Ciao From Italy! It is currently 12:30 at night and we are laying in bed in our little hotel room in Rome. What a time we have had so far. We’ll start from the beginning.
We woke up at approximately 5:30am in Bathurst which then involved putting the final touches into our packing and then driving the 3 hours to Sydney airport. We were there about 3 hours early which I think is pretty reasonable for an international flight. Ate some Thai food (which is probably the last Asian food we will eat until we are back). It was pretty nice Penang Curry and Chicken Singapore Noodles for the win.
We got on the plane to jet set firstly to Abu Dhabi. This was a 14 hour flight. It was a cunt of a flight. A few highlights included watching the entire first season of Killing Eve – good show, do recommend and some old lady near dying next to me. I was just about to fall asleep and next minute some old bird collapsed right next to me and me being the good citizen I am called out to the flight attend for help and put my pillow under her head. (In my head I was thinking, if she is dying and an emergency landing is coming, I will be pissed!) Good news though, she just fainted and got a good dose of oxygen and she was all good.
14 hours later we were in Abu Dhabi. Neither of us got any sleep. Tired as fuck we got to our gate and sat uncomfortably waiting to board our next flight. This was another 6 hours of hell. Etihad are a pretty shit airline I must say. The food was terrible (all plane food kinda is, but this was worse). I didn’t eat at all from Sydney Airport to Rome. I don’t tend to eat much when I am really tired. Aimee ate a bit of it and said it was shite. They also couldn’t regulate the temperature on the plane which was fucked – it was either way too hot or freezing cold.
Anyway, we ended up arriving in Roma! As soon as we got off the plane, the adventure began. It was 6am in Rome and the airport was absolutely buzzing, thousands of people. We had to immediately squish onto this super fast train to get to the baggage claim – was really fun after a long flight… We bought tickets on the fast train to Roma Termini station which is right near our hotel.
We dropped our bags at the hotel and embarked on a self-guided walking tour of Rome that we planned before we left. Not before a coffee and a croissant though (A typical breakfast in Italy. ) due Cappuccino e due cornetti – Aimee was tasked to order this in Italian..which she fucked up haha (She said: Do you sell coffee here?…in English). We had a pistachio cream and a cherry croissant.
Our first stop was the Colosseum. The magnitude of it is impressive. It’s absolutely beautiful. There was about a million people there which included the people trying to sell shit that happens at most big tourist locations around the world.
We walked from the Colosseum past the ruins of the Roman Forum (we’ll be back in a couple of weeks for a guided tour of these magnificent sites). While we were walking to our next stop was when the heat really started to hit us. We found the perfect rest stop for water and shade. It was 1 euro to use the toilet – a bit steep to do your business but when nature calls you just have to pay it. With the amount of people going in there it’s definitely a good money maker.
The next destination on our walking tour was the most grand of them all. On our way there we saw the Pontifica which was pretty cool but we were really in awe of the monument across the road, the one we had come to see – the Altar of the Fatherland. This monumental site is the memorial Vittorio Emanuele II who was the first king of a unified Italy.
We climbed to the top of this beautiful building which has a really nice view of Piazza Venezia. The building was the most impressive thing we saw today – the scale of it is absolutely enormous. No pictures or videos do it justice. Absolutely stunning. Also there was a young girl there wearing an exact replica of the “Southside Serpents” leather jacket from Riverdale – so funny.
Following this we walked over to Largo Argentina which is a ruin of old temples that is now inhabited by lots of wild cats. It was pretty cool seeing all of the cats skulking about. A cool thing about Rome is that there are little water fountains around that have clean drinking water – so you only really have to buy one bottle and you can fill it up throughout the day.
We walked over to the Pantheon after this via a little square where there was this guy playing classical music on the cello and his dog would howl whenever he hit a long note. It was not until this moment that it truly felt like we were in Italy. Really beautiful.
We know we have said this a few times but the Pantheon was another building that photos do not do justice to. It was enormous and so beautiful. We went in and wandered around in awe of the beauty. The giant hole in the roof where the sun shines creates a dream-like ambience.
We wandered the cobblestone streets to a place called Antico Forno Roscioli. We had read so much about this place before we arrived in Italy and saw it in a video by some of our favourite travel vloggers Samuel and Audrey so we had pretty high expectations. Well it was even better than we anticipated it to be! This was pizza al taglio (by the slice) which means you ask for as big of a slice that you want for as many different flavours as you want and they will weigh it and the price is by weight.
We had three different toppings for our pizza. The first we tried was a pesto and burrata pizza, the second was a mortadella, mozzarella and pistachio pizza and the third was a caprese pizza which had tomato, basil and mozzarella. Every single ingredient was so delicious. The cheese was so creamy and the tomatoes were the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. We hadn’t ever tried mortadella before but it paired with the nuttiness and crunchy texture of the pistachios was perfection. We can easily say it was the best pizza we have ever had and this is day one in Italy!
After we were full to the brim we remembered there’s always room for dessert so we wandered up a few alleyways to Zum which is a shop which sells all different flavours of tiramisu. We chose strawberry. The strawberries were juicy and sweet and the marscapone cheese was the richest we’ve had. It was difficult to get through after the pizza and with the heat bearing down in us but it was yummy none the less.
We stopped briefly by the Spanish steps on the way back to our hotel which was impressive. By this point we were so incredibly tired. It was a pretty hot day and we did not have hats or sunscreen so the sun was blasting us. We had been awake for 42 hours which included 21 hours of flights and we walked about 15-20kms after that – we were sunburnt and chaffed. I would honestly say that this is the most exhausting day we have ever had, but it was also incredible. We got back to the hotel at 2pm, had a shower and crashed out hard. We need to regulate our sleep though so we may try and get a bit of sleep after we finish writing this.
Today’s spendings (for both of us):
Train from Airport to Roma Termini – €28
Coffees and Pastries – €5
Water + Toilet – €2
Powerades and Socks – €6
Pizza – €14
Tiramisu – €5
Thanks for reading! We have another big day on the agenda tomorrow which includes our first sit-down meal and the beginning of our Contiki.
Ronnie and Aimee.