Thursday, December 5, 2019

Solo Travel Story in Rome 2019

colosseum rome italy imperial roman great building, attractions in rome

So here I am again. Your little pinay being all brave and confident to travel alone. Last time I went to Paris, Barcelona and Palma de Mallorca - all 3 cities in a span of 9 days. It was something that I wouldn't do anymore because it was exhausting. This time, I decided to focus in just one city for 5 days, in the imperial city of Rome! I want to share this especially to my fellow filipinas who are on a limited budget and are travelling alone.

If you want to explore the city on a budget, I suggest you get an unlimited travel pass ticket from one of the stalls in the airport. Depending on your length of stay, you can choose from a single journey ticket to a 24-hour, 2-day, 3-day and 1-week unlimited travel pass. You can use this ticket to ride buses, subway trains and trams within the city.  Just take note that it could be very crowded during peak hours. 

Getting around and visiting attractions is just easy with the use of Google Maps! All you need to do is follow the directions and calibrate your compass. Calibrating the compass of your Google Maps app will help you get the right arrow directions when you need to walk a certain distance from one platform to another. Please know that I have been lost a few times because I didn't calibrate.

For my first day in Rome, I travelled from the airport to my accommodation using public transportation. Again I used Google Maps which directed me to ride a certain bus then train. I booked my accommodation thru Airbnb which is a bunk-bed room good for 6 people and it was very close to the metro train station. It was an apartment owned by a live-out landlord and it has everything that you need like a cooking area, microwave, lockers, hair dryer, etc. I only paid £12 (800 pesos) per day. No one else was booked so I was lucky to have the entire apartment to myself!

The next day, I started my DIY tour and went to the most renowned structure in Rome, the Colosseum. Looking at it from the outside gave me a feeling of nostalgia. Maybe I was one of the roman goddess in my previous life LOL. Anyway, to avoid the hassle of lining up for a ticket, I suggest you buy it online and print it yourself (link here). Buying a ticket at the actual site is quite a hassle due to myriad of tourists everyday. To be honest, I wasn't very thrilled to see the inside of the Colloseum (even if I have read all about its history beforehand) however, you can use the same ticket to enter the neighbouring attractions - Palatine Hill and Roman Forum. My favourite is the panoramic view in the Palatine Hill. It was a very posh neighborhood during the ancient Rome and some of its poshness is still seen until this very day. The rest of my tour is visiting the following attractions: The Pantheon - a former Roman temple turned church; Spanish Steps - 135 beautiful steps with luxury brand shops nearby; Piazza Navona - a beautiful plaza with restaurants nearby; Campo de' Fiori - an interesting marketplace with local produce, flowers and delicacies. A little bit near the Pantheon is the Area Sacra de Largo Argentina. It's a historic area where Julius Caesar, the man who changed Rome forever, was assassinated. But what's more interesting here is the cat shelter and the chubby and friendly cats. You can visit the cat shelter at the corner and pet the cats!

inside the colosseum, roman empire
Inside the Colosseum

The Pantheon

palatine hill, rome attractions, trees, blue sky, hill, ruined buildings, rome, italy
The panoramic view in Palatine Hill
spanish steps, stairs
Spanish steps
Cat shelter at the corner of Area Sacra de Largo Argentina

For my third day, I went to the Vatican. I bought my ticket online for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel a day before going there. I couldn’t find the option to buy a ticket for St. Peter's Basilica (maybe it was too late for me), but I suggest you buy one with access to the dome where you can have a panoramic view of the Vatican City and the rest of Rome. Just be prepared to be on a long queue for security check before entry. It's a huge area to be touring around so make sure to wear your best walking shoes and be mindful of your outfit since it is the centre of Christianity.

staircase beautiful, bramante, double helix stairs, vatican staircase
The modern version of the Bramante staircase located in the Vatican Museum

artwork, sistine chapel, vatican
Sistine Chapel in Vatican Museum

Somewhere in Vatican

For my fourth day, I woke up early and went to the Trevi fountain for a less crowded photo session. I think the best time is around 7am. Since I'm alone, I just relied on my tripod and bluetooth shutter. Just take note that you cannot sit at the edge of the fountain or else you'll hear a loud whistle from one of the security guards. One thing you should do here (so you’re not missing out) is to throw a coin with your right hand over your left shoulder. One coin means you’ll return to Rome; two, you’ll return and fall in love; three, you’ll return, find love and get married. I didn’t know this until I went home so I missed my chance of wishing to get married! Anyway, moving on to the next spot, I visited Transtevere, a bohemian area which has its own special set of restaurants, shops and a plaza. I just had my lunch there and went back to the city. Since I still had free time, I bought a bus tour ticket from one of the street vendors. The cheapest was the EnjoyBus company but they have lesser bus in operation which means a longer wait time compared to other bus companies such as BigBus, City-Sightseeing, etc.

The trevi and me

cute pink bike, cute cafe in rome
Just a cute cafe in Transtevere

The fifth day was my last day in Rome. Since my flight was in the afternoon, I decided to continue with the bus tour which was valid for 24 hours from the time I bought it. It was a sunny day, so the bus tour was all worth it with the beautiful sceneries of Rome.

Some photos I took during my bus tour:

Basilica Papale de Santa Maria Maggiore, basilica
Basilica Papale de Santa Maria Maggiore

River Tiber

Of course I wouldn't end this blog without talking about the food in Rome. "When in Rome, your tummy will not be doomed!" Food is literally just everywhere so it wouldn't be a problem getting hungry. Well, it was a bit of a problem for me because I don't speak Italian and I was just alone so making an order was usually awkward and challenging. However, they usually understand English so it's not a big deal really. For coffee lovers, you can try the coffee in 'Sant' Eustachio il cafe', which has been serving good Italian coffee since 1930. You must make an order and pay at the cashier first, then bring the receipt to the bar. To try the best pizza, a lot would recommend 'Forno Campo de Fiori'. It’s a small bakeshop selling traditional pastry and pizza near the market. What I suggest is if you see a lot of people ordering then most likely it's a good one. For gelato, you can try 'G. Fassi'. They claim to be the very first ice cream shop in Rome. I like how affordable it is there and it was close to my accommodation. You can also try 'Frigidarium' which is within the city centre and has good reviews. For dinner, there are so many restaurants everywhere especially in Piazza Navona and Transtevere. If you really want an authentic Italian restaurant, look for a restaurant that closes after lunch and opens back at dinner time. I'm sure our Google friend can help you with that

gelato rome cone

pizza rome

Soo… I hope you learned something today my friends! Travelling alone could be one of the loneliest activities to do but on the other side, it is empowering, fulfilling and hassle-free! So book it already and go for it. Fly and soar high just like a bird! LOL Okay I'm talking nonsense now, goodbye!

When in Rome, buy a leather bag

If you will be travelling in Rome, it's best to watch my video here. I'm embarrassed with my bedroom/lazy voice here but anyway, it's the thought that counts right? haha

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1 comment:

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