Nom de Plumage

July 15, 2012

All Things Roma

Last night I met my new roommate. When I arrived back at the hostel, the hostel attendant informed me that my roommate had arrived and was in the living room waiting to meet me. I was greeted with a cheery “G’day” and new straight away that Gayle is an Aussie. Cheerful, fun, outrageous and very likeable, we got on from the very beginning. We talked about our travel adventures over dinner and made plans to spend tomorrow exploring Rome.

The city is, as all major cities, filled to the brim with so many sights to see. To narrow it down and cram as much as we could in a day, was no small feat. Unfortunately, Gayle wanted to visit the ancient ruins and the colosseum, but I had seen that yesterday and was keen to explore something new. She was very accommodating and we decided to visit the Vatican first up.

We arrived in the city and walked towards the Vatican. The walk was like navigating your way through a minefield. Enthusiastic ‘tour guides’ kept stopping us, offering us special deals to view the Vatican and it’s museum. One guide was an Aussie and when he heard our accent he became more friendly and trying even harder to get our business. It was tempting and he was very nice, but the price was still outrageous. So we politely declined and continued towards the Vatican. The line to get into the museum was ridiculous, it was more than one hundred metres long. Well, the Vatican’s line was even longer. We would have waited, but the rain was a great deterrent, so we moved on.


Palazzo Novano is a stunning rectangular square, dominated by a beautiful fountain that is every bit Italian. Stunning muscular ‘Gods” scantly clad, majestic animals and flowing water, all make it a very popular fountain. It was here that we found a quaint cafe of no great merit. Looks can be deceiving and what they lacked in decor, they made up in abundance with their food. A two course set menu of brushetta and  creamy gnocchi, accompanied by red wine and followed by an espresso. Simple, delicious and every morsel Italian. We decided on stopping at a gelateria for dessert – chocolate, creme caramel and panna cotta.


Rome has it’s own version of the Pathenon. It is nowhere as stunning as the one in Paris and the fact that it is under renovations, takes away even more of its appeal.   The outer facade is a dark dirty stone, but once you enter the huge carved wooden doors, the atmosphere changes and the interior is stunning in it’s marble and stone ornaments, carvings and statues.


When you walk through the narrow streets of Rome, you discover little treasures and unusual buildings that surprise and delight you. But all of it so exciting because as we continued our walking tour, we found  the most beautiful treasure of them all -Trevi fountain.   Firstly, I have to write that it was not situated as I expected. It is against a wall and there are concrete stairs that represent seats surrounding the fountain. But when you look past all that, what is left is truly amazing. It is a very popular tourist destination, that to try and get a photo not obscured by people, is rare. At the time that Gayle and I were there, a famous Italian man was being interviewed. Have no idea who he was, but I upset the camera man when Gayle was directing me into position for a photo and unwittingly into his shoot. He was trying to shoo me out of the shot, but I just smiled. I can only hope that I was not cut from the final reel and made the Italian news that night?



The Spanish Steps are just that -steps. But it is the surrounding area that is the real attraction. I am an avid lover of all things books, so it was a wonderful surprise to see two museums dedicated to two very famous English poets; Keats and Bryon. Unfortunately, Gayle did not share my enthusiasm and so I regrettably missed viewing them. There is also a wonderful cafe just down the road from the museums, that both poets would daily have their coffee there. Beautiful, posh, elegant and very expensive, we could only enter to have a quick look, but did not dare have a drink there in fear of depleting our savings. It is an area synonymous with wealth and elegance. We then walked up the Spanish Steps for a wonderful overlook of the area and continued our way exploring before we arrived at our final destination for the day; the Republicca. A beautiful piazza with hotel, cafes, restaurants and McDonalds’s (as there always is), but for us both, it was the round-a-bout that was the clincher. Hilarious to watch cars manoeuvre their way round it, trying to get through it without crashing and that is no small feat. The sun was slowly starting to go down and the Roma train station was nearby, so we made our way there and onwards to our hostel for dinner and an early night, for tomorrow would be an even greater and more exciting adventure.




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