Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Eternal Rome-ance - Day 1



Colosseum

Rome and Florence                                                            Italy

Thursday 17th July 2014

This was the journey I had been waiting a long time for; the eternal city of Rome. I was super excited knowing I was returning to the beautiful country of Italy with more wondrous things to see and do. However this time I would take a flight to the capital city instead of a coach trip like my first travels to Lake Garda. I woke up at 3:00am and was soon up and ready by the time my grandfather picked me up. After saying my goodbyes to my parents, we set off for Newcastle airport in quick succession. My anticipation built up once I arrived at the airport, checked in and arriving into the departure lounge. I played over my mind at the fact that I was travelling to Rome imagining the marvellous sights of the colosseum, Roman forum and Vatican City. A while had passed until it was finally time to board the plane. I sat at the window seat right next to the left wing and then my heart began to beat faster as there was no turning back once we made our way to the runway. Then the plane accelerated and vibrated and before I knew it we took off. I closed my eyes hoping the plane would stay in the air but then I opened my eyes to look out of the window. It was spectacular to be so high with the view of the rising sun over my hometown in the distance waving farewell with the thought of Rome still in my mind and heart. I had my music on throughout the journey in the air and I couldn’t believe how quickly we flew over to the Swiss Alps. I kept thinking about the amount of time it took me to get to this point on the coach trip in March. I felt so relaxed on the flight and loved staring out of my window watching the clouds fly by. Then the call came out saying 10 minutes to Fiumicino airport. I remember my first sight of Rome as we were landing which was the large dome of St Peters basilica far to the East. My excitement built up finally being in Italy once more but I had to put my thinking cap now to successfully get my luggage and transport to the hotel which thankfully went perfectly well without a hitch. I prepaid for a driver to take me to my hotel in Rome and it was a relief once I found the driver holding up my name. The driver however was a bit mad and I got my first taste of Rome’s’ driving and traffic. Despite the fact of it being chaotic with everyone trying to get to the front of the traffic it somehow worked. A long time went by and eventually, I arrived at my hotel. I was staying in Hotel Cilicia which was located on the outer area south of the city walls. However, there was a problem when I got there. My room was not ready for me to go in yet so I had to wait another 2 hours. In the meantime though I sat down and had my first large Italian pizza to myself at a nearby restaurant which was fantastic. I also took a small walk along to San Giovanni in Laterano; the present cathedral of Rome. It was magnificent once I walked inside admiring the huge columns supporting the monstrous structure getting my first taste of Italian culture on this journey.2 hours went by quickly and finally I received my keys for my room. It looked very homely once I walked into the cool room so I decided to unpack my rucksack there and then. I rang my cousin Lauren to see where she was and where to meet her in Rome. She and her friend Gemma had been travelling around Italy for the past month and as luck would have it they were arriving in Rome on this day. We settled on meeting at the Colosseum as soon as possible. I left the hotel following my map to the Colosseum knowing how weird it would be to see my cousin in this great city. After passing the southern gateway into Central Rome, the first place I came across on the journey was the Terme di Caracalla which was a spectacle to see which made me wonder what it looked like in its prime. It was a very long walk afterwards but then I caught my first sight of the main attraction; the Colosseum. It was massive and an absolute beauty to see. I couldn’t stop staring at it looking at it in great detail coming to terms that I was amongst ancient history. I then rang Lauren again to find out where she was and before I knew it; there she was with her friend Gemma standing out from the thousands of people in the area. Small world I kept thinking as we hugged and headed into the Colosseum. We had to wait in a long line to get in but it was worth it as when we got to the central part, my jaw dropped as I was overwhelmed by the immense size and heritage of the building. Everything was perfect as we explored the Roman arena until a dark cloud crept over the Colosseum. Without a warning the thunder and lightning began with torrential rain. We couldn’t believe what we were witnessing with flashes of light along with the arena echoing the thunder through the building which was extreme. Lauren and Gemma weren’t fond of the weather but I thought it was quite a thrill to be honest. Eventually, the rain had subsided and we were soon out of there and onto the next location. The next place was the roman forum which was a marvellous sight to see just thinking how much history there was in the area. At the end of that road we came across the Mercati di Traiano which I had seen a lot of on the TV. Yet again it was a wonder to see with its old pillars and unique layout revelling in its history again. After taking a few pictures we decided to have our tea together at one of the many restaurants in Rome. We went into the first one we could see and sat down with Tony macaroni as our waiter without a clue what the restaurant was called. I didn’t care of that though but only cared about the wonderful food they had to offer. I decided to have my first lasagne on this journey and it failed to disappoint as it tasted exquisite. After sharing stories of Italy experiences with my cousin, we headed to the infamous Trevi fountain. It was quite a walk from the restaurant we were at but as we got there, we were really disappointed as the whole fountain was covered in scaffolding with the fountain completely empty. Despite this it was still nice to witness this beautiful sculpture. It was time to head back to the Colosseum but not before seeing one of many spray paint artists at work. He was really good at what he was doing and seemed as though he cared a lot about his work so I bought one of his wolf paintings. It was getting quite late at this point when we returned to the Colosseum still amazed I was standing right next to this building. We said our goodbyes wishing them a great few days they had in Rome with me taking the long walk back to my hotel. Without any bother I arrived and was soon in my bed which was surprisingly comfortable. It felt great finally getting my feet off the floor with the air con blasting through the vents. It eventually hit me that I was in Rome and I got excited about what to expect over the coming days.

Flight Over the Swiss Alps

San Giovanni in Laterano

Inside San Giovanni in Laterano


Inside San Giovanni in Laterano


Colosseum

Colosseum

Arco di Costantino

Horse and Cart


Roman Forum

Mercati di Traiano

Mercati di Traiano

Mercati di Traiano

Roman Ruins

Spray Paint Artist
Gemma, Me and Lauren

Gemma, Lauren and Me

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