Emily - Rome is as intense as ever and with summer approaching Jez and I set our alarm clocks to beat the crowds early to see they city's sites in three days. In our eagerness to get to Rome we mixed up our arrival dates and got to our hostel one day earlier than originally booked. The hostel was fully booked and had no room for us, as it was 3pm we knew we would need to get cracking if we were going to find a bed for the night. Patrick, the hostel receptionist was little help in advising where we could get a room in high season, on such short notice, so we walked to a nearby hostel in the rain; they too were booked out (and just as unhelpful) so we made the executive decision to catch a metro and head back to the Central Rome Train Station (Roma Termini) where quite a few hostels were located. I looked after the bags and pondered being homeless for the night while Jez knocked on some doors. Lucky for us Jez found a room in a private pensione and we bunked in with an Irish girl who like us had trouble finding a room for the night. The room was clean and in a central location and was a great find in such short notice.
Jeremy- The pensione was owned by a bloke named Antonio, we ran into him later in the streets while looking for dinner and he invited us to his restaurant (with a discount). We politely declined, mainly because we didn't want to give him all of our money and wondered how many more business ventures he had around town. It really did seem to be the kind of place that it was all about who you knew. Even the Laundromat provided a pensione booking service.
Emily - The next day we settled into our hostel (which was a complete hole) and only survived by spending most of our time trapezing around Rome. Good thing for us Rome has plenty of tourist sites! We visited the Sistine Chapel, grabbed some gelati by the Trevi Fountain, took in the Colosseum and the Roman Forum as well as St.Peter's Basilica. The next day we spent a leisurely afternoon at the Appia Antica and the Catacombs where the earliest Christians buried their dead, supposedly Saints Mark and Peter were buried here......................
Jez- There are so many sites in Rome its hard to keep up. The most impressive was St Peter's Basilica; this place was enormous, literally jaw dropping matched only by the oversize gelati i ate before going in. The Sistine chapel was ruined by the crowds, and the guards continually hissing "seelance" and "no foato" louder than any other noise in the church. I think I'll have a look at the paintings in a book when I get home. The Parthenon was also impressive although full of tourists. The only real disappointment was the Colosseum. While the Colosseum was very impressive, the hoards of gypsy children fighting to pick my pocket didn't materialise, an appearance promised in all guide books! They are probably all riding the metro. There seemed to be only one train when five are needed and this means literally no room for any more people inside. From what i could gather the idea is you just push your way on, until the doors close and nearly chop off your arms, we avoided it after the first few trips. After a few days in Rome we were ready to move on, the combination of the heat and the cramped hostel, (particularly the night shift guy who had a habit of stinking out the toilet/showers just before everyone got up) it was time to head to Napoli...
Inside St Peters
The St Peters Gelati
An elaborate hallway (or gallery) in the Vatican
On the lookout for gypsy (or Roma as they like to be called) kids
Michealangelo's Pieta viewed sideways