In Rome, Italy

Last night I arrived in Rome, Italy after a marvellous train journey through the dreamlike beauty of Switzerland with its turquoise blue lakes and towering alps, some of which in the distance were snow-capped despite the summer heat down below anyway. First impressions of Rome were that it was hot, busy and hectic. I couldn´t see much as it was dark so I just caught a taxi to the hostel where I´m staying at. Drivers here are pretty speedy, don´t recognise pedestrain crossings most of the time and constantly beep at each other so be careful out there. I can´t describe how refreshing a cold shower is after succumbing to sudden heat after being used to a cooler European climate elsewhere. It was absolute bliss!
The next day (today) I bought a ticket to Paris for next week as they sell out so quickly, plus return reservations for Venice (where I can use my Eurail Pass). Then I started to walk to the Colosseum with my map of Rome in hand. I also bought a cookie flavoured gelato which was delicious. My first Italian gelato!
I came across a man holding a bunch of brochures and found out he was a Tour Guide on the tour bus company Green Lines Tours. I bought a day ticket to the hop on hop off tour and jumped aboard the double decker open-topped (although some are close-topped) green and silver tour bus. I sat on top of course. Sunscreen and a hat are very important in Italy, especially in summer.
The bus was stopping at many destinations but the ones I got off at were the Colosseum, the Vatican and Trevi Fountain, although I did gaze out at the other sights like the Pantheon and St Maria´s.
Getting off the bus at the Colosseum I was enthralled with the ancient Roman buildings down a path ahead of me, the main one of course being the Colosseum. It is huge! I tried to picture people being punished chased by lions down in the maze-like stones in its centre. Ascending the great stone steps I walked along the inside part and then went outside to marvel at the view, including where the gladiators and people being punished would be in the rocky maze below.

I tried to picture the cheering crowds watching people getting ripped apart mercilessly below. I walked around the whole outside ring, then the whole inside part with informative boards on the Colosseum´s history and so on as well as about ancient Roman artifacts. I also took a squiz in the gift shop just for fun and saw some miniature Roman figures for sale. Then I went outside and got on the tour bus for the Vatican.
What a magnificent building the Vatican is! Flanked by two golden water fountains at the front, plus overlooking statues towering from stone walls on either side, it is a grand sight. It´s tall and domed in one part and white. It´s hard to describe. I saw the balcony where the Pope comes out to greet the ecstatic crowd in the square below.
I sat by both golden fountains and splashed some refreshing cool water over my hands to relieve myself of the heat of the day. I also drank a lemon flavoured lemonade which was delicious. There were loads of people trying to sell us stuff even from the ground when we were on the tour bus and they´re really persistent and will admire your beauty to try to make you buy something from them, giving you a “good deal” so be careful.

I went back on the tour bus and got off at Trevi Fountain where I of course threw a coin in to guarantee my return to Rome. The fountain is absolutely magnificent with white statues on it, including a unicorn and people. It´s very tall and very inviting for a swim with deep looking blue water and water cascading down the fountain that you kind of just want to stand under. However you´re not allowed to swim in it or remove your shirt, as many men may be tempted to do and both women and men to swim. There were police standing guard over the pool and I saw them blow their whistle at someone today to tell them to put their shirt back on. There were people trying to get paid to take your photo or trying to sell you red roses. They´re also very persistent and must be excited about the high summer tourist season. There are certainly a lot of tourists around (like me!) 🙂

Then, after sitting by the magnificent fountain for a while I got on my tour bus again, this time headed home. It dropped me off at Roma Termini Train Station, which is near where I´m staying. I then had my first ever Italian pizza, Pizza Napoli with salty anchovies, cheese and tomato paste, yummy! Then I walked back to my accommodation. What a day! Balissimo! 🙂

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