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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs tagged Rome

Monday, August 20, 2012

Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 20/08/2012 00:59:17

Happy enough to be leaving Naples, not even the ultra rude family on the train could dampen my spirits as I meandered my way to Rome. Once arriving at the hotel I was given a quick run-down of the facilities which included a free mini-bar that would be refilled daily. Yes indeed, Rome was not to be tarred with the Naples brush as my mood was instantly lifted.

The tell-tale blurry photo of an excited Joel may have been exacerbated by the contents of the open Coke can in the fridge

I have suggested before that hotels do not provided bubble-bath as part of a water-saving conspiracy, clearly my hotel was not on board with this (I went through three bottles over the three days)

With my tourist map in hand (I love the maps you'll find at each city - the ones with local sights sketched in a cartoon style) I went for a quick walk. After a brief stop for lasagne at Caffe Cecere (followed by a gelato) I rounded a corner and found myself at Trevi Fountain. I must say, the sketch on the tourist map doesn't do Trevi Fountain justice - it was quite an incredible sight to see. The circumference of the fountain was absolutely packed with tourists, throwing coins over their left shoulder for luck (before quickly hitting the person in front of them in the right temple - bad is still a form of luck). I splashed at the water, threw in my coins (no collateral damaged for my coin missiles) and continued my walk.

It pleases me greatly that gelato is back to wearing hats. You know what they say: When in Rome, ensure your sweetened desserts are wearing the appropriate head-wear

I still have no idea whatsoever about the history or meaning behind Trevi Fountain - but I sure know how it looks (I'll go with "noice")

The next stop on my afternoon waltz was Area Sacra, an area with typical Roman ruins right next to a no-kill cat sanctuary. This confluence of factors created one of my favourite sights in Rome, cats chilling on ruins. I visited Area Sacra another two or three times during my stay in Rome, one can never get tired of cats lazing about priceless artefacts.

The ancient ruins...

... and the kitty cats they house. I like to imagine that the cats have formed their own republic in line with their location - complete with their own Julius Ceaspurr

My brief tour of the Modern Center and Old Rome was completed by visits to the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and another horse statue, before grabbing some dinner (spaghetti alla carbonara - a dish Rome is known for) and getting an early night.

Another old friend returns in Rome - Harry Sorehoof

Day 2 in Rome was designated Popey Day, or my visit to the Vatican City. I woke up and started my tour early as an attempt to avoid the crowd that was already reaching Bieber proportions by 8 am. We were given a brief description of the history of the Vatican before being taken through the major pieces of art that are housed in this amazing city. The density of art is quite incredible, even more examples of how much power and influence religion has upon the world. Michelango's frescos in the Sisteen Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica were both a bit "meh" as far as I was concerned, both trumped by a beautiful hallway decorated with painted maps of Italy (and all trumped by the Nutella display of course).

The hallway of maps, Google should produce a similar version of their Maps product

Another fresco I quite enjoyed, one of the first to be painted in a night-time setting

Those that know their religious history will remember when it was the cardinal that could eat the most Nutella that would be elected pope

My final day in Rome was to visit the ancient area around the Colosseum and Roman Forum sites that, for once, I actually already know a bit about. In saying that, I mean that I had already seen pictures of the Colosseum and heard stories about the Roman Forum. Even with this uncharacteristic lack of ignorance, this area of Rome still blew me away. Seeing the Colosseum poking his dishevelled head up while I was walking down the street, or stepping on the stones of the Via Sacra (the same stones that would have strained under the wheels of Ceaser's chariot returning from a military victory) filled me with great reverence. I did a quick walk around on my own before joining a tour provided for free by students and couldn't get enough of the history.

I had my head buried in a map trying to determine if I was going the correct way when I saw this fella at the end of the street

A cool looking remnant of the Roman Forum

The inside of the Colosseum. I don't know - I was expecting more Russell Crowes

After a Roman pizza (not as good as the Naples one to be honest) and another gelato, I made my way back home. After waving goodbye to my bath this morning I find myself on the train to Florence. It's lucky I've been walking everywhere considering the amount of pizza, pasta and iced cream I have consumed (hopefully keeping Fat Joel at bay). Is there a common generalisation that Italians are overweight? If there is, I don't particularly recall it (the "Fat American" stereotype is much more apparent). I am currently wedged against the train window by the extremely large-boned Italian male next to me - and I see very chubby Italian boys being spoiled by their mothers each day. I don't blame them - I could get used to all of this delicious food (and will ensure I continue enjoying it while I'm here).

This is the 7th in the EuroJoel - 2012 series
City 1 - Lisbon, Portugal - 2012City 2 - Porto, Portugal - 2012City 3 - Madrid and Toledo, Spain - 2012City 4 - Valencia, Spain - 2012City 5 - Barcelona, Spain - 2012City 6 - Naples, Italy - 2012City 7 - Rome and Vatican City, Italy - 2012City 8 - Florence and Pisa, Italy - 2012City 9 - Milan and Bologna, Italy - 2012City 10 - Venice, Italy - 2012City 11 - Prague, Czech Republic - 2012City 12 - Dresden, Germany - 2012City 13 - Berlin, Germany - 2012City 14 - Legoland, Denmark, 2012City 15 - Edinburgh, Scotland - 2012City 16 - Nice and Monte Carlo, France - 2012City 17 - Lyon, France - 2012City 18 - Dijon, France - 2012City 19 - Provins, France - 2012City 20 - Paris, France - 2012City 21 - Ireland - 2012City 22 - London, England - 2012City 23 - Killarney - Ireland, 2012City 24 - Amsterdam, Netherlands - 2012City 25 - Brussels and Bruges, Belgium - 2012City 26 - Warsaw, Poland - 2012City 27 - Krakow, Poland - 2012City 28 - Vienna, Austria - 2012City 29 - Budapest, Hungary - 2012City 30 - Bucharest, Romania - 2012City 31 - Nile Cruise, Egypt - 2012City 32 - Cairo, Egypt - 2012

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