When In Rome

Day 1

We arrived in Rome at 1:30pm and just in time for our tummies to remind us we were starving. I am not one to complain about plane food, in fact, I actually rather enjoy it (getting waited on, dessert with every meal, ordering as many wines as it takes to take that flight edge away), but I think I have been spoilt with the luxury of Singapore airlines - gosh those four course Asian meals are divine! But the plane food hadn’t exactly sufficed this time. It was my first time flying with Etihad airlines, and although the food wasn’t terrible, it also wasn’t exactly appetizing. I had also skipped a couple of meals from taking anti-travel sickness tablets that had made me drowsy (they completely knocked me out for circa ten hours. I wasn’t impressed when I awoke to find I had missed the first two nourishment rounds). Anyway, we were pretty hungry when we arrived, so after checking into our hotel in Rome we went straight out on the hunt for some Italian nosh.

We reached a pizzeria with a decent looking menu and bustling atmosphere. Feed me. We sat down, chose and ordered our meals and two glasses of wine. The waiters brought over a basket of bread and bottled water for the table. We had been forewarned about the cheeky extras the Italians tend to add to your bill, but we were thirsty, hungry and jet lagged so those dinner add-ons were well devoured in. A rugged looking man approached us and begun showing us photos of his said wife and baby who were ‘stuck’ in Africa. He then offered us miniature African animal figurines, placed them on our table and left. I spent the next few minutes babbling about how generous the man was, only to have him return moments later and demand money from us. Seeing as we had no change and didn’t exactly want the miniature elephants we handed the gifts back. Welcome to Rome.

Day 2

We were keen to get exploring this wonderful city, and only 200 metres down the road was Vatican City so we started our explorations there. In typical tourist fashion we immediately got sold a tour from one of the 30 locals who approached us. But the queue was insane, a 2.5 hour wait, so it wasn’t hard to convince us to take the guided tour with skip-the-queue priority. They also gave me free scarfs to cover up my shoulders and knees for the Sistine Chapel. The Chapel, the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica were absolutely stunning! As our first impressions of Rome’s world famous sights, we were completely in ore. Our mouths were dropping with every corner we turned.

Though the tour itself was a little draining, it was certainly an experience. Our guide spoke basic English and started every sentence with ‘permit me to say’ and ended her words with ‘a’.

“Permit me to say, this beautiful paintinga representsa …”

But kudos to her, she knew her stuff, and I’m sure if I could have understood what she was saying half the time I would have learnt a lot! I also loved her random MUMMAMIA!’s.

We spent the rest of the afternoon visiting the Castle of the Holy Angel, the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. The photos say it all, but we were completely WOW’d by the beauty of this city. We calculated our total walking distance to at least 15k, so we were well and truly ready for a traditional aperitivo – a choice of drink (typically an aperol spritz) followed by a serving of tasty samples and picks from the menu. The first aperitivo didn’t quite satisfy Cameron’s hunger needs, so admittedly we went out for a second afterwards at a fancy cocktail bar!

Day 3

We took day 3 to do the rest of our Rome bucket list – the Colosseum and the Pantheon. We even met up with one of my ‘Instagram besties’ for a cheeky prosecco outside the Pantheon. We finished off our final night with a romantic dinner down one of Rome’s cobblestone side streets. We drank wine, laughed a lot and savoured our authentic Italian meals - oh those delious flavours! The waiter took rather a big liking to Cameron, trying to spoon-feed him his pasta and fare-welled me with “Goodnight. Your boyfriend will be back in the morning.” Thank goodness Cameron came back with me.

Rome, you were an absolute blast!

riana horner