Rome was hot. It was sticky. And perhaps the most exhausting three days on this trip so far.
I think you could say that we started off on the wrong foot. Besides the stress of the trip from Paris to Rome (as mentioned in my last post), the bus which was meant to take us from the metro station to the street outside our hostel never came. We literally sat next to this old rusted pole (which to be honest did not look like a bus stop in the first place) for a solid hour in the stifling heat before giving up and deciding that we would lug our suitcases to our hostel ourselves. WHAT A TERRIBLE IDEA. Firstly, it was around 35 degrees that day, the path was made up of bumpy cobblestones which meant I couldn’t even push my suitcase on its four wheels, plus the walk was around a kilometre, which may not sound long but let me tell you, it felt like a lifetime away.
Anyway, I could’ve cried when we finally reached our wondrously air-conned hostel room. After taking a nice cold shower, we re-entered the heat of the day and went to go see Vatican City. How crazy is it to think that Vatican City is an actual country?!! It’s so tiny! I think the novelty of it was really all the reason that I needed to convince me that it was a must-see on our Europe trip, plus the Pope lives there which I guess is also pretty cool. We went inside St Peter’s Basilica which had this massive window on the back wall where all this sunlight was streaming through – it was very beautiful indeed. However I’m coming to realise that I really need to brush up on my history before I visit these famous historical sites. That night when I was video calling my Dad, he asked if I saw Peter’s grave. I was really confused about what he was talking about until he explained to me that the basilica is named St Peter’s Basilica because St Peter is said to be buried there. I can’t believe that I completely overlooked its actual significance when I was there.
I felt similarly when we went to visit Palentino Hill and the Roman Forum the day after – I didn’t completely understand what I was looking at half the time and since it was completely outdoors, all I could think about was how I was melting under the deadly heat of the blazing sun. However, visiting the Colosseum that afternoon was great! I actually remember researching about it for a Grade 6 assignment so to be able to see it first hand was surreal. Also, to think that it was a place where gladiators fought to the death seems crazy, but also sooo freaking cool!
On our third and final day in Rome we went to visit the Vatican Museum. The line was crazy and we ended up waiting in line for a good hour and a half before getting in. It was really funny because we were lining up behind this small group of Chinese people and this tour guide kept on coming up to us and the people in front of us, trying to convince us to pay more to skip the lane – obviously mistaking us for rich Asians instead of a bunch of poor uni students. The Vatican Museum was great and was a lot bigger than I had thought – there was a mummy exhibition, sculpture rooms, a room of maps and a room of tapestries, the list goes on. Of course, everybody was just dying to see Michelangelo’s painting The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel, which was conveniently located at the end of the museum, which you reached only after going through all the other rooms. I have to be honest, the painting is a lot smaller than what you’d think in real life, but still breathtakingly intricate and beautiful.
I half wished that we could’ve stayed longer in Rome because there is just so much to see, but on the other hand I’m so glad that we are setting out further north so that we can escape the intense heat. I have actually eaten way too much gelato for my own good during the last few days, but then again what better place to eat it than in Rome.