Day 14 and 15 Rome
We arrived in Rome at the Tiburtina train station, not great planning in my behalf. We bought bus tickets and experienced an overloaded bus ride to near our hotel. We couldn’t get off the bus in time near our hotel, because some old farts would t get out of the way, so ended up having a bit of a walk back to our accommodation, including a stroll last the Trevi fountain.
We got to our accommodation, and room wasn’t available yet, which was fine as it was only 10.30am or so. So we put our luggage into the hotel’s luggage storage and went exploring.
We went and bought a 2-day hop on hop off bus tour and went for a circuit to try and get our bearings of another city.
We saw highlights including the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. We got off the bus at the Spanish Steps stop. It seemed to be a fair walk to the steps, but after we got off the bus I realised I had left my beanie and gloves on there (never to be seen again) and my sense of direction even using Google Maps is hopeless, so I think it was probably made further by my being a bit upset and a hopeless navigator.
From the Spanish Steps we walked back to the hotel, and ordered pizza via Uber Eats. While we were waiting for it we planned our activities for the following day, and booked tickets online for the colosseum and the Vatican.
We walked to the Hop on Hop off bus stop, which was only about a block away from our hotel. We caught the first one and got off at the stop for the Colosseum – our first tour of the day. As soon as we stepped off the bus a street vendor sold us some umbrellas – and mine was no good! I made Ulick take it back, and much to my surprise the street vendors swapped it for a better one. We were cutting it fine for time, and it was pouring rain, and we couldn’t find the pink flag that was meant to signal our tour. We eventually found a woman with a pink clipboard that she had been writing on – no wonder we had trouble finding her!
We had a tour of the Colosseum, Palatine Hill and the Forum. It was very informative, and I was glad we did it – even though the rain didn’t let up. Towards the end of the tour my umbrella was bending and not functioning very well!
We made our way to the next hop on hop off bus stop at the Palazzo Venezia and toured around until we got to the stop for the Vatican. We stopped for a quick lunch break just outside the walls of the Vatican, before meeting our tour group.
Our tour started at the Vatican Museums – which is an amazing (and huge) collection of arts and sculpture. You could actually spend weeks in there, and certainly need more than an afternoon to truly appreciate it.
The tour continued on through the Sistine Chapel, which again 20 minutes is probably not enough to take it all in. I think the thing that amazed me the most about the Sistine Chapel was how plain it looks from the outside, compared to the inside! The Gallery of Maps is also a highlight.
Our tour concluded with a visit to St Peter’s Basilica, which was truly beautiful and amazing. Even if you aren’t catholic, you could appreciate the tour of the Vatican, but as a Catholic it is a truly moving experience.
After our tour we had to walk back to the museum entrance for me to collect my umbrella. This was a second umbrella. I bought a new, better, larger one in St Peter’s Square when we arrived in the afternoon and through away the crappy one that was falling apart.
We collected my umbrella from the coat room, and then went back to St Peter’s square to appreciate the nativity at night time, and for me to visit the gift shop.
After making some little purchases, we headed back to the bus stop to catch the bus back to our hotel.
I was so stuffed, it was one of our biggest walking days – even using the hop on hop off bus. Ulick ducked across the road to grab kebabs for dinner. I booked an Uber for our trip to the train station the next day and we set our alarms for an early start to repackage our bags before flying to Paris.