Book worm book count: She has finished her 11th (one was pretty small she assures me!)
So today we head to the cruise ship and embark on the next stage of the journey.
The last days in Rome were spent at the Coliseum, shopping (would have been rude not to), eating fantastic pasta street side and wandering around my favourite Roman neighbourhood Trastevere. It was a Roman public holiday which meant the crowds at the Coliseum were bigger than usual as the Vatican and many of the churches were not open.
The very best advice I can give about the Coliseum, is buy on line first, print the ticket out and then get there 15 minutes before opening. Once again the queues in Summer are outrageous but people just don’t seem to go anywhere early. We got inside fairly quickly and got to see things before the thousands of people arrived. By the time we had seen enough, the queues were snaking and the wait was over an hour or so.
The Forum is also worth a visit and again, if you are early, then it is easy and not too hot. Charlotte loved the Coliseum and perhaps we should have left it there and explored the Forum on a different day – the ticket allows you two days entry so its possible, but our time was running out.
For this stay we chose the Boscolo Exedra Rome. Partly it was because it had a roof top pool (tiny, shallow and freezing – but a pool!) and partly because Simon and I had magic memories of staying here in 2003. It hasn’t disappointed.
The rooms are large and it is set in an historic curved building right on Piazza della Repubblica. You really feel like you are in an ancient building, steeped in history.
The Metro stop is literally at the front door, the neighbourhood is interesting and most of the sights are an easy 20 minute walk away tops. We have tended to walk one way and then cab or Metro home. The view from the room was also lovely.
Rome, like Paris, is a city for walking – so pack your walking shoes and get out amongst it. There is always Gelato to keep the small person moving – we can definitely recommend Giolitti located near the Pantheon and Piazza Navona for the best choice of gelato in Rome.
Best dinner was at a neat local place, Osterla 44. Off the tourist map and down a random side street. It had a really neat feel to it – although how anyone can eat more than one course is beyond me.
A late afternoon or early evening stroll around Trastevere and the river is always one of my favourite things to do. With its tiny cobbled streets and little shops and bars, it feels more Roman than the rest of Rome to me.
Climbing Altare della Patria was hot but worth it – my top tip is to enter at the side door into the museum on a hot day. There is an elevator and air conditioned stairs. By the time you reach the 5th floor you can step out onto the Terrace and into the baking hot sun and descend on the external stair case. The general public seem unaware of this so there are crowds panting and sweating out the front, climbing the stairs.
Finally this morning we returned to St Peter’s to explore the Basilica. The morning light was outstanding and the crowds, once again non existent. They open the doors at 7am and there are very few people lining up. We were treated to a choir singing and the acoustics were fantastic. Even at 7.45am there was no wait time. Again getting up and moving early in Rome pays off!
So now we finish packing and head to the cruise terminal. Next stop Messina!
Top Tip: In Rome the early bird really does get the worm!
Highlights from small heights
I feel sorry for you. Mum chatters way too – much I know.
Anyway. Cruise today. Can’t wait for Mummy to finally let me spread my things from one end of the room to the other. (Mum – you’re dreaming Charlotte!)
Apparently they’re rebuilding the Coliseum which will be cool. I hope they get rid of the rails on which parents got they’re clothes all dirty. (Luckily I avoided them.)
The Forum was kinda boring. Apart from the fact I stood where there was a bunch of meetings and it’s the scene of Julius Caesar’s assignation, it wasn’t really anything.
The Basilica thing was okay, I guess just it was big and didn’t have anything else going for it. And Mum demanded me to be impressed by it.
The restaurant place last night was absolutely, completely delicious. I had a scrumptious pizza and I even sold a half piece to Dad for one euro and fifty cents. Best. Bargain. Ever.
The hotel we are staying at the Boscolo thingymagjig is cool but it seriously needs to heat up the pool. We went there once, just once I say and we were immediately frightened off by its coldness. (Or I was anyway.) The breakfast there is yum but is always the same and there isn’t much I like.
Rome fun rating (overall.): seven out of ten. Miss the church and the Vatican City and heat up your swimming pools and its all good.
Charlotte’s two top tips:
Don’t lean on the rails at the Coliseum and sell your pizza to parents (well at least to your Dad – Mum’s too smart for that).