We can’t believe we’re in Europe! We had originally planned on heading to Istanbul, Turkey and considered it until the last-minute, when we finally settled on flying from Delhi to Athens. I know, our lives are hard.
There we were, wheels up, on our way to Greece. But first, why not make a 24 hour stop in Rome! We chose this flight on purpose because Kik had never been there. Our conversation kind of went like this:
Kik – “Wow, we could do a 24-hour layover in Rome! We should rewatch Gladiator to inspire us!”
Clair – “I wouldn’t know, I’ve never seen it.”
Kik – “*aghast* You’ve NEVER seen Gladiator?! I can forgive you for not seeing Predator, maybe even Top Gun, but Gladiator?”
With Kik still reeling from the shock of Clair’s disclosure, we arrived in Rome and hopped on a private airport shuttle ($20 CAD/person). This seemed to make the most sense as they drop you off right at your hotel and it costs less than the metro from the airport! Taxis are apparently around $70 CAD, and we have heard that Uber isn’t a great option in Rome as prices are pretty steep.
We quickly learned that many B&B’s and smaller hotels/hostels in Rome are family owned and don’t have a 24-hour front desk…including ours. No one was there to open the door! Frustrated we made our way to the one restaurant that always has free Wi-Fi; you’re right folks McDonald’s. After paying an absurd amount of money for a shitty salad (Clair: Judge me if you want, I ordered the salad) and a burger we realized we could not in fact, connect to the Wi-Fi, because you needed a phone number.
Even more frustrated we set off looking for a new place to spend the night, which wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Finally, we saw a small pizzeria with a free Wi-Fi sign. Clair lumbered in with her backpacks on and asked in broken Italian/Spanish/French whether she could indeed connect to their Wi-Fi. We ordered some wine and pizza and were able to get in touch with the owner of the B&B who felt super bad and arranged to let us in. It was so nice to have a decent glass of wine and especially enjoyed how they filled their glasses to the rim. Oddly enough, they chill their red wine, but we weren’t picky!
The B&B we stayed at was QuodLibet ($68 CAD/night), even with the check-in difficulties it was a super nice and comfortable space and their breakfast was AWESOME! Coffee, toast, eggs, cheese, more cheese, meats, pastries, and freshly baked bread. Any of the weight we had lost in Asia has found us in Europe.
We had originally planned to head out to the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain upon arrival, but we were too tired by the time we dropped off our bags so we decided to postpone until the next morning. Have no fear friends, Clair is an excellent speed walker and Kik can mostly keep up.
After eating enough cheese to sedate most people, we decided to run to our first destination because we are insane. Our first stop was to the Roman Forum ticket booth to buy our combined tickets to the Forum and the Colosseum. We highly recommend you buy your tickets at the Forum because the line is way shorter. We also opted for a guided tour of the Colosseum. Being on a tight schedule, we had about one hour at the Roman Forum, which isn’t enough time to really explore this place. This site was onced the center of public life of Ancient Rome, and it would’ve been worthwhile to have a guided tour of these ruins to fully understand and appreciate what we were seeing.
We then walked over to the Colosseum with about 15 minutes to spare before our tour started. This is not enough minutes to spare! You need to give yourself at least 30 minutes to get in and through security. Luckily Clair spoke to a guard and they let us cut the line (We hate cutters!) so we could make it to our tour on time. The tour was mediocre, but then again it only cost an extra $7 CAD/person. We also had the MOST annoying lady in the group (there’s always one!) who kept completely hijacking the tour. She also kept asking if she could go down into the pit (Kik: I wanted to throw her in the pit by the end). The tour lasted about 45 minutes, and then we took some time to explore the Colosseum on our own.
Next, the Trevi fountain. We hailed a cab and off we went. The legend is, if you throw a coin in you are destined to return. About ten years ago, Clair and her friend, Tyler Blashko, threw coins in the fountain. So…apparently, the legends are true! At the fountain, we grabbed some gelati and meandered through the crowds towards the Spanish steps which are within walking distance. The monumental stairway leads to the Trinità dei Monti church. We walked to the top of the steps, snapped some pics and then hailed a cab
back to our neighborhood to grab lunch.
We highly recommend you get off the main tourist streets in Rome to eat. We found a small family owned restaurant where we had the lunch special of gnocchi, roast beef, and overcooked broccoli (it’s an Italian thing) for $10 CAD.
We had arranged for the shuttle that had dropped us off the night before to pick us up for a return to the airport. They arrived on time and the driver barely kept his eyes on the road while he texted and shouted into his phone. But hey…we survived in Asia right?
We didn’t make it to Vatican City which was disappointing but we felt like we got a good chunk of what we wanted to see done. We used this blog to guide us and it was super helpful. The only regret we had is that we didn’t have more time and how unfashionable we are.
Next up, Souvlaki in Greece.