I will have to do these posts in parts, due to the mass of information and things to see.
Day 1 – I left Sorrento, I really didn’t want to go and leave paradise for another city. I was worried Rome would be like Napoli was on my first day. However I was not going to come this far and miss Rome. It’s Rome!!
My train from Napoli to Rome was a bargain at €11. Everything on either side was over €40. Yes it meant mine took longer but so what! I wasn’t in a hurry. I was in the carriage with another female solo traveller from Spain and a group of three girls from Thailand. Haha guess we all thought the same thing.
Arrived in Rome and navigated my way through the crowds to the Metro line A. Then onto a bus at the Cornelia station. This was the directions given by the hostel and they were good. I was tired and had to stand on the packed bus carrying my heavy pack but it’s fine. All part of travelling.
I checked into my hostel (Plus Camping Roma) and found my room. This place is different to others as it’s mostly a campsite. They have permanent cabins which they book out for a few euros a night. They’re decent enough with own bathroom, hot shower and space for bags. I had no roomie tonight which suited me as I just wanted to chill. Travel weary from my train journey.
Day 2, I changed my mind about wanting to go to the Vatican and decided on the Colosseum. Wednesdays are insanely busy at the Vatican since the Pope does his public speech so everyone flocks to the Centre for a bit of enlightenment.
Armed with my Roma Pass ( for €36 i highly recommend as you get sweet deals and can skip the lines) I was set off on the bus again. Then met a couple from NZ at the metro line who are also staying at the campsite. They were going to the Colosseum too so I tagged along. We had to catch metro A and then change to metro B but it went smoothly. Once you walk out the train station you are smacked with the giant Colosseum in your face. It’s just right there!!!! People everywhere I wasn’t going to grab my phone out in a hurry to take pics a use I wanted to see it with my eyes and not through a lens. Also, my hand was on my bag firmly gripping the zip section so I wouldn’t get robbed.
We weaved our way in, met some American tour guides who said they had a group going which was cool and laid back. €13 for me (as my roma pass allowed free entry to the site) and €25 for Sam and Anna each. We met our guide who gave us light brief information in a laid back interesting way. He didn’t overload us or bore us. He asked questions to see if we knew anything about it, and to make it interesting rather than information overload. But mostly, we got a good deal. We were able to wander around for 30 mins or so, so that’s what we did. In the freaking colosseum! Imagine fresh red blood from the gladiators and animals staining the floor (which sadly no longer exists) contrasted with the white Saharan sand to soak it all up, the rowdy crowd cheering them on. Thumbs sideways if they want the loser saved. Down or cut the neck movement if they want them killed. Pretty brutal times. Sort of like a All Blacks vs Wallabies game.
Afterwards, we were to meet “Chad from California” at the Arco di Constantino who was to be our guide for Palatino. He was hilarious, he had a passion for history (having just finished his masters in Roman history -sign me up!) and made it fun to learn. He pointed out the different places and gave a light explanation for all. He described the scenario so we could imagine it. Wow! What an amazing place this was! It would have been HUGE! I’m starting to think the early Romans were giants because everything was oversized. Things haven’t changed over the centuries. The rich still show off their wealth by building huge houses they don’t really need. Constantly competing with their peers on who’s got more stuff.
We said goodbye to Chad. he was off to do another couple of tours (ours was the 4th hour-long chat he had done that day and it was 12pm, poor guy).
Anna, Sam and I had a wander around the Roman Forum. We were hungry but didn’t speed through like one would imagine. We took interest in the sites and jointly agreed that it would have been insane to live back in those times but we’d love to do it for just a day. Also, how horrible it would have been for anyone with short legs as the steps were so high!
We reached the main roads (after getting confused with how to get out of the forum). Chad had told us about the great food in the Jewish Ghetto. He had a rule with food in rome. Then away from any tourist site. Walk 3 blocks, down 3 side streets and only pay €3 for a pizza. The power of 3!
It started to rain, like really rain and sadly we couldn’t make it to the Jewish ghetto without getting drenched so we found a place who had decent priced pizza. Wasn’t as expensive as the other places we had seen but wasn’t cheap either, it also wasn’t the best. Still it was reassuring that there were Italians eating in with us.
Time to leave, running through the narrow streets dodging puddles and trying to avoid slipping over (the cobble stones are very slippery when wet). We made it to the bus stop which would take us back to the metro. Time to head back to the camp. It was an awesome day and even though we were freezing and soaked to the bone. We had fun!
I was so happy I could have a hot shower and defrost. Time to chill out in my room, just me and my new roomie from Hong Kong who is also a solo female traveller. There’s a lot more of us than I realised.
More on the next day shortly.