It was certainly time to relax after that. Once recoverd we went for a wander & found a restaurant we both fell in love with. Beautiful interiors & the most incredible food.
This was the place where I fell in love with Italian pasta... it was spaghetti with tomato & basil. So amazingly simple yet beautifully delicious!!!!
At one point a 3 piece busking band came in and gave us a show...it truly felt like Italy! ❤
After a little walk exploring the town, we made it back to our room & to bed by 930. We were EXHAUSTED. We both fell straight into a deep sleep instantly, despite the small, creaky, hard beds.
On the train, my luggage fitted above the seats however Eb's ended up being so large she had to stand up the back with it for a while.
I can't believe just how stunning the Italian countryside was. Wow 😍 It was beautiful & very green!!
Arriving in Florence, the combination of getting lost finding our hotel & pulling Eb's suitcase meant what should have been a 7 minute walk turned into an hour..! 😂😂
Best bit was seeing the faces of people who saw what was going on. One doorman in particular had a great laugh 😂
It felt like a massive achievement when we finally made it to the hotel! It was shortly after that we realised that we'd completely forgotten we'd each put in two large bottles of soda water I'm our suitcases....as if the extra weight was needed...oops!! 😂
We had a quick lunch & picked up our suitcases, ready to catch the train to the main Termini Station, believing we had plenty of time to get there. As we started down the cobble stone streets, we discovered the wheels on Eb's suitcase were broken. It made for HARD WORK for her pulling 20+ kgs of luggage in the hot sun & then all through the train station.
Sadly, it meant we missed our train.. It was a prebooked expensive one too!! Nonetheless we bought another pricey ticket & headed for the next train. I couldn't believe just how hard it was to pull the suitcase. Wow!!
It was a struggle getting onto the train & figuring out storing our luggage but then we were able.to enjoy the site of the incredible countryside for a while on our way to Florence!!
We then went down into the prison cell. Wow. It was so small. Incredible to think there'd be up to 20 people down there..!
I felt completely humbled by being there. How amazing to understand the context of "being joyful in all circumstances" & having a picture of the "suffering" that is so clearly mentioned throughout the New Testament, especially 2 Timothy. We read quite a bit of that in the lead up & I had goosebumps in response.
We stayed down for quite some time. Just soaking it up. So thankful for that experience!! ❤
The Mamertime Prison:
A definite highlight! This is the prison where Peter & Paul were held.
To begin, it was amazing to see the exterior as Garry explained to me it looks the same as the court building Jesus would have been sentenced in. Incredible!!
We wandered through a museum part and then started heading down the levels. Firstly we saw a dedicated tomb stone to the two disciples, along with a monument of each of their heads. On the walls were beautiful paintings. One of Jesus with Peter or Paul, one with Mary with her arms around the prisoners & another more describing the church with God & the prisoners.
In the floor was a hole where the prisoners were dropped through into the cell. Quite often water would rise up through the ground & so if they didn't break bones being dropped into the hole, they'd likely soon after get sick...if not both. A sorrowing thought.
We then took the train for the first time back in the Colosseum direction. Thankfully it wasn't too hard to figure out - we felt like locals pretty quickly ;)
We had a lovely time wandering & stumbling across other parts of the ruins, soaking up the incredible views & imagining how it all looked back in the day.
A quick breakfast where I noticed that Italian's treat & drink coffee like they're at a bar. Lots of caffes have long bars with sugar on top & little bins around, and people quickly come & stand to have their shot of coffee before continuing on. The "coffee tenders" also treat it that way too. Lots of them are very fast..spinning cups & handing out drinks as fast as they can go.
24 September 2017
A late night drink of wine was on the books! We however discovered unexpectedly that it was corked and then proceeded to spend at least 20 minutes trying to get into it 😂 some hilarious attempts were made but thankfully we got there 🍷🍾🎉
Dinner in Piazza di Spagna (the square of the Spanish steps). A fun little restaurant where I went ate outside - right opposite a massive Valentino store. I had Margarita pizza and ate the whole thing I was so hungry! It's my new favourite thing too...yum!!!
We wandered after that...had fun in Sephora, bought gelato & just soaked up the evening culture & atmosphere.
So far my favourite tourist souvenir is a calendar of priests posing up a storm. It's actually the best 😂😂
We found Friends on TV! BEST THING EVER 😍😍
We found as we hopped off our bus yesterday that we're right up from the Spanish Steps. All of 3/400m. Oops! Haha 😂 a great discovery! Lots of beautiful shops etc.
🌞 Day 2 🌞
The Colosseum & Forum today!
We were blown away by the architecture of everything we saw! How amazing to see the height & granduer of what was built by hand & without "modern technology". 🏗🏛
One of the photos is an etching in a Colosseum arch which depicts the crucifixion details on the left & then the city of Jerusalem around it - an incredible view in light of Christians being persecuted at that very site.
We spent hours wandering through the sites taking it all in. The sun was hot though so it made for an exhausting day - we were very happy to get back to the bus when we did!
It was a bit confusing figuring out the hop on/hop off bus as we got on & then at the next stop realised it was taking a 30 minute break. Out next one then took ages to get past what we'd already seen, however as we got driving, it was nice to see more of Rome outside of the ancient part where we're staying.
A slow morning this morning. It was just so exciting to be on Rome. Chatted to Joel for a while too :)
We ventured out & found the cafe associated with the hotel for breakfast. Juice, coffee, a fresh croissant & "toast" - a cheese & tomato toasted sandwich. All so very simple yet DELICIOUS!
23 September 2017
A late dinner in the city - right near our hotel was a quaint restaurant. I had cannelloni & Eb the gnocci. Yum 🍝🍝
We also realised tonight how similar we think in that we both looked up after getting dressed & we're wearing the exact same thing. Oops! 😂
We finished the day watching the Crows win the Preliminary final. Bring on the Grand Final!!! 🎉🎉
We then went back past the Trevi Fountain. Such a beautiful monument!! The water so clear & blue 💧💦💧 amazing just how many people were there!!
After the tour we felt safe & confident enough to just wander & get lost in the city ❤ and that we did. We only realised the next day on our bus tour, how far we actually walked.
Massi also gave us culture along the way. In particular, we visited the Jewish Ghetto where Jews were "kept" - a very small part of a huge city that was walled in all around. On the ground was gold plaques that families put up after the war which were memorials for the people who were deported to Auschwitz & then assassinated. Heartbreaking. In one of the pictures you can see gates to walk through now which symbolise the ghetto area as well as where the walls originally were.
Pizza now trumps pasta in my book - a big statement!
We started at the Pizza Navona & met guide Massi & a lovely group from the Netherlands & Brazil/France. Running slightly late we powered through the streets of Rome & stumbled across the Trevi Fountain along with many other amazing sites that we came back to visit later.
We started with coffee, moved onto pizza (white (no sauce), tomato (FRESH!!) & margarita - which was named after a Queen...her husband discovered pizza, invited people to the palace to create lots of flavours & she decided she loved it the most hence the name).
We also tried "Suppli" - Rome street food. A rice ball (like arancini) with bacon & chicken & also cheese/tomato inside. This was food created for soldiers during the war because they had no food left, so they went to local farms and added rice which there was no shortage of with meats etc.
Cheese, wine, gelato, pasta...it was all beautiful & so very delicious :)
22 September 2017
So nice to be at our hotel! Definitely collapsed on the bed... Chic & Town Luxury Rooms - a really lovely place that we're very happy about. A nice big bed to share.
The staff are all super friendly, it's a good location that isn't in the middle of tourist central but is still central enough.
Arrival in Rome:
We made it!! Very tired & weary but in one piece! Customs took close to 2 hours...a MASSIVE line. Not much organisation either as we kept ending up behind people who were behind us 😂 but hey, what can I say, we were tired!!
Our driver met us out front & was quite friendly! He drove like a lunatic though... We were up to 150km in sometimes 80km zones. He was a definite bully too...would pull up right behind cars at his high speed & beep for them to get out of the way. Definitely prayed that we wouldn't crash.
Rome driving is intense! There's no lanes & so people were vearing all over the place. The heartbeat was certainly racing at points. Haha 😂