Rome March 09
Rome Travel Blog› entry 1 of 2 › view all entries
Lack of Euro football meant that since last summer I'd only been away once, to Zakynthos in October, and I was starting to climb the walls. Sat one Friday and decided I needed to get away and looked at the options and decided on Rome. Only for 3 days but it would do.
Was sitting booking it up and decided to see if my son wanted to come to Rome next Tuesday , like he wouldn't ( I did the same sort of thing with my daughter when she was 9 when I took her to Paris) . He would get to get time off school,it would be educational after all ;-) , and it would be company for me and nice for us to get time on our own. He was even more made up as it was somewhere his sister hadn't been.
Flight was out of Prestwick at 2pm to Rome Ciampino, so had to drive down there and leave the car in the car park. Checked in and bought tickets here for the Terravision bus transfer into Rome Termini Station. Flew out on time and arrived in Rome 3 hours later and found the buses no problem. They drop you off outside the Terravision lounge (on the street to the left if you are facing the station from the front). Had booked in the Hotel Le Petit on the Via Torino, as it was a short walking distance from the drop off.
Odd hotel in that the building it is in also has offices, and the hotel reception is on the 2nd floor but the rooms ar on the 4th floor. No a big issue, and we got into the room to find it OK and had a small balcony looking over the street below.
My son is an early bird and he was up and raring to go, while I was still struggling to get my head off the pillow. Breakfast was in the dining room adjacent to our room and I let him go ahead (I'm not that fussed about eating in the morning) and by the time I got there he was already tucking into his croissants and hot chocolate . I had 2 cups of tea :-) and then we were ready. Repubblica metro station was just up the road and we headed for there. The Rome Metro system isn't going to tax anyones brains, you have Line A and Line B and they crossover at Termini.
Walked up from there to The Coloseum and there was harly any queue to get in. Went to buy the tickets, and the girl at the counter asked where we were from and when I told her asked if I had my sons passport, as under 16 EU nationals get in for free. Had left the passports in the hotel but the girl gave us the free ticket anyway. Took our time looking about, went down to the old cages and found one of the doors, that had a no entry sign on it, lying open so ,as you do, went in and had a look about the bits your not meant to get into.
Came out and went into the Forum to have a look about,walked up past Trajans Colum and Market and then went up to 'The Wedding Cake'', the Monument to Victor Emanuelle or the Vittoriana,take your pick as it's referred to by all 3. Can't believe anyone would slag it off and think it's ugly. Got stopped going in by the Carabinieri as we were drinking from our bottles of coke :-O. Stuck them in my jacket pocket and everything was Kool and The Gang, but they take their monuments seriously there :-). My son was actually interested in all the carvings, and the soldiers at the flame of the tomb of the unknown soldier, but we went up to the top of the steps and round the back to the lift for the 'Rome From The Sky' experience.
After a good look about we set off for the Pantheon and in a square behind it found a nice small colum that had an elephant carved in it. Had a quick look round the Pantheon, not that much to it, and set off up the way to try and find the Trevi Fountain. Followed the signs and must have missed one, because we ended up at the river, but a quick look at the street names and the map and we were back on course.
Refueled and fit again we followed the yellow brick road( well the signs) down to the Trevi Fountain.
Apart from the obvious pyramid here that we wanted to see, there is also, behind that, the Protestant cemetry where the poets Shelley and Keats are buried. Having done all this decided it was time to head back to the hotel.
I lay on the bed when we got in and then thought I better go out and buy some stuff to take back. For the first time my boy complained that his legs were aching from all the walking.
At 8-30pm we went back to the same place we had been the night before,don't know that I could have walked any further, and it was completely diferent, the place was mobbed. They managed to get us a table, but then came along and moved half of it for another couple, it was that busy. Had longer to wait for meals, but were in no rush and again the food was excellent.
next morning let him go off for his breakfast again, while I got our stuff together and then joined him for my tea. Went down to reception to check out and they had a bit at the back of the reception where they let us leave our bags, so that we could get off and out and about. back up to Repubblica and got the metro up to The Vatican. It was raining a bit when we went into St Peters Square and there was a massive queue to get into the basilica, so I decided we should go to the museum first. No pain getting in here very quickly and we started going round. I had the idea from when I visited it years ago that it was much better than it turned out to be.
The rest of it might be a pile of tat, but the Sistine Chapel is something worth seeing. Big change from when I was last there was that you just walked in and there were hundreds of people milling about and despite the notices folk were taking pictures and using their video cameras. Ah well, when in Rome....... Last time I was there you were only allowed in in groups of 20 and were escorted by 4 Vatican employees and it was made very clear that any sort of photography was prohibited, which is why the picture I got the last time was kind of blurred as I had to do it sneakily. Having done the chapel it was time to leave and as we were on the way out I naively asked my son,knowing that he hadn't been that interested, what he thought was the best part (given that he just been in The Sistine Chapel) and he turned straight faced and said ''The Exit Sign'' :-D
Just remeinded me of the old adage that you shouldn't ask children questions if you are not prepared for the answer.
Went back round to St Peters and the queue was way down, so we went into the basilica.Then went down to the tombs and looked around them,and came across the tomb of Pope John Paul II , which,unlike the rest, was all lit up and had stuff placed all round it like a shrine and a security guard standing in front of it. Struck me as a bit garish and part of the celebrity culture, and I was really surprised at it here.
On the way into the tombs there are two channels,one for the tombs and one for the dome. Having clocked the dome my son wanted to go up, and feeling guilty( is that how you're meant to feel in The Vatican) about dragging him round the museum, against my better judgement I agreed to take him up. Again it was a freebie for him and we got the lift up to the first stage and went in above the basilica.
No probs getting to the airport, but Rome Ciampino airport isn't somewhere you want to be stuck for any length of time. Very crowded and a lack of seating, and there was a distinct lack of choice when it came to gettinfg something to eat. Our flight wasn't until 9pm and my son was hungry and we went to look in the one cafe/sandwich bar that is there. Now he like his grub and eats practically anything yet there was nothing there that he would touch. Ended up just getting him something on the plane. Nice smooth flight back to Scotland and no fuss as the car was sitting waiting in the airport car park and we managed home just after midnight.
Give my boy his due, after sitting up and telling his mum a nd sister about the trip, and having been on the go for 3 days, he had the option to stay off school the next day, but he chose to go.
Really enjoyed my time in Rome, and got the major things done. Could maybe have done with another day to look at some of the more obscure bits but quite happy at what we got done. Great place for walking about and soaking uo the atmosphere.