40 hours in Rome!

The Pantheon at night.

The Pantheon at night.

 

DSC_0085 DSC_0095 DSC_0108 DSC_0127 DSC_0142 DSC_0148 DSC_0154 DSC_0175 DSC_0180 DSC_0187 DSC_0194 DSC_0195 DSC_0210This past week, me and my friends decided to go on an impulse trip to Rome. I quickly looked up options on how to get there and was surprised that flights are cheaper than the 5-8 hour train rides! It’s always been my dream to visit Rome and all its wonders so I researched all the places we can visit over the weekend. We were only going to be there for 40 hours so we had to make every second count!

We settled for an easyJet flight that is a little over 100 euro. Compare that to the train tickets that would set us back 170 euro and it was definitely a good deal! As always with traveling, I learn new things each trip and I learned a very valuable lesson on this one. When trying to book flights on low-cost carriers like easyJet, do not hope that the already cheap ticket prices go down as you get sooner to your departure date as it certainly does not work that way. We paid over 40 euro more than we should have because of this. Oh well, lesson learned. I then proceeded to book us a stay at Two Ducks Hostel (I know). The hostel had mixed reviews online but since it was so much cheaper than other hotel options we decided to book it. It also helped that it was within walking distance from the Rome Terminal which is close to all the main attractions of the city.

We spent a whole week anticipating the trip and finally, Friday came. One of the things that I love about low-cost carriers is the speedy check-in. This is another way that they cut costs and with only our carry-on bags, we can print our boarding passes from home! We got to the airport a little over an hour for our flight and soon enough we were off to Rome!

The 50 minute flight landed on time and soon enough, we were off to the train station. The Leonardo Da Cinci Airport (FCO) like most super hubs is connected to the local train station. A one-way ticket to Rome Terminal is 14 euro. It was a rather expensive train ride as it only took about 20 mins but it was really convenient. As soon as we get to the train station, we google mapped our way to the hostel. After a few wrong turns, we finally got to our hostel. Check-in was unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Myself being a hostel rookie, was used to big check-in desks and uniformed concierges. Obviously, this stay was different. There was a small desk and chair in the middle of the hallway where the attendant happily checked us in. The living conditions were worse than in the pictures but the attendant quickly told us that we were staying in a private room in a separate building. After a 2 minute walk, we got to our room which was really not bad for the price we paid. We quickly dropped our bags off to search for something to eat. As we were walking, we met this guy who directed as to the few remaining restaurants that were still open at midnight. The Famiglia restaurant is a very classy restaurant, a stones’ throw away from the Rome Terminal. We were surprised that a nice resto like this would still be open but they even surprised us more with the food they served. I ordered meat spaghetti with lamb chops and I must say, for the price they were asking, this place is definitely worth going. Everything was reasonably priced, the food was great and best of all, all the attendants were really friendly. More on this restaurant later.

After our late dinner, we decided to call it a night as the next day will be our main day to explore. We woke up and after a quick breakfast in the same restaurant (I know, we loved it that much), we were off to the Coliseum. We stopped by a shop selling souvenirs so I bought my obligatory magnet as well as a cheap “Italy” track jacket. After walking for about 10 minutes, we finally see the Coliseum. It was truly a sight to behold. As we walked towards it, we saw the long line to get in. Fortunately, a tour company approached us and asked if we wanted to be part of the tour. The guided tour would take us inside the Coliseum, as well guide as through the Roman Forum. Best of all, the tour skips all the lines! After about 10 minutes, the tour started. Manuela, our tour guide was very knowledgeable about anything Italy and showed us around the massive structure. It was truly amazing to everything inside and makes you wonder how they can accomplish such a marvel thousands of years ago. After about an hour inside, we then walked to the Roman Forums and spent another hour marveling at the ancient arches and buildings.

Me and Nate at the Coliseum.

Me and Nate at the Coliseum.

After all the walking under the scorching sun, we were all drained. We decided to go to the Hard Rock Café Rome (I know, it’s so American.) to cool-off. We ate our early dinner and had some mixed drinks. We then decided to rest up back at the hostel so we can do more exploring later on that night. Our little pit stop turned out to be a 3 hour nap. It was almost 11pm and we were ready to explore some more. After getting a quick bite at La Famiglia, we google mapped our way to Fontana de Trevi. After 10 minutes, we were there. The fountain was well lit at night and made it even more amazing. We learned that people throw in over 3500 euro worth of coins in the fountain daily! Talk about a lot of wishes! We then walked over to the next structure which proved to be my favorite. The only word to describe the Pantheon is EPIC. The massive building was mesmerizing. I spent quite a bit of time just staring at its big pillars and just touching the marble it’s made off. There is something special about the building and I couldn’t take my eyes of it. By this time, it was getting really late and we decided to get a cab back to the hostel.

The next day, we woke up pretty late so we quickly got ready and checked out of our hostel. We took a quick bus ride to the Vatican City. Since it was Sunday, it was free to enter St. Peter’s Basilica and there was long line to get in. We waited for about 30 minutes and soon enough we were inside. This church is by far, the most spectacular church I’ve ever been in. The sheer size, amount of artwork and the excellent condition of the church really amazed me. We spent some time marveling at all the relics that were showcased throughout the church. By this time, we decided that it was time to head to the airport. A quick taxi ride took us there and soon enough we were boarding back to Venice! Our 40 hours in Rome has ended but it was definitely a nice introduction to this amazing city. There is so much to see and explore and I can’t wait to go back! Here are more pictures..

Inside the Colosseum.

Inside the Colosseum.

Cappuccino from our fave resto!

Cappuccino from our fave resto!

Fontana de Trevi.

Fontana de Trevi.

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