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Published: September 24th 2010
Arrived in the evening after a 4 hour train journey from Pisa, which I enjoyed as I was the only one in the carriage and was singing along to the tunes on my ipod!
Found the hostel nice and easily and bedded down in a mostly male, yet clean, dorm.
In the morning, it was yet another gorgeous day and my first stop was the forums which were fascinating. Then the Collusseum which was even more so! I was awestruck and got some amazing pics (please see). I also saw the Vittorio Emmanuelle Monument which was so impressive, the Trevi Fountain which was swarmed with tourists, Spanish steps, Quirinale and Piazza Popolo. My feet suffered that day! Met an aussie called Shane and brazillian guy called Anderson back at the hostel and we went to see the main sights (Collusseum, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and Vittorio Emmanuelle Monument) all lit up at night and it was stunning, particularly the collusseum. The Trevi Fountain was still swarming though.
On the second day me and Shane took the underground to the Vatican. We were immediately harrassed by tour touts spouting off prices starting at 45 euros. We briefly joined onto a
tour group after being told 20 euros where we got some really good background info, and promptly left that tour group when we got to the payment office when it suddenly went up to 40 euros. Hmmm. At least we got took to the entrance to the museums and got a fair amount of info e.g. the obilysk in the centre of St Peter's Square was apparently the last thing St Peter saw before he died. I was less convinced that this obilysk was stolen from Egypt because I have been led to believe that there are only 3 of these in the world - in Paris, London and New York. The brash American tour guide said this obylisk was scrubbed of its hyroglyphics to make it purer. Also learned that when you cross into St Peter's Square, you're actually crossing into a different country with no restrictions (Vatican City). The tour guide pointed out where the pope resides and told us that he used the tunnel leading from his quarters to Castel St'Angelo when he was in danger for his life. Furthermore, Michaelangelo who designed the dome on the Bascilla was told to make it bigger than the pantheon's
and its magnificent dome
dome, but he disobeyed these orders and made it one metre smaller out of respect. We also saw some of the swiss guards who protect the pope. Being a student, it actually only cost me 8 euro to get into the Vatican, which is a 32 euro saving on what I would of paid if I had joined that tour 😊 Lesson - do not trust anyone trying to get you to join a tour. If the price seems too good to be true, it is! But if you don't have to pay until later on then by all means do it as you'll gain some valuable info 😊 Really really regret not going into St Peter's Bascilia though! Only reason I didn't go was because Shane wasn't keen on going (PRIME EXAMPLE OF WHY TRAVELLING SOLO IS SO MUCH BETTER) after seeing photos of the view from the top of the dome 😞 Oh well there's always next time, and besides we saw the Sistine Chapel.
We then walked to Castel St Angelo and Ponte St Angelo, which is a pretty pedestrian bridge which used to be known as 'the bridge of Saint Peter' as it was used
by people going to the Bascilla and was completed in 134 AD, crossing the River Tiber, the third longest river in Italy. The sky was starting to look really murky.
We walked to Piazza Navona which was so pretty with its 3 fountains and traditional market. We got some gelato and me and Shange argued over the correct pronunciation of 'yoghurt'. He thinks it's 'yow-gurt' but I know it's 'yogurt'. We then walked to our last sight - the lovely pantheon which was commissioned originally as a temple to the gods BC and rebuilt in 126 AD. It's one of the oldest standing church in the world and is incredibly well preserved. The Kings of Italy Vittorio Emanuele II and Umberto I, as well as Umberto's Queen, Margherita are buried here. I love ruins and ancient shiz! 😊
We finished our sight seeing just before it started pissing down with rain! Happy days!
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