Countryside Italy

Today was such a beautiful and fun day! It didn’t feel like we did too much walking, but my phone tells me this was my best day yet, 22,800 (accumulating: 121,800 steps in 6 days). We had to leave the apartment at 9am but we couldn’t check in at the hotel until noon, so we took the car, drove south to a lake we had seen on Google Maps. That was a good choice. The lake was called Lago Albano and it looked like a volcano crater, which is also is, I just double checked. The city was the cutest ever! It was placed on the hillside with an amazing view over the lake. There was only 8,800 inhabitants. Super cute town. After we checked it out for a bit, we drove down in the crater to walk a bit on the beach. The beach was black, which made sense since it was a volcanic crater. Such a pretty place. Here is a link to a sphere photo which I uploaded to Google Maps.

We then just kept on driving and found ourselves in another small village called Rocca di Papa. It was also on a hillside but more spread out. We saw one old man walking on the tangled road beneath us (when we were standing on the highest point we could find for a great view) with 6 big bottles of water, waddling along to his house further down.

We then drove back to Rome and to our hotel for the night, Pulitzer Roma. It is not much on the outside, but it is cute on the inside, and they have a dog mascot, a black and white cocker spaniel. Adorable! The lady in charge (I think) is super nice. We had lunch at the hotel and then decided to go into Rome today instead of Ostia since we got a parking space right outside the hotel door! It literally couldn’t have been better. So tomorrow we are going to Ostia instead after checking out and then going straight to the airport from there since it is very close. In Rome we walked around a bit to see the big things one last time. We saw Colosseum twice, Pantheon, Fontana di Trevi, had dinner at Piazza del Popolo and I bought a new backpack, a wine red Herschel. Really cool one. An early birthday present to myself!

A touristy day

My left foot hurts pretty bad, not under, but on top! It hurts all the time, but sometimes it gets really bad and I almost stumble because it feels like the skin on top of my foot is peeled off, except there is nothing visible on the foot. It is super weird and a fairly big bummer. I will survive, and a little pain is not gonna stop me from enjuying this vacation! I untied my shoelace after dinner and then it got kinda okay.

19,600 steps today (accumulative ~58,000), even though we didn’t leave the apartment until 1pm. Since we were gonna stay out longer today for some night time photography, we decided to spare our feet and sleep a little longer today. We made lunch, canneloni, planned the day and went out.

Our first thing was to print the voucher for Colosseum. It took us a long time to find a place to print it and we were redirected from several tourist information centers who just sent us to another one. We finally find a place, the guy inside only spoke Italian, but it worked out and we have now the voucher. It says on the voucher that it MUST be printed, and that it won’t suffice with a mobile device. I have read that before, but I don’t want to take any chances this time.

Our next stop for the day was The Museum and Crypt of the Capuchins (Convento dei Frati Cappuccini). Since the Capuchins Monks are a current religious group, the museum kinda felt like a try of conversion. I did not find the museum particuarly interesting, but I learned a few things, that for example Capuchins means small hoods (because the monks and friars had small hoods). The crypt was why we went there. Several rooms with skeletons. We saw the one in Paris and thought it could be cool to have seen something similar in Rome. But no, nothing similar at all. In Paris the catacombs were used as burial sites since diseases were spread in the cematary’s. But here, the bones of previous monks (around 4,000 it said) and Christians were placed in architectural designs. For a crypt, it felt weird that it was aboveground with windows. It also felt really tacky to “glue” skeletal parts on the ceiling and on the walls. It felt disrespectful and honestly a lot crepy! If you compare it to the catacombs in Paris where they just stored the skeletons of, I can’t remember, but MANY, deceased ordinary people. Sure, there were some formations, but it was different. We were not allowed to take photos in there. But use Google, you will find something on how it looked!

We then walked on to the Spanish Steps (Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti). Like with the Trevi Fountain, there were too many people there. And our last stop in the daylight was Hard Rock Cafe. We had burgers, Jesper ordered a couple of drinks, we shared a desert and got our 18th glass. I can’t believe I have been to 18 Hard Rock Cafés around the world. Crazy.

 

It then got dark, and Jesper wanted to try his photographing skills. We first walked to Fontana di Trevi. There were as many people there in the dark as during the day. It was pretty though, and I got some good photos. Jesper was too tired to look at his more closely.

We then walked to Forum Romanum, took some pictures there and lastly walked to Colosseum. It is hard to take good pictures in the dark. But it was pretty there. I am really excited for the tour we are doing there tomorrow.

 

Vatican City

Last night we had a little bit of a freakout, we hadn’t booked any tours before coming here, so we looked into it last night. Our plan was to go to the Vatican today, Colosseum on Friday, and Pompeii on either Saturday or Sunday. We have one of those three things figured out. We booked a tour to both Vatican City and Colosseum, but today we found out the Colosseum tour was already full so we had to book it for another day. I think we knew that it would be full-booked, but we still didn’t book anything in advance. So I encourage you all planning to go to Rome, book everything in advance, at least Colosseum! We have rebooked the Colosseum tour for Saturday morning, I just hope that one is not full as well. Otherwise the only option I know of is early on Tuesday morning, on the day we are leaving. Let’s cross our fingers for Saturday!

Anyway, we booked through the official website of the Vatican Museums and picked a tour of the museums, the Sistine Chapel, and the St. Peter’s Basilica. It was interesting, the tour guide had been in the Vatican for 50 years or something, as a guard and something else. Pretty cool. He knew a lot. What was not so fun about it was that we were not alone. There were approximately 1,340,292 other people there. It was hard to see anything, you could hardly see the floor you were walking on! Too many people. I also wish we could have stayed a little bit longer in the Sistine Chapel to watch the paintings a little bit longer. So many details everywhere! St. Peter’s Basilica was really cool! Church architecture is, but I am kinda bummed that I don’t remember too much from the World Architecture class I took at Cal Poly 2.5 years ago. Probably a third of that course was about ancient Rome. I feel kinda lost here in general and don’t know much about the pretty old buildings I take lots of pictures on. And honestly, I am too tired to try and do any research on it now afterwards. It is still pretty, and as a fan of architecture, I really enjoy this city.

After the Vatican we were already tired (it was around 12:30pm). We found a cute restaurant called Polese and had pizza there. I had a proscuitto pizza and it was incredible! The crust was the thinnest I have ever seen!

We then walked along to Pantheon which was incredible. I remember the professor talking a lot about it and it felt really cool to be there and see it with my own eyes. But like I said before, I don’t really remember exactly what it was. I think something about it withstanding WWII, but still being damaged from it?

Our next stop was Fontana di Trevi. We found the people before the fountain. Crazy many people there! But the fountain was so pretty! If there weren’t that many people there, I would have loved to sit there with a gelato in the sun, just watching the water.

We walked 19,000 steps today (accumulating to 39,000 in two days) so we took many breaks, right after the fountain we sat down for a Swedish fika with ice cream, coffee, and something sweet.

The last thing we did for the day was trying to find the GAP store so I could buy a new pair of favorite jeans. I bought a pair of True Skinny jeans in San Francisco some years ago but they have been worn so much that I feel that it is time to get a new pair. 600 SEK for a pair of awesome jeans was so cheap! I also bought a pair of more fancy pants for 300 for future situations when my normal style of clothes does not fit the occasion. I wish we had GAP in Sweden.

Then we just walked around, found a square (Piazza del Popolo), saw a staircase up to a house where it looked like a great view (Piazza Napoleone I). We will go back there tomorrow when it is dark to get some real nice photographs. My soles didn’t hurt today, but my calves when we got back, and the top of my feet has been hurting since this afternoon. So much walking! We have decided to take it a bit slow tomorrow, sleep until 10am, plan our day with museums and such, Hard Rock Café in the evening and some photographing in the evening.

Here, enjoy a bunch of pictures from today (only mine, not Jesper’s, I might post some of them when we get back home).