Monday, 8 April 2019

Rome Honeymoon – Day 3

After a busy first full day in Rome, today was about to get busier! I have always wanted to go to Pompeii but thought it was miles from Rome. When I found out you can do a day trip there, I had to get us some tickets. I am very thankful to everyone that donated to our honeymoon fund at the wedding, the generosity of our friends and family meant that we had a bit of extra money to book excursions and things that we could only dream of doing. Due to the time of year, this actually included a visit to Naples instead of Mt. Vesuvius, which suited me just fine as I don’t think I fancied a long climb/walk up a volcano!

A 7:30am start meant getting up early for us as the meeting point was about half an hour from our apartment on public transport. Luckily the buses and metro start really early so we didn’t have any problems planning out routes and I wrote down the names of all the stops we needed to take before we went. We left in plenty of time just in case there was cancellations or no bus came and we had to walk but we still managed to be late as the metro station was closed. We couldn't actually find the meeting point. We literally ran from the metro and still didn't know where we were going. Google maps was rubbish. James called the tour operator and the lady on the phone directed us to the office. We got in and showed our ticket. At this point we were 20 minutes late. They spoke in Italian to each other and looked at their watches concerned. Thankfully the bus was still waiting as another family was running late. We got dropped off at the coach and got on (it was packed as everyone was waiting for us) but I am so thankful we got on or I would have been devastated!

The tour began with a coach journey to Naples. We got to stop off at Naples Bay and it was beautiful. I would love to come back to Italy and stay this side one day. We then made our way to Pompeii, it took just over 3 hours. When we arrived in Pompeii we were treated to a pizza lunch before starting our tour. We then made our way to the ruins and another tour guide took over from there.

Pompeii was absolutely massive, you would need a whole day to properly look around the ruins here and I'd love to come back. It's very eerie seeing the ruins and then seeing Mt. Vesuvius leering over you in the background thinking it could technically erupt at any given moment. We had around 2 hours in Pompeii to explore with our guide. He really brought Pompeii to life, if we were here alone we wouldn't have really known what we were looking at but it was great to see what used to be shops, homes and even a brothel.

I found it fascinating that you could even see marks in the road where the chariots used to drive, over many years they have left lines in the road. It was great to see all this preserved history.

After a long day we headed back to our apartment, we grabbed a takeaway from a local place called Mama Eats and took it back to the apartment to eat. We then went to bed ready for another day.


Friday, 29 March 2019

Rome Honeymoon – Days 1 & 2

It’s been a while since I’ve done any form of travel post (or post at all for that matter -oops!) so I thought I would share some of the highlights from our recent Honeymoon to Rome. Neither of us had been to Italy before and we were both excited to explore. We got married in December and originally I wanted our honeymoon to be a ‘lay on a beach and do nothing’ kind of holiday, however my husband is better suited to having things to do. Looking at anywhere warm in December was proving difficult, most places across the equator were lovely and hot but either cost an absolute fortune or there was a risk of the Zika virus, no good for travelling when pregnant.

Photo by Dan Sunderland
Eventually we decided to go a few months later, to give ourselves something to look forward to. We chose Rome as we knew there would be plenty to do, on what is probably our last ever child free holiday together for a long time! I anticipated it would be cold, but it’s not the type of sunbathing holiday anyway so none of that mattered. As it happens, the weather was pretty good most days, lovely and sunny in the afternoons.

Our flight was on a Monday, so to save us time and stress I booked us in to a hotel at Gatwick for the Sunday night where we had a picnic in the room and got a nice early night. Breakfast was included the next day and after that we headed to our Purple Parking carpark and got a shuttle bus to the airport.

Our flight was lunch time, so we got some snacks/drinks for the flight and off we went! We arrived in Rome around 4pm. I hadn’t booked any transport to the hotel so hoped we would find a reputable taxi rank but being flustered when we got there with no clue where to go, we got in a taxi with a company that ended up costing nearly 3x the price it should have done. Lesson learned, we arrived safely at the apartment and to be fair to the taxi driver he did give us a tour and explain what we were seeing for the 45 minute journey.

Our apartment was one that I found on Airbnb and very reasonably priced. The location was near to Vatican City and also close to Metro and bus routes. When we arrived we got settled in before deciding to head to a nearby supermarket to get a few bits for the room. The good thing about having an Airbnb was that we had a kitchen area so we knew we could prepare some food at home which was a bonus, and a money saver. We stocked up on snacks and breakfast foods and then came back to the apartment to rest ahead of our first full day.

Day 2 we woke up early and got ourselves ready. I booked us in for a free tour at 9:20am and it was about a half an hour journey to the start point. I am pleased I booked this as it gave us a chance to familiarise ourselves with the location and we also got to learn a bit about the history of Rome. The tour was really good and lasted a good 2-3 hours. There was no obligation to tip at the end however we did because we thought it was fantastic and really well organised. We visited Spanish Square and Spanish Steps, Immaculate Conception Column, The house of Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Saint Andrew Church, Bernini’s Angels, The famous “Galleria”, Column of Marcus Aurelius, Prime Ministers House, Temple of Hadrian, Pantheon, The Tomb of the Kings, Tomb of Raphael, Saint Ignatius Church, Andrea Pozzo’s Tromp l’oeil and finally the Trevi Fountain.

After the tour we decided to find somewhere for lunch. We ended up at McDonalds as the area we finished the tour in was a little bit busy and it was harder than we thought just to find somewhere for lunch. It's all very well finding a nice place for a slice of pizza but these places don't have any seating so it was sometimes easier to pop into a McDonalds just for a sit down.

After lunch we headed towards Castel Sant'Angelo. I had planned both bus routes and walking routes so we could play it by ear and see how I felt. Castel Sant'Angelo was right near to our apartment, so luckily for us afterwards it was easy to stagger back home and freshen up.

For dinner, we tried to find somewhere nearby on Tripadvisor. The 3 places we picked out we couldn't actually find - we found this a lot, the names had changed on some of them. We walked around and finally found a little pizza restaurant and sat outside under giant patio heaters. I really felt like I was on holiday and the pizza was great - first full day was a success.

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