Culture, Interrailing

2 Fat Ladies Euro Tour 2015: When in Rome…

August 9, 2015

This is where the 2 Fat Ladies all began…

Ok so a bit of backstory. After completing one of the toughest grad schemes (Teach First) my housemate and I decided to treat ourselves to a real holiday. “But you’re teachers?!” I hear you ask. Well good teachers don’t really get good holidays. You see, despite having a considerable amount of time ‘not in the office’ so to speak, teachers are always doing something work related (if not physically then mentally) whether it be revising a seating plan, doing a mid term plan or, my personal favourite, marking… That is all until the golden 6 week summer holidays. This is when teachers really get their dues. This is where the haggard, frazzled and borderline crazy phoenixes are reborn and leave the biscuit throwing, effing this and effing that pupils behind.

Which is exactly what we’re doing! (minus the phoenix rebirth, I mean we’re good but not that good). For 16 days we’re going interrailing through Italy, Germany and The Netherlands, and of course we started in the heart of the Roman Empire: Rome.

After a long journey via Amsterdam we finally arrived on the tarmac in Rome’s Fiumicino airport only to be instantly hit by the intense Roma heat. It’s a good job we decided to treat ourselves on our ‘real’ holiday and go for a room with a jacuzzi! I personally felt incredibly guilty when booking the higher end hotel, but that all evaporated as quickly as the sweat on my back. Thanks to some dodgy experiences of cheaper, or normal priced, hotels in various capital cities I’m glad we went for Hotel Ponte Sisto. Such a perfect location for our 3 day adventure, and I guess the rooftop bar was OK too…

 

Italy is somewhere that’s been on both our bucket lists ever since we were little so naturally first impressions were important. And wow did they not disappoint. Seeing the Vatican lit up at night for the first time was simply magical and the Colosseum was everything I thought it’d be from the real sense of history to the spectacular views (apart from the smell of faeces in the queue, maybe it added authenticity?). What did spoil the atmosphere was the amount of dressed up Roman soldiers forcing themselves onto anyone stupid enough to stay too close to them (aka us). See the €5 photos below. What’s more as soon as they realise you’re British you get “Inghilterra fish and chiiiips” or a proclamation of their undying love for you. Fortunately most of this was aimed at my housemate as apparently I’m Spanish…

 

As we retraced the steps of time we explored Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum which were by far my favourite. I loved the history of it all at school and with the amount of films and TV shows that refer to Roman culture and events I felt a real connection with it. My favourite ruin was the Tempio di Saturno as I could imagine what it would’ve been like in its hey day, unlike the majority of the stumps around which were much harder to put into context. Unfortunately the abundant scaffolding on many of the infamous monuments also made it harder to imagine what they currently look like, never mind their original glory! Also the various advertisements included were particularly pleasing to the eye, and added that something extra to the photos as you can see…

 

During the evenings we discovered a lot of modern Rome that seamlessly blended in with the old. We came to the decision that the best places are those that you stumble upon (in this case the Trastevere area) but sometimes TripAdvisor is just a necessity for good quality cuisine when certain members of the group are hangry! Did you know that you can download city maps for use offline? It’s proven to be an invaluable tool when travelling adhoc.

 


So to Florence it now is. If we ever get there… In the haste of getting the next train, we didn’t check the calling points. So we’re now 3 and a half hours into a 4 hour journey (which could have been a one and a half hour journey) so interrailing tip #1 check your train schedule!

See you in a couple of days for Pisa and Florence’s adventures…

Arrivederci!

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