ROMA ROMA, need I say more?
TB (my boyfriend) and I set off to Luton airport at midday, having enjoyed a delightful brunch at Jones Cafe to prepare us for the upcoming day. TB was given the responsibility of DJ and being a sensible calm passenger, he failed on both counts. About 2 mins AFTER I pointed out a massive traffic jam on the other-side of the M1 he suddenly loudly exclaims his surprise but yelling ‘OH MY GOD’ making me, the driver, assume there was a problem on our side of the road and panic ensued. However he did master the art of feeding me skips as I drove, so I could keep my attention on the road. After (eventually) locating the car park, going through security and visiting Frankie and Bennies for lunch, WE WERE NEARLY OFF!! Settled in our 1A and 1B seats (TB required extra leg room, I enjoyed being able to fully extend my legs and still not being able to reach the dividing wall in front of us) AND THE EXCITEMENT BEGAN. So naturally we napped through the majority of the flight.
In case you didn’t know in Italia, they don’t believe in road markings and taxi drivers are convinced they are driving tiny smart cars when in fact the taxi is a mini bus. Taxi drivers also don’t seem to hear the constant annoying bleep when they don’t have their seatbelt on, probably because they are too focused on weaving in out of the traffic at lightning speeds in the pouring rain. When we got to the hotel and I required/demanded a drink to relax after the terrifying experience.
The hotel we were at was gorgeous, rustic Italian decoration and it had this rooftop restaurant, where we had dinner that night, on the 11th floor which was pretty much just glass windows so you could see out over the city. I can’t even begin to explain the quality of the food in Italy, it’s just amazing. The mozzarella in the caprese salad was so fresh it just fell apart when you cut into it, and the pasta pomodoro I ordered, the sauce was the best tomato sauce I’ve ever tasted- it was plain but pretty much perfect.
Saturday was touristy day! We’d booked tickets on one of the hop-on-hop-off tours going round Rome, so on we hopped and our first stop, THE COLOSSEUM! We had skip the queue entry, however were very confused as it looked like the skip the line queue was longer than the norma queue.. Turns out on the outside it may have appeared like that on, however once you got through security we cruised through, straight past all the people stood in line for a good hour or so. It probably would have take us all day to see the colosseum and we wouldn’t have got round to seeing the Trevi Fountain.
Word of warning to anyone visiting Rome, especially over Valentines Day, don’t acknowledge people trying to sell you anything, TB definetly got conned out of €20.. haha. We were walking along at the colosseum and this man grabs TB’s finger, ties ropes around it and starts braiding red, white and green string to make an Italian flag themed bracelet, which of course after he got one I felt left out and also wanted one. At the Trevi fountain a nice man offered to take our photo for us and then before we knew it he was also taking polaroids on his camera and selling them to us… We had pizza near the fountain and the most exciting thing was that the entire pizza selection was gluten free!! None of their food had gluten in and it wasn’t even a specialised gluten-free designated restaurant, they just happened not to use any, so I had a great time ordering my first Italian pizza off the normal menu!
On Sunday we hopped on the tour bus to head over to the Vatican, because guess what is located rather nearby? The Stadio Olimpico, the place where the England V Italy six nations match is held… on valentines day… the real reason he took me to Rome haha. The atmosphere was absolutely amazing, I just can’t really explain it, we were in a section which was entirely England fans so everyone was so involved and the cheering was so loud.
Post-game, I did insist he took me out for a romantic meal. Walking around rome you had so many people trying to sell you stuff, when the weather was good they were trying to sell you selfie sticks and when the weather was bad they were trying to force you to buy an umbrella. Even if you were already holding one.. And as soon as you walked away from one of the sales people another one approached you 10m down the street. Walking to the restaurant we did buy an umbrella as it was starting to spit, and then it stopped which felt like we’d been conned out of more euros. We also got hopelessly lost trying to find our restaurant, even using google maps and asking for directions. We ended up being about 25 mins late for our reservation but the restaurant fitted us in regardless and the meal was the best one we’d had the whole trip. The waiter however was very friendly and at one point I wasn’t sure if he was hitting on me or not but then realised Italians were just incredibly friendly compared to english waiters. That and he was the exact same to TB and the couples on the table next to us whom were old enough to be his parents.
Walking back to the hotel via the Trevi Fountain, we were once again bombarded but by roses this time which was a pleasant change. However at this point we were seasoned tourists at this point and managed to keep hold of our euros. We continued wandering back to the hotel and then suddenly the sky just opened up. It was literally like someone had turned on a shower so we began to run, with our cheap rubbish umbrella sort of keeping us dry. After getting soaked by the time we got to the next main street, the executive decision was made to hop in a taxi (despite previous experiences). Back at the hotel we had a drink at the bar, surround by other England fans still in their shirts form the match, whom looked a lot more dressed up than we did as we currently resembled drowned rats. The next day we had our flight home and back to normality we returned..