My time is Sorrento was such an amazing experience, I was actually disappointed to be returning to Rome. Again I would stay at Camping Roma but this time I had arranged to stay in a cabin and not a tent.
Camping Roma is part of the Plus Hostel chain that can be found throughout Europe. The Roman establishment is located 40 minutes out of the city if taking public transport. There is also a daily shuttle bus to Vatican City and finally for those less likely to explore there are also swimming pool and bar facilities. The best thing about this place is that if you stay in one of their tent beds, it is about eight euro’s a night. The Cabins and bungalow’s are quite a step up from the camping facilities.
The clad walled cabin I stayed in was reminiscent of a caravan park with the essentials. Thankfully one of those essentials was air conditioning. The cabin has three beds and a private bathroom. As for the room size, there was enough space for two beds and a small desk. The third bed was more of an afterthought and was perched mid way up a wall above the desk. That was my bed.
Since I was back fairly late from the Busabout’s Italian Adventure, there was to be no sight-seeing upon arrival. Instead, the evening was enjoyed beside the pool catching up with people I’d met in other cities that just that day arrived in Rome.
So onto the adventure. I joined Kuralay the following day to explore the city. Kuralay was one of the people already in the three bed share room. She is a wonderful free spirit that has a flair for adventure. Also interested in photography and just taking in what the world has to offer, she was happy to have me tag along for the day.
We decided to go to the Vatican Museum. I hadn’t been to the Vatican City yet so I was a little excited to be going. We took public transport to the Cipro metro station. One thing I will say about Italian Metro trains, they are way more comfortable than the French Paris Metro. I still remember how dark and eerie I found the Paris metro.
So we got to Cipro and thankfully Kuralay had already done the research to get to the Vatican museum. It wasn’t a long walk at all and since we got there a little early, we didn’t have to wait too long in line before going inside. The Vatican museum is one of the most amazing demonstrations of opulence I have ever seen. I could not have envisaged just how amazing this place was. The endless sculptures and immaculately decorated rooms are just mind-boggling. If you wanted to see all of the tourist accessible areas, you need a week… at least. So needless to say I got just a mere glimpse of the museum.
The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around Rome, We went to the Spanish Steps as it was one of my photo challenges. It’s great to have someone who can enjoy a bit of craziness and doesn’t mind me acting a bit like a fool.
Something that must be said about Rome, since it’s billed as being a romantic city, street hawkers will urge you to buy all sorts of trinkets and associated paraphernalia. Obviously being at the Spanish Steps, They like to sell roses. As we approached the steps, we had been approached by at least three men trying to sell fake roses. One of them had the nerve, after being refused a sale, to simply hand Kuralay a rose and say its a gift. then after we walked a few metres he taps me on the shoulder (as if she wouldn’t notice) and ask for payment.
Kuralay just turned to him looked him in the eye and said No, handed the rose back to him and said go away! I must admit even I had the chills down my back. So he walked away, then returned and tried handing her the entire bunch! I swear they just don’t have any shame. She simply threw the roses back in his face. Needles to say, he didn’t come back!
We quickly completed the photo challenge and left.
It was about this time where I realized that we were in Italy and hadn’t had Gelato yet! So we headed to Piazza Navona, the artists square. The square used to be a stadium for chariot races and shows of athleticism. It was laid out in the fifteenth century and to this day retains its oval shape. It now has three beautiful fountain statues and is now occupied daily with artists selling their work. A lot of the pieces are simply incredible and had I not been backpacking, would have purchased a few for myself. We explored the square, had our gelato and sat on the fountains edge. It was at this time that we made our way back to the Vatican via the Castle of St. Angelo.
Approaching the castle we crossed the Tiber river along Hadrian’s Bridge now known as the Ponte Saint Angelo. It makes for a wonderfully impressive view of the structure. Perhaps if I find my self in Rome again, I will spend more time in the buildings and not simply walking past. But there really is only so much you can squeeze into a day.
From the castle we walked along Via della Conciliazione to St. Peters square. It’s an obscure experience seeing stores that sell the latest in Catholic garments. Whether you are a Nun Priest, or Pope, this is your religious equivalent to a high street.
St. Peters square is amazing. I was no less than humbled at the size. Thankfully it was empty when we arrived since it was coming to the end of the day and most of the tourist crowds had long since departed. I wont go into detail on the site as the history is better documented elsewhere on the net, but I will say that it is certainly a wonder to behold.