Friday, 21 June 2013

All Roads Lead To Rome

Hey all,

Here it is as promised, my blog about my trip to the beautiful Rome.

Rome - 13th - 18th June 2013 

Where can I start? Well after getting to Gatwick airport at a pretty reasonable time I almost go and lose my hat! I got out of the car made my way to get the luggage out and then BAM! There goes my hat! Luckily my sister and the kind parking guy helped retrieve my hat. Other than that slight hilarious incident even before we set foot in the airport, security went pretty smoothly. My cousin had to take her shoes off and my sister and I got stopped for another random check. There is always one isn't there? Or in this case all three of us. 

The view from the plane. Pretty amazing.

Anyway the flight took off at the right time and arrived a little early too. We arrived at Fiumicino Airport Terminal 3 and took the shuttle train thing to the luggage area. Where we waited absolutely ages for our baggage. Once we finally got our suitcases we headed outside to catch the bus to Central Rome. The company we went with is called 'Terravision'. I warn you now, people are stupidly rude. Shoving their way onto the bus. There is no orderly queue. So be prepared to shove back. I shoved my way on and lost my sister. Us Brits can be a tad too polite. She eventually got on and we all made our way to the Termini Station. The final and only destination of the bus. 
(We pre-booked our bus tickets, I strongly advise to do that, as if you leave it to the day, one not only is it more expensive (€6) one way so it will make it €12 return, but if you book online you will pay €8 instead. This is cheapest way to get to central Rome, as train tickets on the Leonardo Express is like €14. Grant it the train probably would be easier, as the bus was a lot of faff with rude people but if you don't mind being shoved and not guaranteed a seat with your friends or family and you want a cheap option then a shuttle bus to the city centre is your option. There are loads of other bus companies that will take you to the centre. We chose Terravision because it was the first one I saw and I am pretty sure it is a British run company. 

Pictures taken from the bus 

Anyway we decided to walk to the hotel as it was about a 10 minute walk, man alive was it hot! Like 30 degrees. We all sweat like a pig. We felt disgusting. After checking in, we changed clothes and had a slight wash and headed out for dinner, by now we were absolutely marving. Insanely hungry. So we ordered sausage and broccoli pizza, clams and mussels spaghetti and finally seasoned potatoes on the side.( the best restaurant of our entire trip.)  For the three of us we felt ever so full. It cost us a hefty €34.50. It's very expensive especially for our first night. 

Anyway after dinner we strolled down towards the station where we saw a sort of supermarket and bought lunch for the following day, bread sticks and tomatoes, I love Spanish tomatoes, Italian tomatoes are just amazing! Yes we went to the supermarket and got a box of plum tomatoes. On our way back to the hotel we went to get some gelato! It was pretty amazing. The pistachio flavour was amazing!!! Definitely the place to go for pistachio flavoured gelato! 

(Day One of Gelato - Pistachio, Strawberry and Coconut)

Right so I'm going to talk about how the Italians drive and  cross the road. I thought the way the Brits cross roads was ridiculous. It isn't illegal in the UK to jaywalk. So many of us Brits cross the road dangerously. Here in Rome people don't even look! Also even if there is a green man (in England it indicates that you can cross safely) here in Rome? Hell to the no. Vehicles still move regardless so I seriously advice to cross roads in Rome with caution and basically cross the road like an Italian. The cars will stop for you. I know if I did that in the UK I would have got run over. Then again people are always on their phones while driving despite it being illegal. Anyway! Cross with caution! I feared for my life when I first crossed a road. Follow the locals!!!!

(First full Day in Rome - Friday 14th June 2013) 

My Outfit for the day. Make sure you put sun cream on your feet, I have serious tan lines from that looks horrendous. Also another fashion tip...if you want a hat to protect your face...don't buy a hat like did nothing for was just a fashion accessory.

Colosseum, Roman Forum, Palatino 

What can I say? The Colosseum was beautiful, by far my favourite sight here in Rome. The view you got from inside the Colosseum was just breathtaking. I thought my favourite from pictures I've seen online would be the Spanish Steps, but nope the Colosseum was just so historic, I definitely fell in love with it. 
Ok if you are an EU citizen you get your tickets for €7.50 which is a two day pass for the Colosseum, The Roman Forum and the Palatino. Which I must say is a pretty decent price. It probably works out into around £6.41 (According to google).  It is worth going trust me. Then again I am a girl who loves to see the sights rather than spending my entire holiday laying on the beach topping up my tan. 
At most of the major attractions there will be men dressed in gladiator outfits, do not take a photo with them, unless you want to loss a few euros from your pocket. I had one approach me and stick a toy sword in my face I was not amused, it almost poked my eye out. I gave him a filthy look. So yes do not pose with them. Other than that, be prepared to have people shove in front of you. Many impatient people. As you may know from my blog about the Madame Tussaud's in London I don't like to be shoved. And as you know I will shove you right back. I am pretty weak, but I will stand my ground. Queuing for the Colosseum was not as bad as queuing in the Vatican! It made me sooooooooo angry!!! (I shall explain further down)

The view on our short walk to the Colosseum

 Two Day Pass 
Anyway yes the Colosseum is beautiful. From the inside and out. Make sure to take lots of snaps. Definitely, the highlight of my trip. I would definitely save that for last, we chose the night before to go to the Colosseum. If I could do it again I would have gone to the Vatican first. 
Anyway here are some of my pictures from inside of the Colosseum. The view, was just breathtaking. 

 Lame selfie with the Arch thing.

 The damn person's camera got in the way of my panorama.

 Apparently this is my signature arm

After the Colosseum we went to the Palatino and the Roman Forum. The day we went it was absolutely scorching! I don't cope well in heat (or cold) I felt like I was going to die. So yes if you do travel to Rome at the peak of the heat waves. Always carry a bottle of water with you, there are lots of places to top it up and places that sell water. I didn't trust the street sellers so we always got out water from the supermarket (Espar). You must keep hydrated. Because you will sweat all the water out. At times I felt like I was going to faint.Trust me make sure you drink lots of water, and sit in the shade for a while and eat as well.

Pictures from outside the Colosseum

Anyway from the Palatino you can see amazing views, we didn't stay long because it was just far too hot. Coming from a country that is always miserable I knew I wouldn't cope in the Italian heat. I can just about cope at 26 degrees. I remember school days in the summer, walking home with a billion art books was like death. (Had to go up hill) a 20 minute walk felt like an hour. Anyway this is what it felt like constantly. Here are some of the pictures from the Palatino. 

Look! It looks like a pineapple!

Roman roads is not the easiest to walk on. I have seen a whole bunch of people walk around in wedged sandals and I think 'Jeez are they crazy?' But maybe it's the better choice in footwear. I wore flat sandals throughout my trip and you could really feel the cobbles. Then again my sandals are cheap. £6 from Primark, so I am bound to be in some form of discomfort. Though these sandals are pretty comfortable, just they are not built for long walks on cobbles. There has been countless occasions where I have slipped or tripped. Well I am just generally clumsy, but the cobbles didn't help. 
Afterwards we headed towards a gelato place called 'il Gelatone' with gelato in hand, we headed back to the hotel to relax in our room with air con on! We bought dinner (which consist of baguettes, peaches and chocolate) And had a little stroll in the area near our hotel. 

Pictures from our little stroll

Day Two of Gelato Green Apple & Pistachio, Mango and Melon 
The best ice cream place in Rome!!! So darn yummy. The place is called ' Il Gelatone' It is down Via Del Serpenti and very close to our hotel and the Colosseum. 

(Second Full Day In Rome - Saturday 15th June 2013) 

 Outfit of the day. I think it was the coolest day of my entire visit. Definitely my favourite outfit. I just love my bargain top and H&M maxi skirt...H&M is like my favourite shop!

Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon, Piazza Navona

We didn't have a real plan, in the morning we decided on visiting the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. A ten minute walk lead us to the fountain when we arrived my face just lit up, I could feel a smile emerge from ear to ear. It was like coming across a hidden building in a busy city. It was so cute, surrounded by other Italian like buildings. It was beautiful and insanely busy. So many people crowded round it was ridiculous. Oh and also by the fountain there was people/ gypsies or whatever you want to call them selling roses, they will purposely shove the rose in your face so you take it and they will follow you until you part with your hard earned cash. Be very careful. (Also saw them by the Spanish Steps - I guess those two places are the most romantic places in Rome)
We decided to return later to toss a coin instead of fighting the crowd to toss a coin into the fountain. (That later provided to be a bad idea)
As we were leaving the fountain we saw a group of well built men posing by the fountain, being lame tourist we asked for a photograph. Not going to lie but I did find one of the men rather good looking! 
Here are some of the photos taken by the Trevi Fountain.Yeah we went for a flower theme that day, let's just say we got a lot of stares and a lot of people come up to us.

Here are some pictures of the rather built men.

 Yeah I am lame and got a photograph. Look how short I look! lol

So after being lame tourist we headed towards the Spanish Steps, this was the one place I was looking forward too. It was definitely a sight to see. Also it might not look like there are loads of steps but man alive there is. Being physically unfit,I found it tough, also it is ever so difficult to climb stairs in a maxi skirt. Not the best choice of outfit when climbing a bunch of stairs. It was worse coming down, probably because of my phobia of heights. Though I am proud that I managed to climb the steps, not that it was as high as the one in Hong Kong...(I was seven and got half way turned around to look at the view and was absolutely petrified! I burst into a flood of tears and refused to carry on) so yes my fear of heights isn't as bad...but I am still pretty scared. I couldn't go up to the terrace of the hotel because of my phobia. 

This is the famous street by the Spanish Steps  full of designer labels, I can't tell you which street it is...but there is a couple right by the Spanish Steps that had very expensive shops. (It is literally opposite the Spanish Steps)

Anyway we looked at the map and thought the Pantheon wasn't too far to walk to. So we headed for the Pantheon and stopped of at a beautiful church. I'm not religious or anything but it was so beautiful inside, the paintings on the walls and ceiling was  just wow. When we finally arrived at the Pantheon I expected a bit more, instead of just a room where we go round. Still the building itself was beautiful. 

Pictures of the church that we stumbled upon. 

The Pantheon

 Since we walked all the way to the Pantheon we decided to go to the Piazza Navona. It was very pretty, but by that point we all were pretty tired from all the walking. We walked from our hotel which was on Via Nazionale to the Trevi Fountain, to The Spanish Steps, to the Pantheon and then to the Piazza Navona. It was quite a walk especially in the Italian sunshine. After the Piazza Navona we decided that we needed a well earned rest and gelato. 

Day Three of Gelato Part 1- Hazelnut Chocolate & Raspberry, Vanilla & Cookies and Mint & Mandarin with Cinnamon.

After resting up we headed back out for gelato and went for a walk around Rome and found how close everything was. If you stay on Via Nazionale, you are within walking distance of many of the famous Roman attractions. Our hotel was ten minutes walk to the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain and a little further for the Spanish Steps. Definitely the perfect location. Anyway, we went on for a walk for like two hours, it wasn't too hot either, probably the best time to walk around Rome. 

 The above photo is by far my favourite and I am rather proud that I took that photo! It was such an amazing view of the Roman Forum.

So around 8ish we decided we were hungry and headed for a restaurant called Holiday. It was a pretty decent restaurant. It was down Depretis a side road down Via Nazionale. 

 Finally we decided to end the day in a late night feast of gelato and our favourite gelato store. 

We were greedy and got three scoops for €3. 
Day Three of Gelato Part 2
(Nutella, Green Apple and Pineapple), (Raspberry, Pineapple and Kiwi) and (Mango, Strawberry and Green Apple) 

(Third Full Day In Rome - Sunday 16th June 2013)

Outfit of the day, In order to enter St Peter's Basilica you have to dress modestly, so no mini skirt, no shorts, no bare shoulders. You have to wear an appropriate length skirt. And if it is a hot day, go for a maxi skirt/ dress and bring a scarf to cover your shoulders, that is what I did.


Ok So I am not religious, but you can't go to Rome and not go to the smallest state ever right? We decided (quite stupidly) to go to the Vatican on a Sunday. Which of course there was a mass. Yeah bad idea. We caught the Metro to the Vatican, since we weren't one hundred percent sure how to far it was to walk, since it was across the river. Ok I didn't take a picture of the Metro, cos I was absolutely paranoid that I would get mugged. I thought the London Underground was bad, the Roman ones are dark and dingy and it was like I stepped into a horror movie, though once on the train it was a hell lot nicer than London underground trains.

 Metro Tickets cost €1.50 one way. So in total it was €3. So it cost us about £2.56 to get the Metro there and back.

St Peter's Square was filled with hundreds and hundreds of people with the pope being out and stuff. We didn't even realise till we got there. Once we left the square we thought hey lets go and see the Vatican Museum. Another sound advice, do your research. The museum was closed. So instead we decided to wait until one (when the mass finished). We headed over to McDonald's and had cake and coffee. The cake really wasn't all that, if you want cake go to a cake shop and not a fast food chain. 

So after lunch we headed back to St Peter's Square, less people but still very busy and insanely hot. 

We wondered around till we found the queue for the St Peter's Basilica, now this queue was insane and admitted we did jump the queue, yes in dresses and skirts we climbed over a couple of fences...rather elegantly may I add. Now this is what made me ever so angry, for half the time that we queued we spent it out in the scorching sun. (you have to queue to go through security.) Basically there was no organised queuing system. I should have learnt at the airport. This was ten times worse, people shoving. I made sure I clung onto my cousin and sister and stood my ground not to let anyone push past me. I wasn't having any of that. Being short and weak it wasn't easy, but when someone shoved me I shoved them right back, hell to the no do you shove me, especially when I am looking out for my sister. So yes once we got through security I spent a lot of the time cursing in Chinese. (Oh the benefits of being bilingual, though not sure whether I can call myself  bilingual, since my Chinese is just well appalling. Though I did speak perfect  Hakka (also Chinese) on the phone to my mum's friend.) Anyway, I was sooooooo angry that I didn't take much pictures and walked through St Peter's Basilica very quickly, so quickly that I lost my cousin and sister and waited outside for them instead. So yes after losing my temper and looking round St Peter's we headed back on the Metro back towards the hotel, we did make a detour and went to get gelato. 

Not our favourite shop, but this shop makes the best Pistachio Gelato ever. 
Day Four of Gelato Part 1 - Strawberry, Pistachio and Lime. 

For dinner we decided to go down another side street off Via Nazionale and go to one of the restaurants we stumbled upon the day before. 
Places we stumbled upon.

 Dinner! I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but the guy who took us to our seats was super nice but the guy who actually served us we thought he was rude and arrogant. 

Finally, we decided on other late night feast of gelato. 

Day Four of Gelato Part 2 - Oreo & Green Apple, White Chocolate & Green Apple and finally Green Apple and Pistachio. As you can tell we really like the Green Apple flavour! 

( Fourth Full Day In Rome - Monday 17th June 2013) 

Final outfit in beautiful Rome. It was just as hot as the first full day! Maybe even hotter!

This day was our last day In beautiful Rome and it was also my birthday. I thought yes bonus I am in a foreign country there won't be any surprises. I was so wrong. You know me I absolutely hate surprises. Especially ones that can embarrass me. Like my birthday. I am not a birthday person, so I do dread it when it is  my birthday, just in case I get a nasty surprise. I can't say I hate all surprises. I mean I liked the surprise of when I got to go and see Les Miserables in the West End. I also like the idea of being surprised by a bouquet of flowers or say a proposal, but please do not do it to me on my birthday. I hate it. Sooo much. Anyway, my sister's wifi (On her phone) didn't work all holiday so she said she was going downstairs to steal wifi from another hotel, a legit enough excuse, and I bloody fell for it. So while she went down my cousin sort of distracted me. I was wondering why my cousin was a bit reluctant to go down to breakfast. So after a phone call from the hotel my cousin and I trailed down to the breakfast room, I entered last and noticed another guest holding a camera which looked like my sister's and then the singing started, I saw my sister holiday a giant fruit cake (courtesy of the hotel). I was indeed surprised and turn around to run for it. Of course I came back, and blew out the candles, I was in so much shock that I didn't even make a wish...though I have long ago given up on birthday wishes. I I did two year ago when I turned 20. It wasn't even happy tears. Tears of genuine shock, I really wasn't amused. I am definitely spending my next birthday alone lol. 

So yes after breakfast, we decided to do our souvenir shopping. I picked up presents for my girls and we all decided to be lame and get 'I heart Roma' tees.

We also decided to eat out for lunch as well as dinner. 

 The dish above, was a little strange, it wasn't quite pasta, it was kinda doughy...and yeah it was a little odd. I wouldn't order it again.

 Lasagna (Above) 

 Final cup of gelato from our favourite gelato shop. 
Day Five of Gelato - Melon, Green Apple & Mango and Green Apple.
Mango was my favourite flavour followed by the Green Apple. 

 Above is my hand drawn birthday card from my Little sister! A hand drawn picture of my celebrity crush! She took it all the way over with her and I didn't even realise!

Finally our last dinner in Rome.

So you are all probably wondering what hotel we stayed in. Well it was called Hotel Esposizione and please don't ask me to pronounce it as I do not have a clue. It is situated on Via Nazionale opposite the Palazzo Delle Esposizioni ( A museum right at our doorstep, so we left it to last...turns out it isn't opened on Mondays). Via Nazionale has a whole street filled with hotels. Our one was a three star hotel, and it really wasn't bad. The room was big, it was kept clean. Though if you stay in this hotel or any other hotel in Rome, there probably will be more than one hotel in a building. In our building there was two other hotels. So it shared one lift, this the smallest lift I have ever been in. So if you are claustrophobic then er...take the stairs. We barely all squeezed in with our three suitcases, hand luggage and ourselves! Apart from the small lift I would recommend staying at the hotel. The hotel is on the third floor while our room was on the fifth. I advise you to take the lift, I took the stairs from the bottom and I almost was so steep. I could barely breathe. I am so unfit, seriously need to go jogging. As for breakfast it was the same thing everyday, and it really wasn't all that though we made sure we ate as much as possible since we it was included in our price. Though the food wasn't all that, the cappuccino there was the best I have ever tasted. One day I had two cups because it was so good and it kept me up! So be warned! Italian coffee is very strong!!

 Here is the boarding pass we picked up from the Terravision Office in Termini Station. You have to have a boarding pass in order to board the bus. You will also need your ticket. Yet again like at the airport people shoved, though it was better organised. Some girl pushed past my cousin even though the man was counting that we were all together and then my sister dropped her suitcase when she tried to get her own one out. That's karma for you. Shouldn't push past people. 

Anyway, going through security was another fun episode, there is always one and normally that one is me...yes in this case I set off the alarm thing three times. the first time I totally forgot that my phone was in my pocket, and then I second time I had to take my shoes off...and it still went off! So I ended up having to hold my hands up like a criminal who got caught by the police! It is always me! I have no luck at all! 

Fiumicino Airport 

 A pigeon in the airport!!!

Our lunch on the flight! A pretty decent wrap if I must say so! On our way to Rome we got a lousy croissant with orange juice and banana and strawberry flavoured yogurt. We flew with BA, because...we are kinda snobby...I have heard stories and felt safer with going with a bigger company, sure it was a bit more expensive but it included checked luggage each!

 I know this is a really really long blog, I have a lot to say and a lot of photos to share. I hope this blog helps convince some of you to go to The Eternal City. It is definitely beautiful. I am not like others my age, I like to see the sights. I am a real city girl, and wow. I did toss a coin into the Trevi Fountain so I do hope to return to Rome again, perhaps when it is less hot! lol 

Some people say that Rome is a romantic city, and I have to agree. It is beautiful, so full of history, I am a girl who loves history and walking around the city, I was in love. I saw lots of couples in Rome and I couldn't help but go 'awww' It's cute seeing couples taking photos in such a historical city. Definitely will return to Rome and perhaps one day I will have someone special to share it with. 

Sam x


  1. It looks like you had a great time. As for the doughy dish, was it gnocchi? Because it sort of looks like it and it is rather doughy, because it's made out of potatoes instead of regular pasta dough. And now I want gelato.

    1. Yes it is! That's the name of it! Ha I couldn't remember! Lol I found it a little odd

  2. Your memory is insane, you've recalled every tiny detail!!!! I barely remember climbing over fences for the Vatican...

    LIVE . IN .LOVE ✞


    1. Hahaha not really, it was posted a few days after the trip, when it was still fresh in my mind...but yeah I still remember climbing over the barriers and getting really angry hahaha.


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