GLOCCOVNAA is an abbreviation for 'Great Life of Conflict, Climax or Virtually Nothing At All'. That was the long and ridiculous name I came out for my blog when I was 18 years old. Do click on the colourful icons on the right to check out different types of posts in this blog.

16 October, 2012

Summer Holiday in Italy #5

Let me just bombard this post with pictures to awe you!!! I saw all these things within the first 24 hours reaching Rome. So just enjoy them first before I elaborate...

The nearest landmark to our hostel was Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, the largest RC Marian cathedral in Rome.
Saw this in the TVB drama 冲上云霄 and tossed a coin to make a wish like the character in the show.
Fun fact about the Pantheon, the building has a large hole in the roof, I entered when it rained and the sight of the light and water combination created a rainbow indoors... so magical!
Piazza Navona was one of the settings of Angels and Demons. I don't remember which fountain but one of the clues symbolised water led Langdon there.
My first time seeing the Colosseum was in the evening and it looks way better this way.
If you have been reading my last 4 posts, you should know that our travelling style is the same everywhere:
1. Find hostel and check in.
2. Get map and find landmarks in it.
3. Cross fingers and start walking there.

When we first arrived at Rome, it was already around evening time and we were all tired and hungry. So after placing our luggage and resting for a short while, we left immediately for dinner. I have nothing much to shout about Rome's food, much like KL food, it is just the fusion of all the stuff you can get in other parts of the country merged together.
Just look at the number of people in the Colosseum, it was difficult to just walk around at many places.
The next day was the regular city tour. The planner and I got help from the hostel receptionist to find a path from the hostel that leads us to all the major landmarks on their map after breakfast. Rome is such a crowded city during the daytime. When reaching our first destination the Trevi Fountain, we found ourselves surrounded by hundreds, maybe thousands of tourists. The surrounding was really chaotic since everyone was fighting for a nice place to stand and pose for photographs. This would set the mood for the entire tour in Rome, the HERD CHALLENGE.

We went on to visit the places above and returned in time for dinner at a Chinese food restaurant. This is the first and last time we had non Italian food in Italy. As a Chinese from a country with unlimited Chinese food, the restaurant was way overpriced and the food was @#$%, but it was still nice to have non Italian food after the past 2 weeks of overdose.
I know they look good but they really are just mediocre.
By the time we finished our dinner, the sky was dark and we had no idea where to go. So I whipped out the map and guided out group through some dark streets and long roads to see the night view of the Colosseum. It was so terrifying and challenging but once we got to see the majestic structure, it was worth the trouble.

I don't have anything to say here, just WOW!!!
The next day was all about old Rome, namely the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. My knowledge of Roman history is very limited, so if you want to know more, just go search the net, then come back here for pictures. We just bought 1 ticket which grants entry to both structures next to each other with no time limit, so it was really convenient.
The inside is crowded just to get in, but the inside is just huge and amazing.
Gorgeous view of the Arch of Constantine and the Colosseum behind.
The ancient palace stadium for the high profile people only.
Got a good view of the whole forum from the Palatine hill.
Squeezed myself through the massive amounts of people to get a shot of the Arch of Septimius Severus with Santi Luca e Martina behind.
Throughout that day, I was starving and thirsty with no restaurants or cafes to be found nearby. Not until we travelled to Trastevere area for dinner. The restaurant, La Taverna de' Mercanti was recommended in 食尚玩家's Rome tour for their classical atmosphere and delicious steaks.
We walked across Tiber Island to get to this restaurant.
My saliva is dripping just as I'm typing now.
And now we reach the final parts of our tour. The Vatican City... *drumroll*

When we were entering one of the smallest countries in the world, we noticed a weird phenomenon of a long line of people queuing up along the streets. At that moment we were actually looking for the Vatican Museum because we booked our tickets online. After walking for more than 2km, we found that the queue leads to the museum. Are people so desperate to enter the museum? BTW, take this as a tip if you are planning a trip to the museum, book online to avoid that ridiculous queue.
This is roughly 300m away from the entrance, when I still didn't understand what was happening.
The museum is awesome for those who like Roman and Christian history. Personally, I have no idea what I am looking at most of my time. I only get amazed by those large courtyards, golden ceilings, huge maps of walls and the Sistine Chapel. Speaking about the Sistine Chapel, the labels leading there are also ridiculous since they start pointing to it since the entrance but you will not reach it until almost the end. But it was quite rewarding to stand in the Sistine Chapel admiring the wall and ceiling paintings while the crowd is pushing like a river tide.
With such a high ceiling, many people didn't even notice it... I can hear a children's choir singing  ahhhhhh in my head just looking at this.
FYI, people are not actually allowed to take photos in this room, so you are currently looking at illegal art... muahahaha!!!
With so many tourist in the museum, our group got separated and only 3 of us met at the front door while the rest were waiting for us at the cafeteria (product of miscommunication). We ended up meeting in front of the St Peter's Basilica. The biggest church in the world also had a queue and we were all lazy to wait to enter, so we had some sort of sunbathing/picnic/doingnothing at Piazza San Pietro. We even recorded a video of us singing Negaraku there for fun.
This was where we sat, on the hot hot stone floor.
Looks really like a picnic right?
We had no idea what to do after Vatican City and on our way back to the hostel, some of us decided to return to the Pantheon to have gelato. Before I forget, the first time I visited the Pantheon, there was a famous cafe just around the corner which boasts to be the best coffee in Italy. Of all places, coffee seems to be a big drink in Italy and being the best means a lot. *Where you thing the word "espresso" was invented?*
The shop is called La Cassa dell Caffe and they sell an espresso shot for 60cents.
It looks small but the taste you get in your mouth lasts longer than any tall Starbucks.
So on our final day in Rome we visited the Spanish steps and the Via Condotti at the bottom. Nothing much to say about the steps since there were just so many tourist sitting around doing nothing *and some kissing a lot* and it is wide and big, that's it. However Via Condotti is the street that has the largest number of branded goods I've ever seen, even after coming from Milan. Just imagine yourself looking out of a Burberry store window to a Jimmy Choo shop, Giogio Armani shop, Versace shop and D&G shop while a lady beside you is paying with a platinum card for her 1000 euro dog tag... then a shopkeeper ask you not to touch watches from the Rolex showcase and chase you out of their shop. Yes, we were in fat-rich-aunty heaven.
Last meal in Italy!!! Ciao!!!
For the third time, we visited the Pantheon *we love that place* for dinner before we left Italy for Glasgow. I had one of the best seafood risottos ever there but I remembered it being quite slow and we ended up rushing to get our luggage from the hostel to catch the airport bus.

So that's it for Italy. I'm not sure how I will be blogging later after these 5 continuous posts on history *1 year ago* stuff. Most probably I will be going to fast forward a little later on so that everything isn't so stale. So stay tuned!!!


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