When I’m at home, big nights out lead to big days in: just me and my sofa, settling down for a solid day of comfort.
Not on holiday. On holiday you have to battle on, power through, get up and go, etc… I always seem to get the most stonking hangovers on the first day of my holidays. Obviously, it’s nothing to do with me and definitely not my fault, but it means I have some experience of crawling out of my bunk, putting on my sunglasses and getting back out into the world. Besides, I’d booked something for that morning that I’d been looking forward to for years: a trip to the Sistine Chapel.
I booked my ticket online in advance for €8. This was a very good idea since it meant I could basically walk in instead of having to queue outside. BTW, the entrance to the museum is around to the right of St. Peter’s Square: just follow the wall until you see the huge crowds/queue.
It got slightly more complicated when I got inside: you have to take your email print out to a ticket person on the left hand side of the hall and they turn your email into a ticket. I ended up waiting for ages because the guy in front of me in the queue had a problem that was so complicated the ticket lady had to close the booth and walk away. I was quite worried I’d missed my slot but nobody seemed to care.
The Vatican museum was the worst place to be with my hangover: crowded, hot, with nowhere to sit down. It was awful. Look how crowded it is. Look how there is nowhere to sit. They don’t even let you stop or sit down to look at the Sistine Chapel ceiling. I mean, wut? Silly people.
Obviously, I might have found the whole thing less uncomfortable without the hangover but TBH I’m not sure it made so much difference. One of my pet hates is people who take photos of art without looking at the art first and that happened a lot. They also make you walk through A LOT of other rooms before you get to the Sistine Chapel. I didn’t realise quite how much art there was going to be and so I ended up spending a long time looking at the art in the first few rooms and then racing through the later rooms. My advice would be to be prepared and don’t linger at the early art.
After the Vatican museum, I bought a postcard. Because the Vatican is a country and not part of Italy, they have special stamps with a ‘Vatican’ postmark. It’s a nice souvenir/gift and only costs around €0.70 for a stamp. I sent it to my mum 🙂 I also had lunch in the Vatican restaurant. It’s a sort of buffet, not the most delicious food but easy and relaxing: the lady was very kind. It was exactly what I needed.
Then, I wandered, I did some sightseeing, I ate an ice cream. I also got very lost on a motorway. It was one of those days (don’t worry, I re-found touristland in the end). The forum is just as nice as it was before, especially when it’s practically free. However, be warned: the entrance on the other side from the Colosseum closes before the other entrances, so this might feature in your plans.
In my groggy, sleepy state I missed out a lot of stuff: Castel Sant’Angelo, the Pantheon, the inside of St Peters. But I did have a very delicious pizza in the evening and a KitKat. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.
I also found two bits of Rome I’d never found before. There was a park on a hill that featured in a movie I saw one time called The Great Beauty. In the middle of this park (just follow the main road) was this wonderful promontory where I could see over all of Rome. It’s very beautiful and worth the walk.
At the foot of the hill, there was a lovely more rural-feeling area with narrow cobbled streets and cats. It was cool and quiet and very pleasant. If I were to go to Rome again I’d stay here. I had no idea where it was (see above, re. hangover) but with hindsight I think it was Trastevere.
Overall, I found Rome very busy, crowded and hot. I mean, I’m from London so I should be used to the crowds. Since I got back I’ve been reading so many amazing blog posts like here and here with these awesome suggestions of beautiful or unusual things to do in Rome which I wish I’d seen before I went. Ah well, looks like I’ll have to go back! and maybe drink less next time…
Next stop: Naples! Until then x