Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ITALY Rome | Day 4

When in Rome...
My favorite picture we took of the Colosseum
DAY 4: We packed our bags in the morning and were so sad to leave Sorrento, but also excited for our next destination – the ancient city of Rome! We had one last amazing breakfast at our hotel with our gorgeous view of Sorrento and Mt Vesuvius.  We took a taxi down to the train station {we walked down there to catch our bus the day before and decided it wouldn’t make sense to lug our luggage for the 25 minute walk}.  I had a circumvesuviana schedule from one of the books in the hotel but the times didn’t exactly match up. We wanted to be sure that we made our connecting train from Naples to Rome, so we left with plenty of time. Riding the circumvesuviana was much hotter this time {about 10 am} than when we had initially taken it to Sorrento {about 3:30 pm}.  As soon as the train showed up, about 25 minutes before schedule, everyone rushed to get into it at once. So, we thought we should try and get a good seat {facing the direction that the train was going} and we followed the masses and got on. Every few minutes it sounded like the train started up the engine and was ready to leave the station, but then it turned off again. Finally, just about on schedule {and after 25 minutes of waiting in the blistering hot weather}, the train departed. 

Side story: Oh, the “hot” weather comment reminds me of my hair dilemmas. Before our trip I was trying to figure out how I could use my hair straightener/flat iron in Europe. I am pretty much obsessed with keeping my hair straight almost all the time. Occasionally if I am lazy, I don’t straighten it but I’m pretty religious about doing it.  I researched online before our trip that you virtually cannot use a voltage converter with appliance that produces heat because of the difference in the voltage systems {US is basically double the voltage as Europe}.  I read horror stories of people ruining their straighteners or worse yet, starting fires or blowing fuses. I was not about to be THAT GIRL. My friends encouraged me to go curly, but I hate my curly/wavy/messy hair and I just don’t feel pretty when its styled like that. I was planning to purchase a flat iron in Italy that was made with the Europe plug, but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. The one I wanted {ghd} is really expensive and I couldn’t justify that and I wasn’t sure if the mini-flat irons would do the trick. They were only 25 euros, so I didn’t think they would work that well.  I ended up either blow drying my hair and putting it into a high ponytail or wearing it in a sock bun every. single. day. It wasn’t that bad, but when I was waiting at the Paris CDG airport {on the last day of our trip}, I saw someone with sleek, silky straight hair and I was so jealous. I officially missed my flat iron. That is one thing that I was looking forward to again – straight hair.

OK, back on track. So, we got on our train at Naples with no issues {yay, we conquered the train station, which actually is really easy once you get the hang of it}. Once we arrived in Rome, we caught a taxi to Hotel 47.  

Hotel 47 at night
Our room {with welcome presecco}!
Our very own personal patio

I really like the taxi lines that the drivers all park in so that you aren’t hailing a cab or waiting for one, you just look for the taxi line and hop in the first one in the taxi queue.  Brilliant! After we checked in at our hotel, our concierge gave us a huge, overwhelming map of Rome and we tried to get our bearings. Wow, out of all the cities we visited, Rome was the hugest and most confusing to figure out.  We hadn’t really had lunch, so we were starving, but wanted to get started sightseeing, {I had planned for us to see 3 sites our first day – I know, pretty ambitious}.  We started walking to what we thought was the Colosseum but ended up to be something else completely {I think it was one of the Forums}. That was another thing that surprised us – there was so much to look at! Every building looked so important, and we wanted to go inside everything we saw, just to learn more about what the heck it was.  I haven’t talked about my feet yet in Rome. They were killing me. I thought that a “travel day” would allow me to rest more since I would be on the trains sitting down, but my feet were still terribly sore. I took some aspirin and continued to wear my Merrill’s {I didn’t want to wear white tennis shoes with my dress!}.  Anyway, we ended up stopping at a vendor truck for some sandwiches and water – frizzante/con gas/sparkling! I am never drinking regular water again. More on that later. We bought the Roma Pass (25 euros each) from the TI behind the Colosseum and it turned out to be a great deal – we got to skip the line at our first two sites. 

Jake with some sculpture heads at the Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum
I promise I am not photoshopped in!

Do I look like I am in pain? Because I was!

The Colosseum was amazing! It was so grand and easy to visualize in its heyday {with gladiators fighting each other and killing animals}. I really liked seeing it in person. It was probably the most famous site that we saw on our entire trip.  Next, we tried to find the Forum and ended up walking right past it.  Ooops. It’s kind of hidden and hard to find.  We joked that we were expecting to see a huge blinking sign {in true ugly American style pointing us to exactly where the entrance was}.   We did go into Curia (Senate House) which was pretty impressive, but it would tough to visualize that most of the rubble in the outside square was once a huge forum.  I’m glad I saw it, but was kind of disappointed. Maybe it was because I was so cranky due to my feet throbbing. 

Forum: Arch of Septimius Severus (I think)
What's left of the Roman Forum

Then, we walked {barely} to the Pantheon which might be my favorite sight of the day.  It was like we turned the corner, and BAM! It was right there. So unassuming, but the marble columns were so huge, bigger than anything I had ever seen, just amazing to see in person. They had just closed ☹ so we didn’t make it inside, which I have heard is beautiful. I’ve heard comparisons between its interior style and the Baptistery in Florence {which we did visit}.  

The Pantheon
For scale (it has the biggest columns in Italy - from Egypt)
Fountain outside the Pantheon

Next, we took a taxi to Da Bafetto for dinner. We thought we had made a reservation but we were seated without it and then later figured out that there were 2 locations and we went to the other one.  We shared a pizza called “da bafetto” which had an over easy egg on it – sounds gross, but it was delicious! 

Da Bafetto Pizzeria
Da Bafetto pizza
We bought gelato next door to the restaurant, ate it as we walked through a square and took a taxi back to our hotel.  We had a complementary bottle of champagne waiting for us in our room, so we opened that and celebrated our 1st night in Rome {and I rested my feet again}.

1 comment:

  1. Haha you and your flat iron... You know I love your curly hair! :)