There’s no place like Rome

I was given the opportunity to go to Rome for a couple of nights and as Easyjet had some decent and very cheap flights over my birthday, my daughter treated me to the flights and off we went

We discovered that Terravision have a coach for 4 euros per person each way to Termini, the main station. Waiting for the bus we got talking to Mary Ann an American studying in Rome. She gave us a lot of advice about the city and even wrote out a little list for us.

We got to La Griffe, our home for the next two nights. It is situated in Via Nazionale one of the main streets and very covenient for all parts of the city with plenty of buses and metro within a couple of minutes. La Griffe has free wi fi in the lobby and a lovely rooftop bar and restaurant

As we did not arrive until late in the evening we didn’t have time to do much but we did manage to cram in the Pantheon which closes at 19.30. Pantheon is the most complete ancient Roman building and houses the tomb of Raphael the artist. From there we walked to the Trevi fountain which was incredible and there are quite a few nice places to eat in the area. We chose a nice pizzeria nearby where we had a very palatable bottle of Pinot Grigio

An early start on Sunday with the short walk to the Forum, Palatino Hill and The Colosseum. Allow a good 3-4 hours for this. The queue to get in is very long and very slow. We waited a good hour to buy our combined 12 euro ticket. It is 5 euros extra for an guide and map

We managed to fit in The Vatican by getting a 64 bus, we treated ourselves to a huge 3 flavour gelato for just 2 euros at the world renowned Old Bridge Gelateria across the road the the Vatican city walls and lastly the Spanish steps which were really crowded with both locals and tourists

We found a restaurant near our hotel which had an extensive seafood menu so I had sea bass which was excellent

Monday was our last day in Rome and our plan was to go to the catacombs of San Callisto. This was proving difficult as there was a metro strike and a restricted bus service. In the end we bought tickets for the Archeobus which was 12 euros each but is the quickest and most convenient way of getting there

The catacombs were 8 euros and this included a guided tour with an English speaking guide. They were fascinating too. I had an appointment to meet Marilena at D’Inghilaterra hotel for site inspection, this is a 5 star boutique hotel housed in an ancient building in a nice part of the city near Via Corso and Spanish Steps.

In Rome, like London it is best to be very generous with enough time to get to the airport and we thought we had been. We planned to get the 1645 bus for the 2000 flight which should have been adequate but the combination of rush hour traffic, the strike, general inefficiency and the fact that Fiumicino is one of Europe’s busiest hubs meant that in fact time was fairly tight.

Terravision require you to get a boarding pass but they don’t actually bother to tell you that until you try and get on

We had a lovely time in Rome. There is so much to see that you do need at least 4 nights and careful planning. We crammed a lot into 2 nights but we didn’t manage to see everything we wanted to

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