Travel Thoughts by Kim
Let’s go on an adventure together….to Rome, Italy!
This is the first of a series of articles I will be writing to share stories and photos from a wonderful adventure I experienced as I cruised around the Mediterranean Sea in August. It was a trip I always wanted to do and when I saw a friend posting photos on Facebook of many of the places still on my bucket list, I checked it out…..and decided to just do it!!! The trip began with two days in Rome, Italy and included a Mediterranean Cruise – 7 ports in 7 days covering Italy, France, and Spain. I technically visited five different countries, since I visited Vatican City and Monaco – the two smallest countries in the world as part of my time in Italy and France. The cruise started and ended in Rome.
International travel has been tricky of late with all the post-Covid restrictions. But, just as I was booking the cruise, the negative Covid test requirement for re-entry into the US was dropped – YAY! And, then, the cruise line dropped their requirement for a negative Covid test prior to boarding the ship as of August 1st. So – no Covid tests were required for any part of my trip. I had my vaccination records with me, but the only time I was asked for them was upon checking in to board the ship (but, we were told that any Italian or Spanish port could randomly ask for them and to be ready). So, it was a lot easier than my post-Covid trips to Costa Rica and Scotland. That was a real relief!
This article will focus on my two days in Rome. While the lifted restrictions for testing helped make international travel easier in that sense, there are still some things that need to be considered. In particular, the issues with air travel. Most airlines are still struggling with delays, cancellations, and other issues that cause problems with getting where you want to go in the time frame you want to get there. So – to ensure I didn’t run into anything that would cause me to miss the start of my cruise on Tuesday, I left for Rome on Saturday. That would give me time to work through delays or cancellations without added stress. Luckily, all my flights went off as scheduled and I arrived in Rome on Sunday morning. That gave me Sunday and Monday to spend exploring Rome a bit. PERFECT!
The hotel I chose was the Hotel Homs in the heart of Rome – perfect location and a very nice boutique hotel. They had a lovely buffet breakfast and there was an outdoor restaurant located right across the narrow street. I ate dinner there both nights because it was convenient, the food was amazing, the price was reasonable, and the waiters were adorable flirts! Hahaha
My first day I stored my bags at the hotel and did a lot of walking around the heart of Rome and took a Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour to get a taste of Rome. The famous Spanish Steps seen in many movies (like “Roman Holiday”, starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn) were just a block or so away from the hotel, so I started there. Believe it or not, I made it up the 135 steps and back down. The view from the top was incredible! I got back to the hotel after several hours of exploring to check in and went across the street for dinner and a glass of wine. I had a wonderful conversation with a lady at the next table – she was a Delta flight attendant from Brooklyn. After dinner, a little nap turned into a full night’s sleep to shake the jet lag and recoup from a full day of walking in the brutal heat.
Day Two – I had “skip the line” tickets to the Vatican, so I grabbed a taxi and headed out after breakfast. A guided tour took me through all the buildings and rooms at the Vatican – a 110-acre sovereign nation where the pope and about 800 people reside. WOW – that was amazing! The Vatican Museums are a maze of rooms and buildings with wonderful works of art, artifacts, mosaic floors, and intricately painted ceilings. Several courtyards connect the buildings. Each room, courtyard, and garden took my breath away – so beautiful and peaceful. Included was time in the Sistine Chapel to see the famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo and St. Peter’s Basilica – photos are prohibited in the chapel and basilica, but any photos I would have taken would never have done them justice, anyway. I also got to spend a little time in St. Peter’s Square. All absolutely incredible! A point to be aware of: entry into any religious building in Italy requires you to have shoulders and knees covered – you won’t be granted access otherwise. After the tour, I did some more walking around the area around the Vatican and sat a while with a cold bottle of water to “people watch” before grabbing a taxi back to the hotel for dinner.
I would have liked to go to the colosseum after the Vatican, but it took longer than I expected and it was late in the day, so skipped it. I also really wanted to see the Trevi Fountain, but never found it in my exploring time – everyone I asked said it was “just over there – 5-10 minutes, tops”, but it sadly eluded me. So, there were things I missed out on seeing, but it is OK…..I did a LOT in two days and got to see quite a bit of Rome. I kept reminding myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day and it isn’t possible to see it all in two days! Hahaha I think I did pretty darned good with the time I had.
You won’t want to miss out on seeing all the photos from my adventure in Rome that are featured in my Blog Post.