8th of April, 2016 – First day in Rome

So we went off at 6.45am from Gatwick after stopping for ‘breakfast’ (is it even breakfast at 5am?) at the Gatwick Airport Costa Coffee. We flew to Rome Fiumicino Airport in what seemed like no time at all. We read our travel guide and books on the way. We took the train from the airport to the Termini (which was massive). If you think Kings Cross or some of the London stations are big, you haven’t seen the Termini. Its like having Westfields Shopping Centre plonked right on top of the railway tracks. We had a quick sandwich and drink at Moka in the Termini before we headed off. We walked with our suitcase from the station to our hotel – Hotel Apogia Llyod Roma. I have never stayed in such good accommodation in a city before and because this hotel has other branches I’m sure I will be returning. We decided to share one big suitcase for the trip which seems to work out well for us on short holidays.

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View from our hotel balcony

After a quick freshen up (and Alex changing into a very optimistic summer outfit) we headed out to explore the city. We walked through Borghese Park, getting some good views of the city before heading down the Spanish Steps. Unfortunately the steps were being renovated and there was a lot of scaffolding about so only 1/3 of the steps were open to the public and it certainly ruined any photos we may have taken.

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River Tiber

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We wandered around the old city and had a coffee at Casa & Bottega. Be warned in Rome they add a seating charge to our order, making things a bit more expensive than other European cities for eating and drinking. After more walking (and a little bit of getting lost) we had our first Italian gelato (which was amazing). I don’t like wafers so I was very happy that in all the places there were options to have a pot instead of a cone. The problem for us was that there seemed to be a long way between metro stops. For instance the nearest stop from our hotel was about a 15 minute walk and there was no metro station in our favourite part – the old city. Certainly compared to Amsterdam, Paris and London, the metro and/or public transport really needs to be looked at again. I’m glad it wasn’t too hot either, because navigating through the heat would not have been great.

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Water fountains all over the city – to fill up our water bottles
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Looking down at the city

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Piazza Navona – one of the few times when another tourist manages to take a decent photo of us (and not cut one of our heads off)

We went back to the hotel, got changed and went out to Antica Trattoria Della Pace about a 3 minute walk from our hotel. We hadn’t been recommended the place but it was a good find and pretty good value for Rome. However, of course we couldn’t go through our evening without some kind of cock up. For example, I ordered a Margarita with extra peppers on it…. and it came with black pepper ground on it. So after some negotiation with the language barrier, I finally got my pizza. I don’t usually go for a Margarita but my Italian friend Freddy says that the best way to test out whether Pizza is good or not is to try the most basic option. We had a bruschetta each, a pizza and a bottle of wine. Then to top it off, as we were leaving the place, I knocked a glass off the table – gotta leave a lasting impression in Rome!! The restaurant has a nice courtyard so I reckon it would be really nice in the summer to sit out late at night.

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