First Stop: Rome.

Travelling on this trip will not be a problem, compared to our previous adventures the two hour flight direct from Manchester to Rome was a doddle, especially as we had house-sitter Findlay to take us to the airport. We were in our hostel by 13:00, a comfortable place about ten minutes on the bus from the centre of Rome.

We immediately remembered why we went down the hostel route instead hotels. When you arrive the staff are ridiculously welcoming and sat down with us taking us through the sights of Rome, suggested itineraries, transport links and local restaurants – all this whilst offering us a free coffee. Anyone who thinks staying in hotels on trips like this is the way to go is mistaken.

We’d had a really heavy weekend thanks to the Fodens throwing a great party on Friday which spilled into an all day session on the Saturday. A nap was in order. This nap turned into the best sleep I’d had in days and we rose four hours later to explore Rome.

In total, we were in Rome for three nights and took in the major highlights, sometimes with the aid of a guide which can really enhance a trip. Without it you find yourself staring at walls and statues without ever knowing what they represent. Spending €4 on a guide is also a great way to jump the massive queues at the major attractions.

Rome is unashamedly historic, narrow cobbled streets and a third rate metro system are the prices they willingly pay to keep these monuments in place and the constant attention needed to keep buildings such as the Colosseum standing is astonishing (built 1,932 years ago).

Colosseum

One thing worthy of note is that we appear to be on a VIP tour of Rome; pregnant women are treated like royalty. We have had examples of people falling over each other to give up seats on a bus, we seem to have no trouble getting the best room in our accommodation, special seats are reserved in the Sixteen Chapel and, you know the rule about covering shoulders highly religious places? It doesn’t seem to apply to pregnant women. There was one couple on our tour of The Vatican who managed to trump us by bringing a four month old. Bastards.

Finally for this post, the food. I’m a huge fan of Italian cooking and have been sampling the local stuff with scant regard for my health. A decent meal for two consisting of two courses and a bottle of red sets us back approximately €40, you can find decent stuff much cheaper if needed.

It was very hot and busy in Rome, we managed our way through it and saw everything we planned so we found accommodation in Florence and boarded a train Tuscany bound. I’ll have more for you in a day or so.

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