06.21.2012 - 06.22.2012
“Rome, Rome, thou art no more As thou hast been! On thy seven hills of yore Thou sat'st a queen.”
I flew into Rome from Leipzig airport with my friend Aakash on Thursday night on a cheap Ryanair ticket (this was an experience in itself, traveling on an airline that has sponsors). Once I reached Rome Ciampino airport, I took a bus to the Rome Termini train station which is in the city center. The airport is actually about 30 km in the outskirts of the city. First impressions of Rome - a huge city, with a rather colorful and non-european flavor. It was very unique, not like other European cities that I've seen. I guess this is probably the reason why it's considered to be the most beautiful metropolis and attracts millions of tourists every years. Right from the beginning, I start seeing all these ruins, nicely preserved for the public to see. They were splendid! we reached the train station and after half an hour of trouble, figured out our way to hostel. We met up with a few friends from France GT Lorraine, and then headed out for the first Italian dinner. Ravioli. Yum! I was pretty tired and kinda sick, so I came back from the dinner and got some rest, while Sid and Aakash went to see the night view of the Colosseum, which I'm sure was splendid.
Second day, we start our tour with a visit to Colosseum, which was closed unfortunately due to some strikes. However, I'm satisfied with the outside view of it. It was amazing. I am just amazed that these things are still preserved. The architecture was so detailed, it almost surprises me how did they get all these ideas back in the day. After the Colosseum, we just went around the city, got to see Trevi fountain, a few other ruins, Roman Forums, Pantheon, Vatican city and what not. It really was a long and hot day in Rome, we covered quite a bit of it though, so I'm happy. However, Rome requires at least 3 days if you want the full experience. We did a hop-on hop off tour to cover Vatican City, since it's a little far from other stuff. This allowed us to see Spanish Steps and a couple of other things too. We also saw the expensive shopping district of Rome, where brands like Prada, Armani, etc. were thriving. Rome was a great experience overall, and I am definitely wanting to make a second visit there sometime, hopefully to see everything in more detail since for me "Rome was not traveled in a day". Pardon me for that bad joke, but I just wanted to say it so badly haha.
We headed off to Florence that night, and Venice was the plan for next day! Woooot!