Having covered so many cities in a span of three weeks meant it wasn’t exactly possible to do what everyone tries to achieve — living like a local. This being our only full day in Rome made it rather packed as we were bent on seeing whatever iconic sights of Rome that we could. Day 2’s list of sights: The Colosseum, Palatine Hill, Trevi fountain & the Pantheon.
The good thing about Rome’s sights — they’re all located within walking distance from each other though it sometimes feels like forever under the rays of our dear merciless sun. No clouds, guys. Zilch. Nada. (But that means amazing skies of blue in your shots. Yay!)
After alighting from the bus, we began with the hunt for the Colosseum! Language barriers can be a real pain, especially when every street name bears some sort of similarity with the other. Another instance — at the supermarket/ ordering food. I’ll come to those later in the trip. From our first bus ride experience, we realized that no one pays for the bus in Rome. It’s a simple notion of hopping on and payment is quite a voluntary affair. Same went for the trams in Florence!
Navigational work in progress
One thing we most definitely miss about Rome — The fresh icy cold fountain water! Like a water hole for wild animals in the safari, they’re often plagued with tourists in need for some hydration in the heat. One of the many questions we ask apartment owners upon checking in: Is the tap water here drinkable? More often than not, it’s up to your personal tolerance unless replied with a definite “You can never get better water than that”.
We found ourselves thrown into a scattered mess of illegal souvenir vendors amongst a slew of tourists/ school groups stuck outside the rustic-majestic Colosseum at 10am to discover that it was only due to open at noon. Bummer. Next thought: Gelato. We needed our first slab of genuine Italian gelato and a place to hide our sun-kissed faces.
2 generous scoops of Strawberry Sorbet & Chocolate at a cafe we found near the Colosseum that had .. free wifi! Score.
How the guys decided to devour their pizzas — by turning it into a wrap. Worked well.
Our lovely travelling buddies, Jocelyn & Derick!
Funny thing was, the guy who took this for us said, “Beautiful, beautiful!”. Well I guess it is, in a blurred sense.
After our 45 minute tour of the Colosseum in a strong Italian accent, we headed to Palatine Hill located just next to it for a long humid walk in “the relics of once great palaces and structures of ancient times” (Tripadvisor).
I adore how he tries.
You can never have too much gelato in a day when you’re in the land of Gelato’s now can you.
I present to you, the waterhole. “The waterhole? What’s so great about the water hole?”
“I’ll show you when we get there.” Funny how they just sit there watching others.
Every movie shot in Rome would almost definitely feature this grand Trevi fountain. As I said in Instagram, the crowd present was just as majestic as the fountain. Mostly Asian tour groups who arrive in bus loads. The situation: Everyone clamouring to get to the front for selfies, which only made it more of an opportunity for pickpockets to do their thing. We left just as soon as we got some snaps because it was so uncomfortably congested.
The Pantheon was nearby and entrance was free! There was a seagull trapped inside, distracting everyone who then distracted everyone else with their cries as it attempted but failed to escape through the glass-sealed ceiling. What was meant to be a silent temple to all the gods of ancient Rome turned into a hall for bird-watching.
I found it fascinating that a popular mode of transport to work for Romans were bikes and scooters. Men and women alike would stride on their two-wheeled rides in full suits, pencil skirts and heels in the morning and whizz through traffic as they always do. Interestingly yet disappointingly, I spotted not a single vespa on the streets and parking lots of Rome. How could that be?!
That concluded our 2 days in Rome before we took a train to Florence the next morning.
Follow the rest of my journey:
Day 1/ 19 June – When In Rome (I)
Day 2/ 20 June – When In Rome (II) (Now reading)
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
PS: More on-the-go snippets of my trip are tagged with #wenzineurope on Instagram.