We have recently returned from a wonderful trip to Rome. It was a special week for us, marking the end and celebrating a beginning. It has become a tradition of ours that we go somewhere and experience something new together, for our birthdays, we knew that this year; my birthday month will be rather different. We figured that in order to fully appreciate our last few ‘free’ weeks together, we would go for a week away in early January. Michael starts University full time again in February and so things will be a little different around here.

So, last Sunday we flew to Rome and had ourselves a lovely little break. We walked until our feet were raw and savoured every bit of sunshine, blue sky, good food, gelato, beautiful architecture and history that we came across.

After arriving late on Sunday evening and getting our self a bit of pizza, sitting on a bench outside the Vatican City wall, we spent the evening, cosy in our perfect little hotel room. On Monday morning, bright and early we set out to get acquainted with the city we were yet to see in daylight.

Monday was the beginning of a lot of miles; we walked and walked, talked, photographed, ate and admired the buildings. By the end of the day, we felt much more comfortable navigating and figured out what we would live to do, and when!

On Tuesday we headed over to Vatican City, a highlight of the week for me. The place was breath-takingly-beautiful. The sun was beating down and people were milling around, it was very quiet in comparison to the bustling streets of Rome, there was a surreal sense of calm and tranquillity. We headed over to the Vatican Museum and spent the morning wandering through the gardens, playing with our cameras and of course visited the Sistine Chapel.

Later that afternoon, we managed to get ourselves onto a free English tour of St Peters’ Basilica; it was wonderful to walk around the two very kind men who were studying for their priesthood. We learnt a lot about the building, its history and the incredible mosaics.

We had pre-booked an archaeological tour of the Colloseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon Trevi Fountain and Piazza Navona. Unfortunately, it was far too fast moving for us and we didn’t feel like we had enough time in each location to truly appreciate the place. Although we felt rushed and sad that we had to leave each destination so quickly, we did learn some interesting facts along our way. We knew that we wanted to go back to the Colloseum and the Roman Forum to really get a better feel for the place, spend a little longer admiring.

Thursday, our last full day, we made sure that we made the most of what little time we had left in that wonderful city and jam-packed our day. Spending the early morning in the Borghese Gardens, watching the city wake from up above, was a lovely start to the day, next we headed to a part of the city that we had yet to explore, near to Termini Station. Later we decided that we had to go back to the Colloseum and spend a few hours there, I am so glad we made that decision because we left feeling much happier and were able to see the finer details that the tour just did not allow time for. On our walk back to the hotel, we happened across the Castle Sant’Angelo which had caught my eyes a number of times. The amazing price of 3 euros and 50 cent (architectural students are free!) gave us full access to the castle. As always we headed to the top in the hope of a view across the city and boy did we get one! Watching the sun set, St Peters Basilica shine in all its glory and overlook all the places we had visited was a perfect ending to our week. All the more special because we didn’t even plan it!

Luckily for us, the Colloseum ticket allows free entry to the Roman Forum for up to 48hrs after purchase! Early on Friday morning, before having to make our way to the airport, we legged it over to the Roman Forums and spent a few hours exploring, climbing to the top of the palace remains, strolling the orangeries and wandering through the Roman village and square remains in the beautiful sunshine.

A quick goodbye to the lovely ladies at our hotel and we were off, limping from all the walking, full of memories and bursting with all the wonderful food we had eaten that week. A lovely way to beat the January Blues I must say!



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