Day 7, 8 – Walking Roma and Rainy Walking

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Let me just say that I was in for a rude awakening at our second hostel. While conveniently placed, and shiny on the outside, our hostel was particularly bad (mostly because of a terrible bathroom). Call me soft I guess, but I’m glad we’re in our new place.

On day 7 of our trip, Cara and I continued our habit of walking. We walked approximately 18km, doing a self-guided walking tour of Roma. We slept in that morning because of a late night previously, and a wicked rain and thunder storm that ran into the morning. After getting up, we booked our new hostel (which is around the corner, and much nicer) and then set out to explore Roma a little more.
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First, we visited the Pantheon, the historic site of Roman worship built in 126AD. It is now a Roman Catholic Church, though, I must say, very different from any other church I have been in. The Pantheon has an open hole in the roof which makes for splendid lighting (especially at noon, when we showed up), but also meant that the center of the floor had to be roped off due to the aforementioned rain.

After the Pantheon, Cara and I stopped to eat a packed lunch, then treated ourselves to the supposed best gelato in Roma, at Giolitti’s. While the selection and service was impeccable, and the gelato was good, I would say that we had better in Napoli.

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Next, we made our way up to the Castel Sant’ Angelo and its spectacular precedent the Ponte Sant’Angelo. The bridge was originally built in 134AD as a connection to Hadrian’s Mausoleum (the ancient base for the medieval castle), which was then anointed with angels by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the 1600s.

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The castle is topped by a magnificent statue of its namesake, the archangel Michael, and was home to various popes over the year (including during the Sack of Rome, when Pope Clement VII spent nearly 7 months in the castle). The castle was largely open for exploration and included both ancient history (construction and purpose of Hadrian’s Mausoleum), as well as medieval and modern history (conversion of the mausoleum and use by the Roman Catholic Church). The view from the top of the castle, with Michael watching over all of us, was breathtaking.

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After the castle, Cara and I made our way down to Trastevere (thanks to Terrence for the recommendation) where we enjoyed the old part of town, which was very cute, and had a dinner of pizza and wine at Dar Poeta (again, at the recommendation of Terrence), which was quite delicious.

The next day, we checked out of our hostel (thank God), picked up Erica at the train station, and booked our train tickets for the trip to Firenze (Florence). We got settled at our new hostel (which is very nice; the owners greeted us with a free cool drink), and the rooms are comfortable and clean. We then went down to the Colosseum to get our tickets for tomorrow, walked around Roma a bit with Erica, got rained on (BADLY), got soaked, came back to the hostel, changed, and ate dinner. Today, therefore, was a rather uneventful day.

We still have three days left in Roma to explore the Colosseum, the Forum, Palatine Hill, and the Vatican, as well as the many other museums that we may choose to visit. There is also plenty of pasta and pizza to be eaten.

Until next time, ciao!

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