Sunday, 19 January 2014

Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Colosseum! & Food! Rome Dec 18-19

I saw Palatine Hill and the Roman Forums first... but took a shot of the Colosseum first because it's iconic and such. 

They had dug up underground areas and had buildings with these frescos on them! Lovely!

ALSO, pasta lunch in Rome? Must must must go visit Pastificio! It's right by the Spanish Steps (which really are not all that impressive and I'd say don't bother visiting except that you'd see it anyway on the way to this pasta place!)

It's on via Della Croce 8, and all you need is 4 euros! From 1pm sharp to whenever they run out (around 2, probably), you can pick between one of two pastas. One of the two options are probably vegetarian; they were the two times I went. If you ask nicely, you can also get a glass of house wine and there is free water on the shelves.

So then I went back to the Colosseum, and went inside! Look its a pretty cat!

And now it's me, haha...

Afterwards, I went to the Pantheon.

I went back to my hostel for some rest, and then had my one fancy meal quota.

I chose Roma Sparita for their Cacio e pepe... which was super pretty when it came out and decently tasty, but not amazing, not incredibly yummy. Here's a pretty picture anyway.

DEC 19TH, 2013 

As my last day in Rome, I suppose I should have tried to do more interesting things... but I was content to do a lot of walking and just be happily loitering around.

Walked around the Trastevere area..

Walked around Villa Borghese... which I was able to get to quite easily because my Roma Pass allowed for unlimited public transportation.

I also went back to via Della Croce to go to Pompi! Delicious amazing tiramisu! Also 4 euros, so you could get a fantastic pasta and tiramisu lunch for 8 euros! They have four flavours, but I was content with trying just classic tiramisu!

I went back to the Trevi Fountain again...

Then got more gelato near my hostel, though I forget what it was called. Not that it matters... it's close to Romana, so just go to Romana!

And that ends my excursion in Rome. Budapest is next! SO EXCITED I LOVED BUDAPEST. Bye for now!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Walking Tour, Vatican City & (going to) the Galleria Borghese! Rome Dec 16-17

DEC 16TH, 2013

I arrived in Rome, and was kind of overwhelmed. It was so crowded, much more so than I expected (though this might be my naivety...). Expect Rome to be crowded. Also, my camera ran out of battery, oops! So I took photos on my phone all day (which doesn't really change the quality that much). 

I went on a walking tour to try to orient myself to the streets and ways of Rome. Our tour guide knew a lot of information, but there were probably around 30 of us and I didn't particularly enjoy having to try to hear our tour guide... It was not a bad tour, but considering I essentially walked around on my own to see all of these things again (and got lost a few times anyway), it might not have been the best use of my time. I've met other backpackers who love walking tours though and go on them in every city they visit! Actually, come to think about it, I did a bunch of walking tours as well: Rome, Budapest, Amsterdam. 

So here are pictures from the walking tour. It started in late afternoon, so the later pictures are after sunset. 

By the way, I love the Trevi Fountain. If you're in Rome, you'll definitely go see it... but I went back three times. It's gorgeous and there are always too many people. I'm not sure why it was so compelling for me, but I absolutely loved it.

DEC 17TH, 2013

Ah, Vatican City! A must-see outside of Rome (because technically it's a different city). I went with Gus who I met at the hostel (I have included a picture of him somewhere in this post, but not a very good picture of his face...); I'm quite upset I spent all day with him and had some great conversations both in and out of the hostel, but got no picture of us together! I bought a ROMA Pass the other day, so I had unlimited public transportation to get around and thus to get to the Vatican. The Vatican is not included in the ROMA Pass but I thought the pass was very very worthwhile.

Anyway, here is the Vatican in all its glory. 

There was a line for St. Peter's Basilica. It was not a terrible line, but I imagine in the summertime, the heat might be pretty awful. Luckily for me, beautiful weather! And oh my goodness, when I got inside of St. Peter's Basilica, you probably could hear my jaw drop. Beautiful. Super super super pretty. I read in Art History recently that churches were made so beautifully so that people could get a glimpse of what heaven might be like.

Every time I add in a vertical photo I cringe at how it breaks up the fluidity of my posts... but I like being in pictures on my blog and I don't generally give the strangers taking pictures of me instructions. Oh well.

Vatican Museum time!

To be honest, the Sistine Chapel was lovely but good gracious super tedious to get to. It felt like a long car ride, with constant thoughts of "Are we there yet?" You're not allowed pictures in the Sistine Chapel but clearly I'm a rebel so here is a terrible picture I took with my iPhone. Seriously, the guards making sure people aren't taking pictures are pretty intense.

So we finished seeing the Vatican Museums, and thought about exploring the gardens but didn't feel like paying more money (broke university students indeed). However, the exterior of the museums we did get to see was quite pretty!

Ah, here he is! Hi Gus! Thanks for all the pictures of me today (again!).

I also thought our exiting stairs were awesome (super impractical, really shallow big steps though...).

After that, we walked around Rome to somehow get back from Vatican City to Termini Station (where our hostel was nearest).

We passed by the Castel Sant'Angelo...

 Saw some lovely scenery...

Had some cheap and delicious paninis (which believe me, you can get for under 3 euros if you look really hard! Don't be ridiculous and pay anything over 5).

And caught a magnificent sunset at the Piazza de Popolo!

I am very proud of this picture and the one below it. Yay me. 

And I, at this point, left Gus to go see the Galleria Borghese!

I didn't take pictures inside unfortunately, as that isn't allowed either... (Okay I lied, I took a few but really the Sistine Chapel one is already compromising my integrity! So no more posting of rule-breaking pictures!)


If you enjoy art, and enjoy pretty things, go see it. Every inch of this museum was overwhelming. There was art on every surface. The walls, the floor, the ceiling, even just the space inside the rooms were almost suffocatingly filled with art/statues/etc. It's not very big, but I enjoyed the freedom I had to roam here because there was significantly fewer people than there were at the Vatican museums.

It's really pretty. I had a great time! I hadn't even studied any art history at that point (I just started my art history course a week ago...) but I'm sure if you know some art history knowledge, you'd love it even more.

I took a picture outside of the museum though! The pictures I took of the Galleria Borghese were ruined by the camera's watercolour effect, silly me.

That evening, I was graciously offered dinner by Andrea and the other staff at Roman Holidays Hostel! Risotto, salad, and bread. There was meat too but obviously I passed. What I did eat though was delicious! 

And then Sonia and Akev (?) and I went out for gelato! I posted this picture on instagram, but here you go.

This gelato place, Romana, is amazing! You can't see any of the flavours but they'll let you taste them. The flavours are on the wall on chalkboard rectangles, but all in Italian so basically just ask the staff and they'll help you out. Three scoops and whipped cream for 2.50 euros is a complete steal! DELICIOUS. Gelato near the city centre is way more expensive; I saw prices for 3 scoops as high as 6 euros.

So if you're near Termini at all, go here. Well well worth your time! They were open at midnight when we went (haha... midnight snack run), but I wouldn't go later than that either.

So two more days in Rome coming up soon... (sorry for how awful I am at posting, I forgot how preoccupied I can get with university...) and then Budapest after that!

Are you guys enjoying my posts? What could I improve on? What am I doing just right? Let me know in the comments! Send me an email? Tweet at me! @dianadyoon! I would love feedback.

Have a great week everyone! Lots of love!