Saturday, August 18, 2007

Roman Holiday

Well, carrying on with the busy, busy, busy theme, Rome was so cool. We spent the first few days strolling around the main sites. The ancient Pantheon (lit only from a large hole in the centre of its dome) was a stones throw away from our hotel (in fact we could see it out of our window) and starting from there we worked our way around all the points of the compass.

Each night we would eat in a different restaurant (we only had two duff/tourist/rip-off meals) and paused from Italian food on Wednesday when we went to the Hard Rock Cafe where, even though we had to wait over two hours for a table, we actually had a good time and a nice tasty burger each too, and a long stroll back to our hotel afterwards to walk it all off. This is when we discovered that Rome in Summer at half-one in the morning is still a buzzing, vibrant city.

Of all the sights to be seen, Saint Peter's was my favourite. It literally takes your breath away. The sheer scale of it has to be seen to be believed. We visited early one evening and there was no queue whatsoever. In fact most everywhere we went in Rome had nothing bad queue-wise.

Florence, on the other hand, was queue central! We queued for an hour to go up to the top of the dome in it's Basilica and though the three-hundred plus steps were a bit knackering for some, the view was certainly worth it. The other half also enjoyed window shopping down some of Florence's swankier haute couture streets. It amazes me how she knows so much about fashion labels that most people have never heard of.

We finished our visit to Florence off with a visit to the Galleria dell'Accademia to see Michelangelo's "David" which was absolutely awesome (though no photos were allowed) and for which there were no queues at almost six in the evening as most tourist groups had headed off by then before we caught our train back to Rome.

We spent Friday afternoon in Pincio Park, overlooking Rome, having fun riding around in a two person pedalo (which is when I discovered that the other half is an awful backseat driver) and then did an afternoon trip on the Saturday out to Tivoli to see Hadrian's Villa, which wasn't really all that impressive, though being out in the open on a day when the sun was scorching didn't help, and the Villa d'Este which has impressive gardens with beautiful cool fountains and waterfalls a-plenty.

By the end of the trip neither of us wanted to leave but we finished off having a nice meal on the same table where I had proposed. A perfect end to a perfect holiday.

Little did we know at the time that just a week later, we would both be in Dubai!

But then, that's another story...


Anonymous said...

Shall be bookmarking this for future reference as a beginner's guide to Roma. Thankfully more succint than the traveller's guides, which can sometimes point you to places of great un-interest.

doobrie said...

It was all thanks to Frommer's guidebook to Rome, really, and a programme that I saw on TV about the history of Rome and sights to see. It gave me a heads up before we got there.

Though, regardless, I would easily recommend Rome to anyone who has a week to spare.