Bonjourno, greetings from Italy! Currently en-route to Milan via train, hence actually having some free time to sit down and write, edit, and fill you all in on what’s been happening so far!
It was a short 21 hour flight from Sydney to Rome – I practically watched every movie available and then some. Flying via Abu Dhabi I decided to break the trip up, opting for a 24-hour layover in the land of sand. I managed to squeeze in a free tour of the breathtakingly beautiful Grand Mosque, and from there it was back on the plane and onto Rome for my first taste of Italian culture!
– Day 1 –
Landing in Rome it was straight into a taxi and onwards to the hotel, where a hot shower and a good coffee was in desperate need! #Zombie.
I stayed around the Rione III Colonna area just off Via Del Tritone, which just happened to be perfect, and very central! Once the coffee had kicked in and I felt clean again, it was time to explore this vibrant and busy city. First stop, one of the world’s most famous fountains; Trevi. Like most things in Rome you can be walking along enjoying the surrounding architecture then you turn a corner and bam you’ve just stumbled upon a great monument, in this case the Trevi Fountain. Standing 26 meters high and nearly 50 meters wide this fountain is mesmerizing to say the least, and attracts a crowed like no other. Seriously it’s constantly packed with people and their selfie sticks. Made from the same material as the Colosseum, one could easily just sit there for hours watching the world go by!
Roughly a 5 minute walk down the road you will find yourself standing in-front of a structure built in 118-128 AD, the Pantheon. The only way to describe the Pantheon is; WOW. (I’m going to run out of adjectives describing these monuments). I found myself saying over and over again for a lot of these ancient structures “How?” The level of detail and sheer size is unbelievable. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon’s dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome… let that sink in!
Unfortunately the Spanish Steps were closed due to maintenance and restoration. So I did what any tourist in Italy would do, I sat down at a cute little restaurant called II Chianti, ordered a huge pizza and enjoyed a glass of vino!
– Day 2 –
After a well-deserved rest, it was time to hit the ground running for the 9AM Vatican Tour! With 50,000 other people. I kid you not, supposedly the day I decided to go, every other tourist in Rome decided the same thing! I booked myself into one of the many “skip the line” tours thinking I’d get more out of the experience, unfortunately due to the mass of people. It wasn’t as enjoyable as I imagined. It’s almost a little overwhelming trying to take in so much history in such a short time.
Each room is packed with priceless artworks and sculptures from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Titian. Highlight for me and probably many others was entering the Sistine Chapel, a true masterpiece without precedent. The fact that Michelangelo hand painted the entire chapel ceiling is mind-blowing. Standing under the “Creation of Adam” was a magical experience.
Exiting the Vatican (which I forgot to mention is its own city within Rome, complete with its own laws) it was time to find food, which isn’t hard because there is a restaurant pretty much everywhere you look in Rome. I had been recommended to check out “J.K Place” for lunch, which is actually a hotel. It was a little pricey but so worth it, probably the best pasta I’ve had in Italy to date. The atmosphere and interior was effortlessly chic and sophisticated.
– Day 3 –
Welcome jet-lag, I was waiting for you to visit, I remember saying to myself as I sat wide awake 3AM Rome time. The downside to travelling across the globe I suppose, could be worse right!? Another thing I noticed with Rome, no one really eats breakfast? It’s really hard to find anything but sugary sweets or cakes. Me craving organic puffed corn, rice milk, fruit and protein seed mix.
That day I traveled across town to the Colosseum! Thinking I’d go a little earlier so I didn’t run into the same problem the day before, this time it actually paying off. Like all of Rome’s monuments nothing was created small, and the Colosseum is another prime example. It’s the largest amphitheater ever built, holding between 50,000 to 80,000 spectators, making it a true engineering feat. For lunch I wanted to go up high, so did some research on some rooftop bars/restaurants in Rome and found myself at “Hotel Raphael” which is located right near Piazza Novena. The rooftop terrace was overlooking the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica #HiddenGem.
– Day 4 –
My last day in Rome! Once again it was another sleepless night, with pizza, gelato & pasta haunting me in my dreams. #CarbOverload. So that morning I decided to go for a run around Villa Borghese, which is a beautiful big park, perched high on a cliff face with views stretching far over the city. The park casually has the Temple of Asclepius (Greek God of Medicine 290BC) at the mouth of a small pond, as you do. Working up an appetite and it was off to brunch at “Hotel Russo” – trust me when I tell you, you need to go here! Make a reservation, wear something nice, and enjoy the atmosphere. The restaurant is situated at the back of the hotel in the garden and below that is the Stravinskij Bar, which has a great vibe and delicious cocktails! I was there the entire afternoon I enjoyed it that much.
As my last day drew closer to the end I decided it was best to check in with the family and friends and let them know my whereabouts. Normally without some form of Wi-Fi this would coast a small fortune.
Luckily I found out about this “travel hack” by the name of Flexiroam X; a new roaming solution that has changed the way I use data overseas. It’s perfect for me as I can stay connected online, around the world (in over 100 countries!) without racking up ridiculous roaming fees.
It uses a brand new technology, which is a thin microchip film that you apply to your own SIM card. Available on android and iOS, it’s really easy to set up. And you get the best of both worlds – you can toggle on to use Flexiroam X data, and toggle off to access your existing phone number.
The best part is they actually give you free data- anyone who signs up can earn up to 100gb of free data. When you share it with your friends they actually get 100mb of free data too, so it’s definitely worth investigating if you have an upcoming trip!
Special Offer For Benjiaus Readers
Flexiroam X is offering Benjiaus readers 300mb of free data on their Flexiroam X account when using the special promotional code: BENJIX300. This special offer is valid until the 31st of July.