After a later start of 9:15AM, we were on the road again headed to Rome. This time without our faithful coach driver Gabi, who was staying in Florence for a well deserved break.
Once we were in Rome we were dropped off in the city, where Jon, our tour manager, gave us a walking tour around the city. It was boiling, sweltering, sizzling, humid, blazing, high in temperature, anything but the word “hot”. Jon introduced a rule before we started that we weren’t allowed to say the word “hot” otherwise we would have to drop for ten pushups. It was definitely entertaining seeing someone dropping down in the middle of Rome and doing pushups. But, it was bloody hot walking around. We did, however, get to see a lot of the tourist attractions, including the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain, and we finished off with Italian gelato- yummo!
After our walking tour, we had the rest of the afternoon to ourselves. Mel and I decided to join a group of people from our coach that we hadn’t really spent a lot of time with. We all decided to visit the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini, or the Capuchin Crypt. This crypt contains 3,700 skeletal remains of Capuchin friars, and features six rooms decorated elaborately using the skeletal remains as ornaments. It was crazy! We weren’t allowed to take photos, but please Google away as it was amazing and left me in awe.
After the Crypt, we decided to head over to a restaurant where we spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying cocktails, pasta and pizza in the Roman sun. It was a nice to have a lazy afternoon in the sun and getting to know the group we were with.
Back at the accommodation, we of course ended up at the bar where another Contiki group were having their “I love Roma” party. Whilst I was there, it was super chilled with everyone chatting and drinking. I had a couple of drinks, dances,and chats before deciding, with my friend, to head to bed. A few hours later we were woken to Shania Twains “That don’t impress me much”. Next thing I knew one of the boys had climbed through our window onto the bed, while another of the boys walked into the room yelling. We then decided change rooms to the other side where we couldn’t hear the party.
The next morning, our camp site was in ruins. Light poles broken and on the ground, beds on the roof, sheets in the trees, and who knows what else. They definitely followed through with the “When in Roma” motto.
That day we caught two trains into the city, and then walked up to Vatican City, the smallest country in the world. As we were part of a tour we got to skip the massive lines and got straight in. Unfortunately, it was very busy and so very hard to hear our tour guide so I missed out on a lot of the history. Though it was absolutely beautiful, especially the Sistine Chapel.
After touring Vatican City, we had free time until the afternoon. Our tour manager took Mel, Caleb, Steve and myself to a little pizza takeout that he always went to. We ended up sitting on the side of the street with lots of other tourists eating the most delicious pizza. After finishing off the pizza, Caleb left to meet up with some of the others and Jon took the rest of us to a bar he knew right near to Colosseum, where we were meeting everyone. Unfortunately the bar was closed but we were able to use their seating area, and there was a convenience store next door, so we ended up spending the afternoon there, drinking beer and playing dice games in the sun.
At about 4pm, we had to bear the afternoon sun and meet up with the rest of the group for a walking tour of the Roman Forum and the Colosseum. Our tour guide was a older woman, who I actually thoroughly enjoyed listening to, especially when she tried to make a joke. The Colosseum was amazing and exceeded my expectations. Definitely a must for all bucket lists!
After our tour of the Colosseum, we caught the two trains back to the accommodation, where we had dinner, and then our “I love Roma” party. We bought white shirts with “I love Roma” on them and everyone signed each others. Definitely something I will treasure!
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do”