ROME. ROME. ROME. ROME. ROME. ROME. AH…ROMA.
In a residential district close to downtown Rome, the bus driver turned around and said “Get out!” …since it was in Italian, we weren’t quite sure exactly what was said, but it was hard to misread those hand signals! On foot with all of our luggage, we headed back toward the city center. Apparently, that had been the wrong bus. “Where did they say they were going next?” I asked my husband. “Spanish Steps” he said, picking something out of his sandal and readjusting the duffle bags across his shoulders.
Let me give you some context: we knew a group who was going to take a short tour in Italy and Greece. We decided it would be fun to join them. Unfortunately, due to a delay in our flight, we missed meeting up with the group at the airport. We had not done much research of Rome and it’s sights because we knew we would be going around with a tour group anyway-they would take care of it, right? Nope! A man at the airport let us use his cell phone to call our guide, and we ended up on a long train ride into the city to find our group. Our plan was to get off the train and take the bus to meet them, but we ended up going the wrong direction on the bus. So here we were with all our luggage on the cobblestone busy streets of Rome on Easter weekend.
Anyway, somehow, we made it to the Spanish Steps, elbowing our way through the Easter crowds, the straps of the duffle bags digging into our shoulders. After a frantic sprint up and around the steps (my husband stayed at the bottom with our luggage), I found them. Never had I been so happy to see someone I knew! Here we are, having reached a meeting point. (Yep, there’s my JanSport again.)
From then, we were able to enjoy ourselves…besides the crazy whirlwind that tours usually are. I have only done 2 tour groups before. Both were necessary for what was going on, but I would not go with a tour group again and I would not recommend them. You see some interesting things, but you can never relax. You can’t wander around and find things. Taking photos through a bus window is not ideal either…and of course there are not stops for countryside shots. But this time, it worked for us.
We tossed coins into the Trevi Fountain.
We climbed up into the famous Colosseum. Everyone knows what it looks like from the outside, but I was not expecting the inside to look like this:
We crossed the bridge and looked out at “The Wedding Cake,” Castel Sant’Angelo.
And were amazed by the Pyramid of Cestius.
A million vendors all sold the same things.
We walked through Vatican City, the beautiful museum, stared up in awe at the Sistine Chapel, and visited the cathedral.
And then we found ourselves in Sorrento, eating pizza margherita and drinking lemoncello. We all know the story of Mount Vesuvius erupting and covering the city of Pompeii. I found the ruins enchanting. The patterns of brick work were varied, and so many of the artifacts were well-preserved. Even the street names and house numbers were still visible.
Our Italy trip was short and mostly consisted of riding the bus, but we were glad we were able to see so much of it. From here, we took a ferry over to Greece.