 9/ 27 June – Munich: BWW Museum + The X Games
Day 10/ 28 June – Munich: Nymphenburg Palace, Viktualienmarkt & Deutsches Museum
Day 11/ 29 June – Paris: My First Impressions
Day 12/ 30 June – Postcards From Paris
Day 13/ 1 July – Thanks for Disneyland, Mr Walt Disney