Rome was the last big city before some of our group ended their trip and headed home while the rest of us traveled to Greece.
When we arrived in from Florence our guide Claudia took us on a quick walk to the Spanish Steps and The Trevi Fountain before dinner.
The Spanish Steps are crowded and busy with pushy men selling trinkets and tourists alike. Megan and I snapped an obligatory photo since we were there but were anxious to walk down the street to the Trevi Fountain.
Now, there was a lot of restoration going on around Europe in general but Rome was just awful! I knew before leaving for Europe that the Trevi Fountain was undergoing some extensive restoration, but you don't know how disappointing that is until you're standing right in front of all that scaffolding ugliness.
You could say it was just a bit of bad timing since the old bits of course need the upkeep but I felt so robbed! The city did their best to appease tourists and allowed you to briskly walk across a platform built over the fountain for a closer look. It's drained, closed, and covered until October 2015.
Dinner was an entertaining affair with lots of antipasti, pasta dishes, and wine. Megan and I snatched up our leftover bottle on the go as we all hopped back on the bus for an evening tour of the city. The ruins look kind of cool lit up at night, but if you remember back to Paris bus tours aren't my thing.
The next morning we were up early for a tour with a city guide in The Vatican and Roman Forum. I liked our guide because she was bold and made sure our group got the best view of popular spots.
St. Peter's Basilica was very grand and beautiful.
I will be honest and tell you that we had been traveling so quickly from city to city and I saw so much that I was worn out and at this point uninterested as grand as everything was.
On the next part of our tour our guide walked us past the Colosseum but instead of using our ROMA pass to enter, she took us inside the Roman Forum.
The ancient plaza was interesting and all, but I would've much rather gone inside the Colosseum.
Our guide could tell interest was quickly fading under hot sun and our tour thankfully ended at the Roman Forum.
It was then around lunchtime and Claudia suggested that for our free afternoon we walk back to the Vatican if we wanted to see the Sistine Chapel since most other tourists would be resting for lunch.
Turns out the line was still pretty long and those of us who stayed took turns hopping out to grab a bite to eat. We were harassed by a scam artist who wanted us to pay him to jump the line. Because we declined he went on to bash Americans for a good while. He was the only person I encountered on the whole trip who was unkind and hateful toward us for being American. I think being unsuccessful at getting a rise out of us nor getting our money pissed him off even more.
We laughed off his ignorance and waited, waited, and waited some more. Finally we entered in the Vatican Museum and paid more euros than I though worth it. You have to walk through the whole museum before getting to the Sistine chapel so that we did as quickly as we could.
The Sistine Chapel was cool to see and I'm glad I had the experience but it's not my favorite kind of art so after a few minutes gaze I was ready to go.
I wanted to use the rest of my ROMA pass and visit the Colosseum but since the Vatican took so long, Megan and I didn't think we'd have enough time to make it to the other side of the city and back in time for dinner.
We were majorly disappointed because we wanted to see it more than the Sistine Chapel and had hoped the chapel would've been quicker. We cheered ourselves up though by buying some Birkenstocks and gelato. The sandals are so popular in Europe and the style had grown on us.
P.S. they're the most comfortable shoe I've ever owned. They took no time to break in and were perfect for long walking days and cobbled stoned streets. I only wish I'd had them from the beginning of my trip!
A quick metro ride later we were back at the hotel and got ready for our last big group dinner. After dinner we bought more wine and took it up to the rooftop terrace of our hotel overlooking the city.
Our last hurrah as one large group was fun as we reminisced and laughed together, our first day in London feeling as if it were a lifetime ago. Memories tucked away, it was sad to say good-bye the next morning to about half of our group.
After they set off to the airport, the rest of us traveled to Pompeii where had a tour before getting on an overnight ship to Greece.
Pompeii's history was fascinating though visiting was nothing to write home about. I think I was just bursting with excitement and ready to be on a beach in Greece! That night I rolled around in my bed, dramamine coursing through my veins and slept as best I could on the rockiest sea voyage I'd ever been on. But hey, no complaints here because we made it!
Kali mera, Greece!