May 8, 2010

Beauty of Roma lives on..

Eurail Swiss night trains are comfortable and offer only bed facility for the night ride. The train staff was Italian and when he asked us to deposit our passports and Eurail passes, we just about freaked out. C’mon, all those stories of Italy!
Symbolic of my Roman Holiday
When we woke up in the morning, the Italian train staff gave us coffee and muffins and returned our passports and Eurail pass. Now, that was a good start. The train had already entered Italy and the first thing I felt was the difference in temperature. So much heat after all the coolness of Swiss. And then I look out, only to find old dirty buildings and loads of people. In a way it reminded me quickly of The Godfather movie. And the heat and people just gave me a ground check of a firang version of India.

We checked into hostel and after quick showers headed to the station area. We were actually searching for a Government guided tour of the city. There were a bunch of them, each claiming to be Government recognized and shouting to be the best. So much of stalking tourists, just like my homeland. And then a second gen
Bangladesh dude (btw there are a lot of them in Italy) sold us the tickets for 2 day city sightseeing tour.
Basillica of Santa Maria Maggiore
First stop of the tour was the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore. We were too lazy to get off at this stop. And the next was the Collesseo. I felt a sudden adrenaline rush for some reason and just jumped off the bus.

The entry to Collesseo was ~15 euros. Now that I think of it, I don’t even know why that was so expensive and I still went in. But then you don’t visit the Roman Collesseo everyday. C’mon I don’t even remember the exact amount now.

Inside is like a museum, with alleys full of history of Vespasian and Titus and Domitian and … It is fun reading the history and checking out all those artifacts. Trust me, do atleast one place of history from every place you visit.
The Roman Forum

Then we walked across the street to the Roman Forum, which is a huge landscape of ruins. The heat had squeezed me all the vital juices I need to probably check out that place. I just quietly hopped on to the next city tour bus that came by.

Roman guards.. photograph please?
The hop off was at Piazza Venezia so we can walk up to the Fontana di Trevi. We walked by Piazza Navona. This one is a very nice and bright square. Be it the monuments, or art market with beautiful paintings sold dirt cheap, or the fountains with nude roman men statues and water coming out of … you know., I just loved Piazza Navona.
We walked to the Pantheon. That’s the old Roman temple which is famous for “I have no idea”. But the church is still operational and the interiors are impressive.

Piazza Navona
Coffee shops on the side walk, Art market in the square, Roman medieval fountains, Old world charm.. Thats Piazza Navona!


Trevi Fountain
Fontana di Trevi is another touristy place. Since I had no clue of the history behind it, I had no clue why so many people thronged around that little fountain. Well, I feel Navona had better men atleast!

Su and I decided to call an Italian food break for ourselves, sat at a sidewalk café and ordered Bruschetta and beer. Slightly expensive but good meal. What else do you expect near a tourist destination?

We dropped into a random church on our walk. It had some really amazing paintings all over the walls and best on the ceiling. Just unbelievable, until I saw the
Vatican ofcourse. But yeah! Churches are the best things about Italy. You can just drop into any one and be amused at the art, even if you have no background of the culture.
Spanish steps.. I wonder what is so Spanish..
Piazza di Spagna, was the next place. The Spanish steps! .. were again over crowded with tourists. We just bought some house wine from a local wine store and went back to the hostel to celebrate with pizzas and pastas. Also bought fruit juice and tried my hands at making Sangria. Excellent dinner!

Info
Visa: Schengen.
And like I always say, if you plan to do a few Schengen countries, apply to the Swiss consulate. The visa turnaround time is 5 days.
Places to Stay:
Hostel Alessandro Downtown
Via Carlo Cattaneo 23
Rome
p. +39 0644340147
f. +39 0644340155
e. downtown@hostelsalessandro.com,
office@hostelsalessandro.com
Internal transport: Walk around Rome. You can also try the City Sightseeing buses and hop by the places you want to see.
Climate:Early summer is quite hot, if you are coming from other European countries. Carry enough water with you always.
Food: Food is the most important part of Italian life. Local Italian food just rocks. Try any side walk cafe. Sit, relax and order Pizza, Pasta, Bruschetta, anything and enjoy!
Language: We didn't have a problem because of the Italian-Bangladesh crowd who spoke English well. Italian works anyway. English should be ok.

13 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. The Trevi fountain was immortalised in this scene. Maybe tourists like it because of that.

    Italy seems fantastic. Really want to go there.

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  3. wow.. i didn't even know this history? What happened to your Europe travel plans?

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  4. I am in Europe now. Travel plans still on hold on account of "I have no money."

    I'm starting work in Germany in October. Maybe sometime after that, I'll save up and go to Italy.

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  5. sounds like a great plan! i see why you chose Germany.. are you also getting married around that time of the year?

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  6. that was lovely! refreshing travelogue!

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  7. fully informative..
    i wish some day i will be able to visit there..

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  8. No no, marriage is late next year or maybe after that. Let's have some fun first. :) "Let's put a smile on that face" thara.

    Well-travelled person aagtidira neevu. Shabash. Blog channagide.

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  9. Rome is very stunning place with lot of wonderful destinations like museums, beaches, hotels, mountains, historical buildings and many wonderful places you can find in Rome.
    Have a nice trip.

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  10. In our case, they just checked our passports & returned it back.
    Oh, I have been to almost all the places you've written about. Well, almost all. :)

    Did you throw a coin in Trevi Fountain as well?

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  11. ofcourse i threw a coin in Trevi. its a sign to return to the place or something of that sort, right?

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