Sunday, April 19, 2015

Arriving in Rome

Vueling Airlines at Fiumicino Airport
The Vueling aircraft that took us from Barcelona to Rome

I'm now back in my blog roll about the trip I had a long time ago, which translates for it to be running close to 2 years time. It feels like I am dragging it towards world's end and I dread that outcome where the excitement would rub off me. Dear heavens, no.

But it only takes a revisit to my locked-up photos to usher again that sense of wander and adventure of making it to another unfamiliar city in a continent, I once regarded to be as faraway as the stars in the night sky.

Let us then share this reminiscence of that not-so-distant past, reliving almost every step of the way, which even includes how my cousin and I got ourselves from Fiumicino to Rome.

Mediterranean Sea in Fiumicino, Italy
A quick photo of the Mediterranean Sea as our plane made its descent towards Fiumicino

In our 1.75-hour flight, I was seated along the aisle and it was a little late when the idea of transferring to the several empty seats at the front, came to my mind. Before I could compose a proper frame, the pilot then announced our descent! So there, the blueness from top to bottom captured poorly.

Baggage Carousel at Fiumicino Airport

Airport Buses at Fiumicino Airport

Terravision Airport Bus Transfer from Fiumicino to Rome

The airport close to the city of Rome is located in Fiumicino, a distance of 30 kilometers separating them. It is however, well-connected to the eternal city by airport buses, shuttles, trains, taxis and of course, rented cars if that's most convenient to you. For us, we chose to take the airport bus for a more relaxed alternative.

After grabbing our ready-to-eat pizzas near the Arrival hall, we proceeded to buy our bus tickets and then waited at the bus bay in the midst of all the hustle and the commotion of everyone's conversations in Italian. It was an achievement that we were able to get on the right bus. From Hola to Ciao! Here we go!

Highways in Rome

Rome Traffic Jam

Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Italy
Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

Soon after, we arrived in Rome, in Termini Station to be exact. It was the final stop of our Terravision airport bus and from there, our hostel was two blocks away. The above photo clearly signifies that we have indeed arrived in Rome, particularly the historic facade of a basilica, cobblestones and yes, the ubiquitous tourist crowds. This basilica is already close to Termini Station.

Public Bus in Rome, Italy

Without much further ado, we started to roam around Rome (Gosh, I had long waited to be able to say this! haha) by navigating the city by bus. We bought our tickets from a convenience/souvenir shop near our hostel at €1.50 per ticket. The ticket can also be used in the Metro but since we were hitting first the so-called core of Rome, meaning ancient streets and buildings, Metro was not really a good option that time. Rome's Metro consists of only two lines and its network only skirts around the city. It is also highly affected by transport strikes but this is a different story to tell.

Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy
Piazza Navona

Chasing the remaining light that's left, we started our journey at Piazza Navona, where we found ourselves in the thick of a huge crowd. I thought there was a grand event of some sort but I was wrong. I realized thereafter that this thing was just normal. Benvenuti a Roma!

Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

There was a loud music playing in the piazza and as we followed the sound, it had brought us to this circle of merriment. And guess what?! They're dancing to Gangnam Style! hahaha! I never expected the K-Pop wave to reach Rome. The man in the front was the one who's entertaining the crowd and he asked some of his willing audience to join him in his workout routine. At least, that's what I think of what he's doing. Just look at his comfy outfit or the lack thereof! It was such a win-win for him, doing his exercises while earning his dough at the same time.

Human Statue in Piazza Navona

And this type of craft is not only in Barcelona but in Rome as well! As you can see, the piazza is a knick-knack of all various activities, which in hindsight can be considered already a grand event!

The piazza screams very touristy. We never bothered to try to dine in one of the restaurants because aside from it being likely expensive, I doubt if we could get a table in the first place! This has significantly slumped my impression of Rome and that it was just too crowded for my comfort. I remember my conversation with friends on how we now try to stay away from large crowds, be it from crowded restaurants or events and no matter how hard it is to admit, it must be because of our age or shall I say, we are now more matured? haha

Fountain in Piazza, Navona

In Piazza Navona, we also had our first encounter of one of Rome's countless fountains, with promiscuous statues hanging out like nobody cares. Several hundreds of years ago, these fountains had actually provided the Romans with drinking water. With this kind of grandeur in style, they surely knew how to put class to a drinking fountain!

Palazzo Madama, Rome, Italy
Palazzo Madama (Senate of the Italian Republic) 

Palazzo Madama, Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

After having enough of the crowds in Piazza Navona, we then made our exit. It was a cozy night for a random walk and the dark blue canopy sky was just unbelievable. It made the experience surreal. The sound of our shoes against the cobbled pavement, the ancient buildings in every turn that we made, it felt like we were transported into a different time. Although we chanced upon a few dark corners, the presence of tourists was ironically an advantage. Rome is a buzz at night especially around those areas close to the notable attractions. There will likely be waiters inviting you to their restaurants as you pass by and a few rowdy ones who photobomb your photos. More of Rome, up next. Ciao!

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