When in Rome

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A couple of days ago we arrived in Rome.

Rome is an incredible place – they’ve managed to build a city around runes and monuments that are thousands of years old. Most of the roads are cobble-stone which make for a very bumpy bus ride from site-to-site and it doesn’t matter where you go, it’s impossible not to see something that is at least 10 times the age of anything we have in Australia.

Although the beauty of the city is only found within the main CBD (if you can call it that as it’s probably more accurately described as the Central Monument District as opposed to Business District). We are staying about 8k’s outside town (at Rebibia which is the last stop on the Metro train line).

Out here, it’s hard to find a wall, seat, tree, bin, train (or anything else that can be grafittied) that isn’t graced with some form of urban artwork. The locals look a lot more like the type of people you would find in the Ipswich (back at home, not over here in the UK) mall and when we went to a local pizzeria for dinner it was quite a cultural experience (and I don’t mean in a Gregory Peck / Audrey Hepburn ‘Roman Holiday’ way).

Yesterday we checked-out the Colosseum, the Roman Forums, the Pantheon (which took us a while to get to since we jumped on the right bus number, just going in the wrong direction, so we took the scenic route through via the outer suburbs and back again) and then we legged it over to the Trevi Fountain.

Today we got-up early to enjoy the breakfast provided by our dodgy hotel which consists of sweet rolls (basically supermarket packet croissants with lemon custard), or a small selection of other little cheap packet cakes and stale bread. I’m convinced our room shouldn’t even be a room and prior to us arriving they cleared-out a storage area and pushed a couple of single mattresses together to make a double-bed… but it’s still tidy and cheap, so I can’t complain too much.

Then we headed into Vatican City and saw St Peter’s Basilica, enjoyed the tail-end of a church service being conducted by the Pope himself (due to the crowds of people we couldn’t get inside the chruch, buy the whole thing was televised on huge monitors just outside, so we could see and hear everything that was going on) and then we headed into the Vatican Museum that leads onto the Sistine Chapel.

The Sistine Chapel is beatiful but you cannot see it unless you go through the whole museum first and the museum is rather large, has lots of stairs and takes a lot of winding through various coridors of old artwork (that in most cases is quite beautiful) but after a while looking at random pieces of religous art by artists I’m not familiar with gets a little tedious. That being said, there are some absolutely amazing corridors that lead to the chapel and some of the work is incredible… it’s just sad that there is so much (in my untrained artistic point-of-view) other boring stuff surrounding it.

We then cruised down to the EUR, Mussolini’s Fascist architecture suburb of Rome. The only problem was that I have no idea what Fascist architecture looks like, so we wandered around for a while and then came home again. Since being online back at the hotel, I’ve Googled ‘Fascist Architecture’ and found a few examples of what we should have seen, but must not have ventured far enough into the EUR, but no great loss… we’ve seen so many amazing things in the last couple of weeks that on Fascist building doesn’t even come close 🙂

Tomorrow night we’re catching the night train back up to Paris and will stay there for one night and catch-up on a few of the sites we missed the first time. Then it’s up to Calais to catch a ferry across to the Cliffs of Dover.

Will hopefully get a chance to do another update from France (most likely via the mobile phone on a train somewhere), but if not, you’ll hear from me again when I’m back in the UK.

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