June 11, 2011

Roman Holiday (Day 1, 10 June)

Here we are in the Eternal City, at the start our Roman holiday before moving on to other parts of Italy.

Parting was such sweet sorrow, was on leave during the day to spend some time with the girls and teared every now and then as they slept.

I left just after Nat fell asleep, before that she was pleading with me, “Mummy, I don’t want you to go Italy,” which of course released the tear ducts! Kevin sent us to the airport and we walked around DFS to check out bag prices and I bought a money belt.

The flight on SQ was close to 13 hours, mostly uneventful except for the bout of turbulence over the Bay of Bengal which had me clinging on to the seat in front and willing the plane not to crash! It was swaying up and down, left and right and creaking loudly!

Had the Asian options during mealtimes seeing as to how it was going to be all pasta and pizza for the next 12 or so days. Watched 3 movies – Manu weds Tanu, Love and Other Impossible Pursuits and Gnomeo & Juliet.

Upon landing, we queued quite a bit at immigration…Italian men are hot! From the immigration officer to the waiters, no shortage of eye candy here! We met our transfer driver and when I said ‘yea’ at one point, he corrected me and said ‘si’. When in Rome, gotta speak like the Romans!

We passed a number of sights on the way, getting us excited for the days ahead. At the hotel La Griffe, we couldn’t check in before 2pm, and it was only about 10am when we got there so we dumped the bags and decided to start our walking tour.

We walked down Via Nazionale where we are staying towards the Piazza Venezia. Along the way we saw the Foro di Triano and Trajan’s Column, before heading into the Victor Emmanuel Monument, a tribute to Italy’s first king. It’s sometimes called the ‘wedding cake’, you can see why! There was some kind of exhibit going on, of Italy’s unification. It’s their 150th anniversary this year.

There were some nice views of the city from the top and it was connected to the Campodiglio and a very gorgeous church, called the Santa Maria Basilica of Ara Coeli. The ceilings were really something!

Next we walked down Via del Corso, their Orchard Road equivalent but there are limited shops. We stopped for lunch at La Fontana, a café near the Trevi and then went to see the fountain itself. It was packed with tourists, we managed to take some shots before I indulged in a chocolate and hazelnut gelato.

We spent the next couple of hours going in and out of shops, I bought a few items from Zara and then we went into the designer boutiques at Via Condotti which is just at the base of the Spanish Steps. Another crowded tourist hotspot!

We continued the high street shopping, I dragged Ma to H&M but there was nothing appealing, a pretty small store. Nearly lost Ma for a bit, I didn’t hear her tell me she was going to check out the nearby piazza and panicked when I didn’t see her in H&M.

Eventually we were reunited and went back to the Piazza del Popolo, famous for a large gate through which travellers entered the city in the past. There are also two almost identical churches.

From there we took the metro back to our hotel and finally checked in, we had been out for about 8 hours! The room is so-so, I had high expectations with it being termed ‘luxury’ but it’s more 3.5 star. It will do though.

We went to the McDonalds across the road for dinner, I had a weird burger called Ciociaro. A spinach foccacia bun with chicken patty, mushroom mayonnaise and a stinky cheese. A bit smelly and jelak after a while!

And that sums up Day 1!

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