A Travellerspoint blog

November 2006

Rome

sunny 8 °C
View Vatican City, Italy - Nov 06 & Rome, Italy - Nov 06 on krissy's travel map.

Wow,
Where do I begin? Everyone is asking me which part was my most memorable. I really can’t pin point that as they were all so unbelievable. Well we got in very late on Friday night and decided to call it a night but when we were checking in Cat noticed that the hostel was having a guided tour the next morning and lucky for us there were 2 spots left, so of course we jumped on that opportunity and I am so glad we did, as it was fantastic. Will our tour Guide was a history student and has lived in Italy on and off for the last 4 years so had lots of little bits and pieces to tell us. This gave a fantastic basis of Roman knowledge to find our way around the streets and also of its history. Yes we were also lucky enough to have the Tomcat wedding in Rome at the same time so there were a lot of paparazzi out and about to capture those moments.
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On the tour we wandered around a saw heaps so I will try and rattle off some of the places we saw. I am finding it really had to describe the beauty of the buildings and places in Rome. Cat and I missed the Catacombs in Paris so we were very glad to see that the Roman ones were part of the walking tour. It may sound really grouse and in a way I suppose it was but it is classified as a Church by the pope so its not really that bad. I have heard this is a very small catacomb in comparison to the one Paris. In all of the rooms the walls were decorated not with beautiful paintings but with some really interesting artistry made up completely with human bones. We were unable to take photos in here so we bought some postcards and I will try to take some photos of the postcards so you can see what I am talking about.
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We meandered on to see the Trevi Fountain, which is said that if you throw a coin over your left shoulder it will ensure your return to Rome, so I had to do that. The Trevi Fountain is a really nice monument/ fountain to see and of course as it is Rome’s most known there is always quiet a few people there. So I managed to not get a photo of the fountain in all is amazing glory but just of the statues at the top of the fountain. On past the Temple of Hadrian to the Pantheon, it looks exactly as I had imagined it would but I was really quiet surprised when I walked inside. When I look at all the photos of the Pantheon in the past I didn’t realise it has a big dome on top. Wow to see this from the inside is total amazing. We were told that this previously housed statues of the pagan gods (gods that ruled the planets in astrology) but when the Catholic Church took possession they removed those and replaced them with Christian figures. The dome the largest single piece of cement poured in Rome. They poured the bottom of the dome with heavier cement made with limestone and as they got to the top they changed it to a lighter material like volcanic ash. There is hole in the top of the dome that allows both the sun and the rain and is designed in a way that it is a sun dial and at certain times of the day the sun would come through and highlight specific god that ruled for that period of time. The floor has lots of small drainage holes in the marble tiles to allow the rain to drain away immediately.

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Then on to the Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II, Campidoglio and on through the Forum, where we saw the Temple of Saturn, Arch of Septimius, Sanri Luca e Martina, Curia, Basilica of Constantine and many more ruins on the way to the Colosseum.
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After all that walking we felt we deserved a nice meal so one of the girls from the hostel walking tour suggested we check out the Hard Rock Café and its art work, we ended up walking past the Palazzo del Quirinale, which is the old papal palace (palace of the Pope) which is now the official residence of the Italian President. We actually got to see the changing of he guard as we passed through.

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After food it was on to the Spanish stairs, also known as Trinta dei Monti. Lovely spot but so happens that Tom Cruise and all his guests were staying at the hotel at the top of the stairs so there were was an influx of visitors to the area that night. After our dinner at the hostel we wandered out to see St Peter’s Basilica in the evening and wandered past the Castle San Angelo and the numerous beautiful Bridges along the Fuime Tevere an the way back we stumble upon the Piazza Navona where we had another of our many serves of gelato.
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Next day we decided to head straight to the Colosseum to avoid the queues, got in straight away and did a guided tour which was interesting to hear some more history of the area, while on this tour they talked about the Palatine ruins and the gardens on the hill overlooking the forum and as it was included in the price of the tickets we though we would check it out.
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We then wandered over towards the river to see St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican City, awesome sight to see both on dusk and in the daylight. There is a long road built like a castle wall that runs from the Basilica to the Castle Sant’ Angelo for the pope to escape along in times of need. Of course the queues here were long so we thought we would try to get into the Vatican Museum to see the Sistine Chapel but that was closed. We wasted few hours at the hostel before having our free dinner at the hostel and headed out to see a few more monuments and night shots of the Colosseum.
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Out early this morning to see St Paul’s Basilica but no that was not possible as the President was it there, it was supposed to open at 1pm so we thought why not see the Sistine Chapel while we wait and obviously everyone else was thinking the same thing so we had to queue for about an hour to get in but boy was it worth it, we managed to sneak a couple of photos in the Sistine Chapel itself but they are not the best as you are not allowed to use cameras in there and we had to hide our camera under a jumper.
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We went back to see St Peter’s Basilica after we had seen the Sistine chapel but unfortunately it was still closed, after waiting for about 3 hours we decided that it was probably best that we keep going and see the other things we hadn’t seen yet. We jumped on the Metro and travelled down to see some more monuments, on our way back I noticed that we hadn’t been to a monument in Repubblica, when we got there we came across a very rustic looking church called the Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli, it didn’t seem to be anything special, but then again it didn’t look like any of the churches I have ever come across before. It looked quiet small with mud coloured rendered walls with a really simple cross, we decided to look inside just for the sake of it and I tell you my jaw dropped. I was absolutely amazing. Both Cat and I said it was almost like the church didn’t want anyone to know they had spent so much money on this church as it looked really poor on the outside and outrageously rich on the inside and it was huge. I would have taken some photos but there were military officers setting ups chairs for some kind of service and I didn’t want to risk deportation. After that experience both cat and I sat on the fountain in the Piazza and watched about 7 flocks of birds dancing in the sky. Then there was just enough time to grab some dinner, pick up our bags and head off to the airport. Well there is soooo much more to tell you about Rome but it really is something you must experience yourself so I recommend that you take a break and see Rome for yourself.

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Posted by krissy 06:59 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Bath

sunny 5 °C

Bath - 01.jpgBath - 09.jpgWe pulled into Bath quiet late and ended up driving around in circles to find our way to the hostel as we were given a map but neither of us realised that it was just of the main roads not of the street names in each of the towns. Once we finally found where we were staying and then found a car park we had dinner and settled in for the night. Got up bright and early to do some photography before going on our guided tour but as we walked out the door we walked smack into a cloud of fog, oh well as there were no photos at that point in time we settled for breaky instead. Once we had finished breakfast the fog had lefted enough for us to wander around and start taking some photos. We walked over one of three bridges in the world that have cute little shops lining either side, we then headed down to the river bank to see some fantastic veiws of the New Bath on top of the old, anyone coming to bath is strongly advised to head down and see it for yourself as it is a truely wonderful sight. We then walked down the river Avon for a bit and bumped into a lovely lady who told us a little about the history of Bath. We then went on to join one of the free guided historical walks, this is also recommended if you come to bath, as you wouldn't beileve some of the information and history you get to catch up on. We ended our day there looking throught the old Roman Baths and the Pump house, very interesting, definately worth doing but you really do need some time to listen to all the audio information. We were short of time so we just listened to the start of each section to get the jist of it all.

Posted by krissy 06:33 Archived in England Comments (0)

Stonehenge

sunny 5 °C

Stonehenge - 02.jpgStonehenge - 20.jpgAfter driving throught the country side from Bath we found Stonehenge. Wow it is absolutely fantastic to see in real life. Unfortunately due to our days becoming shorter, we got there 5 mins before they close the gates so we didn't get to do the audio tour but managed to take some beautiful photos from the road of it and also of a fantastic sunset. It is well worth seeing but definately include it in a trip somewhere else as there is not alot to see for miles around it.

Posted by krissy 04:30 Archived in England Comments (0)

Cardiff/Caerphilly/Caerleon

sunny 5 °C
View Cardiff & surrounding area, Wales - Nov 06 on krissy's travel map.

Cardiff - wales - 03.jpgCardiff - wales - 15.jpgCaerphilly..es - 28.jpgCardiff is a good 2 1/2 hours form Heathrow, we thought we would be fine but once we realised we only had a map with main roads on it we got a little stuck and drove around in circles for about 45 mins which isn't really helped when you are doing it at 11 pm at night. We finally found the hostel and crashed the minute we got to the room. Staight up and out after breaky to start our adventures for the weekend. We found some birds of all sorts down by a lake and thought we would play with those for a while but soon realised we had heaps to do. We managed to find the city centre, which was really quiet busy as Australia was playing Wales at the millennium stadium. We parked the car wherever we could and walked through the university into the city centre were we found The Cardiff Castle smack in the centre of it all. We did a guided tour of the Castle where we learnt of the location of the real round table was. After finishing at the Cardiff castle we made our way out to Caerphilly where they have another completely different style of castle but also eqally beautiful but not as well maintained. Not alot else to do there so we headed on to Caerleon to see the round table. Its not actually a round table, we were told that it is just a myth but it is actually an old Roman ampitheatre that I can imagine would have held gladiator battles in it, it was said that after the Roamans left this ampitheatre it was then used for the gatherings of King Arthur's men before going to battle. We also got to see some the ruins of Roman Baths and Army Barrack's that used to be in a fortress which Caerleon now is built on top of. Lots of history.

Posted by krissy 05:47 Archived in Wales Comments (0)

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