A Travellerspoint blog

Roma, in a day!

overcast 23 °C

When in Rome! We certainly took that to heart today. After a typical European Continental Breakpfast we hit the ground! Armed with our transit pass we headed straight for the VERY BUSY Metro. Of course, taking it from the Termini Station could have accounted for the packed trains. think CTrain at rush hour and then pack about 50% more people in. We only left one behind but she caught up a few trains later.

First stop was at the Vatican Museum to see the incredible marble statues, the floor to ceiling tapestry and the mural painted by the great artist of the time. After being wowed with that we headed to the Sistine Chapel, arguably the greatest painting of all time. No photography of any kind is allowed. People pack the chapel, mostly looking to the ceiling. The noise gets louder and louder, then someone shushes us back into silence. During our 20 minute stay in the chapel I believe we were shushed 20 times. For some of our travellers this is their first time experiencing famous works of art. Some found it difficult to explain the magnitude of what they were seeing.

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A short bus trip, with one foiled pickpocket attempt and a delightful conversation with a sweet, old Italian man (whoes recollection of Canada was Old Spice - my marketing students, take note!) and we were at Piazza Navona. Time for some lunch, pizza, salads, marinated artichokes were just some of the items we tried.

Off through the winding streets and we arrived at Giolitti's for gelato and ice cream. The shop has been open since the 1900's. Some of the favorite flavours - pistachio, mango and limoncello.
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Next stop was the Pantheon for a quick visit and phot op! A stunning architectural masterpiece.
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A few more stops at Trajan's Column and the under renovation Trevi Fountain. There was only a very small fountain to toss your money in. One coin in the fountain and you will return, two for love, three for marriage. As it is such a small fountain yours truly missed. Not sure what that means!!!!
The group then headed off to the Victor Emmanuel Monument and a bird's eye view of the city.

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No time to rest. We are off to make our dinner tonight at a pasta restaurant. We figure we walked about 17 kms. Even found a second use for the bidet in the bathroom - cooling down tired feet!
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Today. Hopefully, the group will rally for dinner. We suspect they will be hungry! Ciao....for now.

Posted by jonaway 07:46 Archived in Italy Comments (3)

Ciao Bella

sunny 27 °C

Ciao from Rome. Well, all is good with the group for those of you wondering about your traveller.
It was a relatively uneventful flight, through Toronto, en route to Rome. Things must be good in the airline business because both flights were full. It is alway exciting arriving at an International airport and seeing the different airlines. Our first sighting, an Emirate A380! How cool would it be to see that bird in Calgary?

With all the luggage accounted for we were off to meet our tour manager, Emma and our fearless driver, Firo. Both will be taking good care of the group throughout the trip. Emma is from Britain and Firo is Portuguese.

A quick check in at the hotel and we were off to explore Rome. While doing a city tour in the coach we received the overview history lesson of the Roman Empire. It is not easy to keep everyone straight but all the information ties in to our next 48 hours in Rome. In spite of little sleep we paid attention as Emma brought history to life.

We had a lovely side trip for a walk up a hill to see MIchaelango's keyhole. A peek through the tiniest of a keyhole revealed a stunning view of St. Peter's Basilica in the distance. It was great to walk and clear some of the cobwebs from the flight!. Hopefully the Ifi will allow us to post somue pictures.
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And then we were off to see St. Peter's up close and personal. The Pope will be in St. Peter's tomorrow so it was necessary to visit today to avoid the crowds tomorrow. Personally, I haven't visited this church in 35 years and it is still stunning. How times have changed. 35 years ago I remembering see MIchaelango's La Pieta up close and with no barriers. Now it remains behind glass to protect it from visitors. So sad not be be able to get up close.
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And it was time for dinner! With little sleep and a busy day already we headed to a local pizza establishment, a family business since 1928. We had a pizza demonstration and found out that Italian flour is the best for making pizza. It seems our Canadian wheat has too much gluten. I may have to buy some flour at the local Italian store when we return. And did that pizza taste wonderful! To top off the night we had an Italian gentleman serenade us. Some of the group even stepped up for their own solos!

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What a charming and authentic start to our trip. Next up, a visit to the Vatican, a walking tour of Rome and a pasta making lesson for dinner. Ciao!

Posted by jonaway 22:03 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Exams, packing and pre-trip excitement

Well, it is certainly spring like weather in Calgary, much different from this time last year when we were suffering through cold and snow. The flowers are blooming and the trees are green already. It must be time for our annual SAIT Travel and Tourism study tour.

Here is a sneak peak of what we will be doing this year. Our Mediterranean Highlights tour will take us to 5 countries in 13 days. The 34 travellers will visit Italy, Vatican City (yes, it is a country), Monaco, France and Spain, staying two nights in most of the major cities. This easy-paced tour will give us a bit more in-depth visit to Rome, Florence, the French Riviera, Barcelona and Madrid. In addition we will overnight in the Cinque Terre area and have an opportunity to view this World Heritage Site from a boat. We will venture up to Avignon in the heart of Provence for a change of scenery and some different culinary delights.

Not to give too much away but some of our activities will include a pasta making lesson in Rome, wine tasting and dinner in Tuscany and a Flamenco show in Barcelona.

Now back to work to finish up our year end work before we go. Departure date is Monday, May 4th. Watch for more posts coming soon!

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Posted by jonaway 07:51 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

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