Wednesday, February 25, 2015

All roads lead to Rome - my last destination

Finally I arrived to Rome! My last destination after almost a month travel around France by train and visiting some places in Italy, before heading to the Roman Empire! All roads lead to Rome!
While still in Verona I got a problem with my flight back home with Air France. Pilot strike. I can't wait or extend my stay in Rome so I decided to get a new ticket from Rome back to Saigon via Bangkok with Thai Airways.
Later I got 300 USD as compensation from Vietnam Airlines (as I bought the ticket from this site) while I paid 500 USD for a new ticket. I also contact AIA for the insurance (if any!) but upset with their so unprofessional service. Anyway I got to stay in Rome for one more day. No problem at all and much better than if I fly back to Paris (because of my original connecting flight Paris - Saigon) and I have no idea how long I had to wait.

                           A painting on a wall along Tiber river, near to Castle Sant's Angelo 

The hotel's receptionist in Rome, a middle-aged man, Pakistani originally, immigrated to Italy nearly 30 years ago, was so kind to me and he seemed curious about my name when he found my last, first name - almost the same. I also curiously asked him about the immigrants's life in Rome. He said it was much easier before but now very hard. I noticed many Filipinos in Rome, I met a young Filipino, working right in front of my hotel and he nicely but mistakenly greeted me in his mother tongue.

I've been to Rome a little while ago...I threw coins into Trevi Fountain to wish to be back to Rome soon. And I did come back...after almost 15 years! Anyway happy to be back here! I managed to go back to Trevi Fountain, not far from my place, but was disappointed as the whole site under a big restoration. I heard it will be closed until the end of 2015.

                     Trevi Fountain under restoration since 2013, but you still can throw coins...

            ...into a small pool of water from the Fountain, better with a right hand over the left shoulder! 

It were the last days of my journey, so most of my energies has gone, I decided to get a day pass for tourist bus Hop On Hop Off discover Rome. I did feel quite interesting to sit on the top and to see the streets from above.

                         I felt like we were on a spaceship going back to the future...

            and here...between the old buildings, there was an audio guide but I was busy with my camera 

                  if walking I might ignore these icons, existing almost at many corners in Rome.  

                  quite funny to see this group of the street performers from the bus top. 

                   or to take a shot of the entire fountain  

                or this one - Fontana del Tritone since 1642.

But when I bought a pass in Rome, I made a mistake by getting a ticket from a tour company that didn't have much buses, so I had to wait at least 15'-20' for a bus at every stop, while the other tour companies - the bus comes and goes every 5'-10'.

                      The Castle of Sant's Angelo and the Bridge of Angels over the Tiber

                          Ponte Sant'Angelo from the Tiber sidewalk 

The sidewalk along Tiber was not that well-maintained as Seine in Paris, I fount it like abandoned with trash, bush, graffiti...causing not a pleasant feelings while walking along this river bank.

             Along the Tiber bank - the sidewalk was poorly maintained with trash, graffiti everywhere... 

When I've been to Rome in 2001, I spent almost a whole morning in St-Peter's Basilica. I even tried the holy water here as it reminds some Sunday Morning Prayer in my childhood when I was a member of the Christian Boy Scout, even thought I wasn't a Christian. In that 2001 I bought a postcard from Vatican and sent back to my office but the post card never arrived. This time I decided not to enter the Church...  

                      St-Peter's Basilica in Vatican City - taken from my Hop on, Hop off bus...

In 2001 when my company sponsored the best dealers a trip to France and Italy, we also visited this site - Colosseum, I still remember our tour guide, a nice Italian middle-age woman, she used to be a teacher of French language. At that time it seemed no one paid much attention to her stories, as were busy with the probably none of us remember that we were standing in front of the largest  amphitheatre in the world which has been build two thousand years ago!

                   Colosseum - a largest amphitheatre in the world could hold 50 up to 80,000 spectators 

                    The Roman warrior of today - holding a Coke and a cigarette  

                  The bride from Columbia on her weeding day with Italian groom. 

               If I could spend more time secretly behind this Guru, I might know how he float in the air!  

I almost forgot the place where we with our guests spent the evening in 2001- a crowded city square with many restaurants, shops around and big Fountain in the centre. There I bought a nice painting which still hung on my wall back home right now and my portrait painted by a street artist. The portrait seemed lost somewhere in my house. Later I found it was Piazza Navona. I regretfully didn't manage to come back to Navona this time.

                     The unique combination of the today and the past architecture in Rome  

                       Palazzo Venezia 

                 A girl in her colourful national costume - in front of Victory Monument in Rome 

                 Most favourite colour in Italy, I saw it everywhere...from Verona, Florence to Rome 

               and here a small street in front of Castle of Sant's Angelo 

                 I should have booked this bike tour around Rome or at least the Vespa tour...

Late at night when I walked around my hotel neighbourhood, I found some quite interesting dining places...I even met some tourists who tried to find exactly a place that has been recommended in their guide  book.

For me it was easier as I had a big lunch, so I decided to skip dinner and to get only some fruits and juice for the evening, but at the end when I passed by some bakery, I bought also some sweets which later I gave "voluntarily" to some homeless men with their cute dogs on my way back to the hotel.
Next morning for the first time in my entire journey, I took a booked taxi not to the Railway Station but to the Airport. My journey around France and some places in Italy has came to an end.  I will be back to Paris this June for my studies, so I do hope to have more stories to share with you then.

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