Second Day in Rome: Time to get up early and photograph the Colosseum! After being a bit turned off by the high amount of tourists swarming the streets the day before, I decided that I wanted to see the magnificent building in a different light. I therefore got up as early as 6am and walked 20 minutes up the hill. Rome was great so early in the day – almost no one was on the streets except for a few people going to work and of course the bakers, which were open already. And literally no single tourist or selfie-stick -vendor was standing in front of the Colosseum, so that was a nice surprise.
After grabbing breakfast at a spot right down the street, it was time to see Vatican City for the very first time. The A-subway-line goes there quite easily, you would simply get off at the Ottaviano stop. After being chased by ticket vendors (who always have the best price!) and ambitious street sellers who wanted you to buy a “skip-the-line”-ticket, I stood in front of the impressive St. Peter’s Cathedral. A line was reaching in a circle form from one end to another. One guy estimated it was 2 hours long. Supposedly it is 3-4 hours long in the summer. I guess now I know why skip the line might be worth it…
I decided that there were other beautiful thing to see other than the Dome, so I made my way along Via Alberico and ended up in front of one of the most interesting sights that day: The Castel di Sant’Angelo! Built in 139 AD, it was originally meant as a Mausoleum for the Roman Emperor Hadrian. It has since then been converted to a military fortress, residence, prison and now museum.
From here, I wandered along the river and got some proper Roman ice cream. I also discovered the island in the middle of the river called Isola Tibernia. It was nice to walk through it but I didn’t explore many of the buildings. It seemed more like a tourist trap than anything.
I had lunch in quaint Trastevere, which is still on the West side of the Tiber. It is known for its many smaller restaurants, coffee shops and bars (and as I was also able to discover other oddities). The older buildings are lined by cobble-stoned streets and make out a great flair, secluded from the busy streets of the rest of Roma. I ordered a huge pizza for 7 Euro and still couldn’t believe how cheap pasta and pizza are in this country.
On my way to the Orto Botanico, I ran up a pretty steep hill and saw an array of older churches and cathedrals. I didn’t even know half of the time where exactly I was but I can tell you that trying to get off that hill was one of the most difficult tasks in Rome. There just never seemed to be a path leading straight down, just further up.
I managed to somehow make my back to the other side of the Tiber River and ended up at Circo Massimo, which is now a park-like area where you can lie in the grass or just walk through it. All of these Latin terms reminded me of my 9 years of Latin I had taken throughout the school years and I was super excited to see what the areas where all about.
In the evening I decided to take some night pictures of the Castel Sant’Angelo. Of course a ton of Asian tourists where bouncing in front of the camera. Supposedly it’s now hip to jump high in the air as a group, but since not every single one of those 10 people could look good all at the same time, it had to be repeated at least ten times. Needless to say that they were always bouncing up and down in front of my viewfinder so I started to become annoyed to say the least.
I then strolled the streets surrounding the area and got dinner at a Mexican Food style branch close-by (Tex Mex does not taste super-fantastic on that side of the pond) and ended my last night in Rome.
The very next morning I got up super early again to hop on a bus towards the Ciampino Airport. I managed to get a ticket with Terravision for 4 Euro only, so I can highly recommend them. You just have to make sure to book in advance to secure your seat to the airport and their customer service is not the best, either, but you get what you pay for. I also had one of the most delicious breakfast pastries around the corner from my hostel and was happy to say good-bye to Roma in such a way! Even though most Italians don’t seem to speak English or a lot of English, they still made the best effort to communicate with me.