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Our guide to the Vatican – Walk yourself – Get cheap tickets

Posted by on Nov 22, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

Today, we toured the Vatican. On our own. We visited the Vatican Museums, the Raphael Galleries and the Sistine Chapel with Raphael’s masterpiece ceiling frescoes. Three hours passed in a breeze. Then we took a short walk to Saint Peter’s Basilica, visited the crypt, saw Michelangelo’s Pieta and even managed to sneak into a sermon at 5pm. We did not rush and had a great day. Starting our DIY tour at the Vatican Museums at noon, we finished exactly five hours later at St. Peter’s Basilica. Touring the Vatican by yourself is easy. Here is how.   How to buy cheap Vatican tickets and avoid tour agencies As I searched for tickets online, I noticed that apart from the Vatican’s official ticket website, many ticket sellers offer tours and tickets. Those middleman charge at least 30-40 Euros per person,...

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The spell of Rome – trashy, tricky, tasty, tender

Posted by on Nov 7, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

On some days, it isn’t easy to fall in love with this city. It can get loud, pushy and trashy. Occasionally, you might stumble into a tourist trap. Rome has kept its ancient ravening character. But, walking on so much history is special and imposing. It feels like navigating through a beautiful museum or romantic film setting. Today, I captured some of its spells. Exposing its tricky parts and reporting on Rome’s tender side.   Starting with THE TRAINS. Not on time and somewhat chaotic. We got this big ticket to ride two stations today. It was only 2 Euros for both of us. Using public transport in Rome is cheap. But tricky. We waited by the monitors to see at what platform the train would arrive. It was delayed and we had to check where it would arrive...

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Vatican without hassle

Posted by on Nov 6, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

Crossing the border of one state to another can take as little as a leisurely stroll.   That is what we did today.       Entering the walled enclave that is Vatican City, standing proud right in the middle of Rome. Huge columns forming a colonnade around St Peter’s square leads all visitors towards St Peter’s Basilica.  St Peter’s Basilica. And the Egyptian obelisk that witnessed the crucifixion of Peter, a Christian martyr who died in Rome in the year 64 AD during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero.     The Basilica was actually erected on the burial site of Saint Peter, hence the name.   Imposing arches with intricate carvings.   The Vatican walls.   The smallest country in the world but one of the wealthiest, most powerful and probably strangest. The home of important people...

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Called by the Sunday Market in Rome

Posted by on Nov 5, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

I knew something was up when we woke to the sounds of banging metal bars at 6 am.  It was Sunday in Rome and that means Market Day. Every Sunday, it starts at around 6 am and ends at around 2 pm.   Peeking out the balcony from our flat onto the square of Largo Alesandro Toja in Trastevere, I saw market stalls popping up like mushrooms. The stands were lining adjacent streets for as far as my eyes could see.   The biggest market in Italy was rising to all its glory. I was excited and we got up way earlier than usual (which means that we managed to leave the house after noon).   We tried what has been claimed impossible – to see all of the market – and so first took a walk along Via...

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Do as the Romans do – Laser Tag

Posted by on Nov 4, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

To make the most of our stay in lovely Rome, we like to do as the Roman’s do. We met Fabio, a real Italian and this is how we ended up at Laser Tag. Shooting each others asses. I was new to the game, but I guess one is never too old to try out weird stuff. This is how it went. Each player is dressed in a black vest with various illuminating spots at the front and back. Their brochure made it seem that the girls are to dress like this. Somehow I managed to slip through the net. The Laser Tag vests are the blackest black. Attached to the vest is the gun, bigger and badder, than I thought, even if the players are not. There is no creepy muscle-gym clientèle. People, as in the youngsters, smile...

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Love-ly Rome, Roman sights and food at Carlo Menta

Posted by on Nov 3, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

It is true what they say. Rome has coined the word romance. Or something like it. I might have just made it up. Because right now it seems very fitting.  The warm weather and Italy’s mild climate by the end of  October, our authentic Italian flat, the ancient Roman sights and mesmerizing monuments, our delicious breakfasts in the morning and in a way, the shabbiness of the city… … the right place to fall in love. Today felt just like it. We were butterflies in the city. Our surroundings are pretty. Old and new melt together in Rome. Our neighbourhood in Trastevere.   That day, we just took tram 8 straight to Venezia Station (I am sure we chose it because the name is so romantic) and walked around. The tall trees with their flat crowns are so pretty...

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First steps in romantic Rome – ticket tricks and tourist traps

Posted by on Nov 2, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

Today, we went for a relaxing walk, with the goal to end up at one of the recommended restaurants (authentic, not expensive). We walked, we ate and mainly, I got more of an idea what it will be like to live in Rome for a month. Our breakfasts will indisputably stay the highlight of the morning (or noon more like). On our balcony in Trastevere. We have a balcony! Rucola, olives, artichoke, avocado, corn, Italian tomatoes, sprinkled with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, freshly squeezed orange juice, Italian cheese and ricotta, the other day fresh mozzarella. Bliss. I love to prepare, he loves to eat. I have mastered the concept of love goes through the stomach or whatever the phrase. We have the Italian supermarket Simply in front of our house. It surely looks simple, yet it is well stocked...

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Traveler’s SIM card deal in Italy

Posted by on Oct 30, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

There seems to be little competition in the SIM card department in Italy. The usual ordeal, we were looking for a way to stay connected, this time in Rome. Our apartment comes with was advertised as ‘free Internet’ and that is a giveaway to the Internet situation in Italy. Portable WIFI eggs are something we have only enjoyed in South Korea and Japan so far. I know Vodafone is experimenting in Germany but overall Europe is not quiet there yet. Many apartments in Rome are offered in a way that makes WIFI a very special bonus feature. Anyhow, WIFI at the apartment worked fine up until we had a power shortage. Which couldn’t be solved until the owner had time to arrive and fix it. So we really needed to get a SIM card. Even without internet, we found...

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Welcome to Rome

Posted by on Oct 29, 2014 in All posts, Italy | 0 comments

We have arrived in the city of pizza and piazza, the place of sophisticated cultural sights and historic relevance. We dived right in, luggage in tow, leaving Fiumicino airport with a warm breeze blowing through the exit gates, only to be stopped by taxi touts, blocking our way to the ticket vending machines for the train. First lesson learned: taxi drivers act suspicious, will stay away and use public transport in Rome. Using public transport was a wise choice. .   There were various ways to obtain train tickets at Fiumicino. Facing the entrance to the train platforms were vending machines, as well as small shop stalls and one Trenitalia ticket counter. The vending machine charged 8 Euros from airport to Trastevere per person- but basically to tutte le statzione in Roma (so the ticket says), the shop stalls...

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