In mid-Jan, my friends and I embarked on an interesting city break to Rome to prematurely celebrate her 20th. If you've never been to Rome, you've sure as hell heard of it and could probably tell me the entire history behind each and every landmark I've very cliche and touristically photographed (or you've just seen the Lizzie McGuire Movie).
After a bumpy ride navigating our way through Stansted Airport security (I nearly got us arrested for carrying a minature Viktor and Rolf Flowerbomb perfume, which ironically enough actually resembles the shape of a grenade and made the security guards flinch with fear when I took the lid off and dared ask them to smell it) we finally made it onto our wonderfully cramped, pocket-lacking RyanAir plane. Credit where credit's due , we landed safely and smoothly with an added Super-Mario esque jingle just to further celebrate that RyanAir hadn't managed to kill us, so that was a fun bonus... even if I did have to pay £4 for incredibly average and rubbery mozzarella sticks. Despite our canvas, non-padlocked holdalls not making it into the cabin due to numbers, baggage claim was pretty speedy and all belongings were in tact, so it was on to our middle-of-nowhere 4 star but not really 4 star hotel to settle in and begin to see the sights of Rome.
We reached the Vatican at the perfect time to catch the pastel skies, after finally getting the hang of the bus system and being prompted by the one, helpful local who informed us it was our stop. Cleaner than your Nan's kitchen and inexplicably silent and still, no matter how many people entered its vicinity, this was like nowhere I've ever experienced. I'm still trying to comprehend how any of this was built so impeccably so many years ago and the basilica itself takes beauty and extravagance to a whole other level.
Now let me tell you though, do not go up to the dome of St Peter's Basilica though if you're even the slightest bit claustrophobic. Not one piece of signage anywhere has even the slightest warning of how small the spaces get, and laugh at me all you want but that was as near death an experience as it gets. It's tight, cramped and dark, with about 1,000 steps that get smaller and smaller the higher you go. Oh, and did I mention there's no way back? By the time I actually got to the top, I didn't even enjoy the view because I was nearly having a bloody heart attack at the thought of going back down.
If you're looking for somewhere great to eat in Rome where you can bloat as much as you like and not have a care in the world, then head towards the Spanish Steps area. Here you can get a full three course meal (any less than 3 courses would be a loss to yourself, and you'll regret it for eternity) for about 20 euro. And I'm talking about really, really good food. Not just average.
We spent the next day exploring the rest of what rome has to offer, the Citadel, the Colosseum and the Trevi Fountain. Sadly the Trevi Fountain was under heavy construction so I couldn't do a Lizzie McGuire and throw a penny in and wish for the love of my life to turn up (I still wished anyway, so who knows, maybe I'll find someone that shares my passion for eating copious amounts of thai food and game of thrones, and until then a girl can dream)
Now, if I could tell you anything worth noting from this trip, it would be to always listen to your mum. No matter how old or wise you are. You know that 'pre-warning' advice chat she gives you on what to take and how you must remember to wrap up? That. I think we've all been guilty of nodding along, with the occasional 'yes' input, whilst still sticking to our original plans of 'take what looks pretty'. Well, boy do I regret that one. I took flip flops, and yes you're reading that right. I thought "Italy" is always warm - wrong. We ended up practically living in the same clothing, just to refrain from chilling ourselves right through to the bone.
Ciao for now, until next time!