Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Rome - Italy

Rome had always been Number One on my list of places to go. The day that I left Tuscany and finally set out towards Rome was the day that one of my biggest dreams in life came true.
I don't know why I've always had such a fascination with Rome and all of its hidden, ancient history. I couldn't tell you even if I tried to. I just have.
Arriving at the campsite, I clambered off of the coach with a bottle of wine and a tube of pringles in hand.
As my fellow travellers had already established at this point, I was by far the most clumsy person on tour (my old work colleagues didn't call me Hurricane Jade for nothing. Nor did my ex dub me the oh so flattering 'Bad Day In Bosnia...').
As soon as my feet hit the ground, so did the precious bottle of wine that I had big plans for that coming evening!
The ground drank up my stunning bottle of special Italian wine, leaving nothing but scattered shards of glass around my feet.
Girl knows how to make an entrance right???
So, after a slight sulk and setting up camp and also giving a massage or two because after 2 weeks of camping Europe already.. we were all pretty stiff and sore (the Rome Contiki Campsite is AMAZEBALLS btw... ew. Did I really just abbreviate???) we got to take a walking tour around Rome.

I had literal tears (of happiness!) in my eyes as I stood outside of the colosseum. We didn't have time to go inside of day one because we had to get back to the campsite but it was fabulous to finally have my dream come true, while eating a pizza.... nom nom nom.
The colosseum.... hmm. I guess I had it in my head that it would be really isolated. Like, it would be this insanely majestic, historic ruin in the middle of nowhere. Not right across from a tube station and next to a busy main road.
It was still insanely majestic and obviously still a historic ruin... but it wasn't entirely what I had built it up to be.
I think that's the thing though... when there's a place that you want to visit as badly as I wanted to visit Rome, you build up this huge expectation of the place and that's not actually fair on wherever you want to go.
How could it measure up to what you had imagined?? Nothing in life is as perfect as we'd like to make it out to be.
So a piece of advice from one traveller to the next... even if it's a place you've been dying to visit your whole life... try to not build your expectations up to high.  
I also got to throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain! Well - actually a handful of coins! Just to be sure I'd return to Rome :)
As you can see, day one in Rome was a gorgeous day so naturally tourists flocked around the fountain and it was really difficult to get to the front or even snap a worthy photograph!
After we all did manage to have a turn at being serious tourists at this major tourist spot we ventured over to this adorable ice cream shop called San Crispino where they have nearly every flavour ice cream possibly imaginable!
Even basil!!!! (Wish I'd tried that one now....)
I had ginger flavour and mango flavour I think... but I had the ginger because I was starting to feel really fluey and well... I can't really explain my logic behind why I had ginger... I just had this pathetic theory that ginger ice cream would help.
It didn't.
We all split up into little groups for a bite to eat after the ice cream (desert came first! Woohoo!!!) and myself and three other girls wound up finding this gorgeous ivy covered bistro called Cucina Romana.  The food was delicious. Of course I had pasta... my favourite pasta at that! Spaghetti Alio Olio Pepperincino! Accompanied by wine to make up for my lack of it back at the campsite.

We all met up at the Spanish Steps after we ate and ventured back to the campsite for an early (pfft, yeah right) night to rest up for another day of site-seeing the following morning.

Bohemian Muses Readers', meet the Vatican City.

No. I did not get to meet the pope. I did get to buy some cheapskate rosary to hang in my car though... and a Rome spoon. SCORE!

The Vatican City... even if you're not religious, this place is so worth the visit.
DON'T go with a big bag though because you have to hand it in at the front and the queue to hand your luggage in and the queue to get to back is GINORMOUS.

We were given these cool little headsets from our tour guide and taken on a few hours long tour around the Vatican City which was absolutely breath-taking.
I've never seen churches and architecture anything quite like what I've been able to see first-hand in Europe now... but the Vatican City is just something else.

Also, another piece of handy advice.. try run after your tour guide and stick on her heels because they move FAST! They also all have some sort of a prop they hold up so that you know which is your tour guide if you do lose them amongst the mass of people but sometimes two tour guides will have the same colour flag.
Some had their scarfs tied to their sticks or held up an umbrella just to be different, but ours was pretty boring with a blue flag like the majority of the other tour guides... so I felt like I was doing cross-country inside the buildings half the time to keep up.

After the Vatican City we had some free time in Rome to go inside of the Colosseum and do our own thang for a while, but we had to make our own way back to the campsite.
Of course I headed straight to the colosseum to go inside of it.
The queue was massive and my flu was really catching on... the sun was beating down right on me  and I just couldn't do it. I gave up after about half an hour of waiting in the queue that had barley moved and decided to go back to the campsite to rest a bit. I wouldn't have given up my lifelong dream of walking around the ruins of the colosseum unless I was feeling like I was about to die...

So... making the way back to the Seven Hills Campsite. Well, that was fun. NAAAAAAT.

First, a tube station. Then a bus. Unfortunately I didn't realize that you have to let the bus driver know where you want to get off, there are no real bus stops! So I told him as I got on the bus please take us to the Seven Hills Campsite and he sort of smiled and nodded and we gave him our tickets etc before going to relax at the back of the bus.
I only caught on that we'd gone too far way out in the countryside.
To make matters worse, there was no bus coming back the way we needed to go.
So... we were dropped in the middle of no where with no mobile battery to speak of and started to trudge back in the direction we'd come from... and it was so sweltering hot.

We did find our way back eventually though. Thank God.

Word of advice.... do not, EVER, under any circumstances give a Contiki tour group an open bar.... if you want well behaved travellers that will not get you kicked off of the campsite that is:

When we got back to the campsite, our lovely on-road cook, Elaine, had set up the most adorable bar for us!
As the Rome Contiki Campsite (Seven Hills Camping) has an on-site team, we got to mingle with some new faces!
I LOVED the Seven Hills Campsite. It had a pool, a club, a mechanical bull...

We threw this I Love Rome party where we all dressed up in Seven Hills Campsites 'I Love Rome' shirts and got to draw on each others shirt, writing little messages now that we all knew each other better.
At this point in my post I'd just like to thank my lovely Contiki crew for writing the most vile wonderful things on my shirt! Hahahahahaha!

Sadly and happily at this stage in our tour, some of the group had to leave us as they were on a shorter tour than us but we also got some new faces joining the team which was great! Until this point I was the only British person on tour (it was mainly a group of AWESOME Aussies) so I was thrilled when two British guys joined up with us.

It is a bit odd to have new people joining after 2 weeks of bonding and creating friendships with your original Contiki group... we were all feeling a bit weird about it because our group was so perfect already. I can only imagine how the newbies must have felt! BUT - they only added to our amazing group! We all got along straight off the bat.

In the club there was a pole... yup. Things got weird.

I'd been fairly decent until this point in tour... but then I slipped down a flight of stairs and landed face up on my back in front of another group of people that must have been in their teens. Bastards.

I decided that it was time to put myself to bed (at a shocking 9pm....... I know. I'm such an idiot) so Damian walked me back. Along our way, we bumped into two of the newbies, two Canadian guys called Chris and Kyle.
Chris and Kyle had a bottle of wine in their hands.
I liked them instantly.
That wine didn't last long.
Yeahhh.... I wound up hugging my toilet seat for the remainder of the evening.

My next travel post will be about passing through Austria where we went white water rafting and heading into Munich, Germany.
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  1. Wow sounds like you had an amazing time it makes me want to go again!
    I know what you mean about building up expectations though i definitely did the same thing i imagined it to be all isolated and treasured but they are just in the middle of everything the locals pass it every day on their way to work haha.

    I am getting married in Tuscany in 2015 i cant wait im loving all your posts as were wer thinking of traveling around italy afterwards as honeymoon but im stll undecided because we really want to travel around the far east too!!


    1. If you've done Italy before then rather go somewhere new, Far East would be amazing!
      Thank you for your lovely long comment, I love reading them all xxxx

  2. Wow Rome, I've never been there but it's definitely on my bucket list! I'll maybe go there this autumn :)

    These are some lovely photos, it looks like a wonderful city to visit and again you guys look like you really had a blast! :)

    1. I hope you do! Its so so so amazing :) stay at the seven hills campsite for me!!! gorgeous place!

  3. You guys look like you had so much fun! I love all of these pictures...especially the ones with the sculptures and art. And ginger is really good for you! I had a really bad stomach ache after eating bad Thai food a few weeks ago. I instinctively reached for some ginger candy and...boom! The pain was gone. I don't think it has the same effect in ice cream form though :/

    xo Azu

    1. I think it would be awesome if ice cream could help though ;)

  4. Ah I visited Rome a few weeks ago, it's amazing :) xoxo

  5. Great post and funny pics:D I would like to travel to Italy!! <3


  6. Amazing place to be :)
    Very nice photos!
    I wish I had time to go there.... :)

  7. Nice place. I hope I could visit those place someday! <3
    Btw,you can check my blog and join my giveaway.THANK YOU! <3

    .never settle for less.

  8. It's so cool to see all of these pictures because I was at the same places! I miss Italy, please come get me and take me with you.

    1. hehe its amazing isn't it?? Someone did a photo journal of their trip to Venice and it felt like I was right there :D awesome to recognize places like that!

  9. Rome is such na awsome city!
    Love that picture of you throwing the coin (I'm sorry, several, so you're sure getting back :p) on Trevi Fountain. It really is a magical place!

    1. Thanks Barbara! hehehe I chucked in more money than I spent on food in Rome I think!! hahahaha

  10. Your broken wine bottle made me cringe and die a little inside, but I totally get your rome-obsession (i've not yet been, but it's very very very high on my list). This looks like such a blast! That bar sign is hilarious... I am insanely jealous of these shenanigans. This sounds like the ideal way to travel.


    1. Contiki is amazing - I don't know if I'd do it again though. I don't know if any other group would measure up to mine!! <3 they became from complete strangers to family xxxx

  11. Wow how exciting. I have never been to Italy though I have been to England and Germany. Now I just need to get to Ireland, Spain and Poland I will have my ancestry covered!

    Ali of

    Dressing Ken

    1. Wow what an awesome ancestry you have!! Thats amazing! Ireland is also uber high up on my list xxxx

  12. You dropped the wine?? we so cant be friends ... just kidding ! Looks like you are having tons of fun , I enjoy reading all about it .

  13. Hey great post.. enjoyed reading :) and Following you :)

  14. Hi Jade! Have loved reading your blog. This post is one of my favourites as my Contiki 'I Heart Roma' party ended in a similar way - that wine was just too cheap! Megs x


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