About a month ago, I decided to take a spontaneous trip to Italy. As in, I booked the plane tickets to Rome, the hostel, and the Bus2Alps day trip in the four days before I went. Visiting Venice was high on my list and when my flat mate pointed out that it was Carnevale weekend, it seemed like the perfect time for a last-minute trip.
I arrived in Rome quite late and managed to sleep for a few hours before my early 5:30 AM wake-up call to take a Bus2Alps trip to Venice. Due to the last minute planning and my ignorance in regard to Italian geography, I had no idea how far Venice was from Rome. I was a bit surprised when I learned that it would be a seven hour drive each way! The coach drove through the mountains of Italy and we stopped for lunch in a small town, so it was a gorgeous drive, if really long! When I arrived in Venice, the first stop was a mask shop. I loved the very first mask I saw and it was the most inexpensive one I saw all day, so I was quite pleased with my choice!
Venice was everything I thought it would be: canals everywhere with colourful and old buildings. At the recommendation of another flat mate, I was determined to find Aqua Alta Bookstore, where all of their books are kept in boats in case of flood!
Bus2Alps organized a glass blowing demonstration for us, which was really neat. We packed into a boiling hot room while the glass blower put a slab of glass in an even hotter oven, pulled it out and in about two seconds transformed a blob of glass into a horse.
Just as the sun was setting, we took a gondola ride. It was gorgeous and so much fun to float down the canals right between buildings.
Then, it was another really long bus ride back to Rome. As in, we left around 10 PM and did not get back until 6 AM. I slept for a few hours until I woke to a mass exodus of everyone leaving the hostel around 10 AM. I had totally forgotten that everyone in the hostel must leave for a few hours due to cleaning. So I quickly got ready and then stumbled off half-awake to explore Rome. Most of the day was spent just meandering around the city to see the touristy sites like the Colosseum (where I was practically attacked with street vendors trying to tell me selfie sticks), the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. The fountain is undergoing restoration so it was empty of water and covered in scaffolding. So I need to come back to Rome as soon as it is complete, right?
After a late dinner, I wandered around Rome over the bridges by the Vatican and past the Roman ruins. We stopped by ruins for a few minutes right at midnight to just appreciate that we were actually in Rome and looking at the only remnants of a once glorious empire. It was actually a bit spooky and awe-inspiring at the same time. There were also cats wandering around the forum so that is always nice!
The next day, I toured the Vatican. I highly recommend buying tickets in advance, because we were able to surpass a massive queue. I spent hours touring, looking through all of the museums. The tour ended with the Sistine Chapel, where photos were not allowed, but it was amazing to see one of the most famous paintings of the Renaissance in person (even if being packing in with thousands of other tourists diminished the moment somewhat). I spent the rest of the day wandering around aimless, just exploring Rome. I was really proud of myself for not getting lost, until I realised that it is impossible to get lost when there is no destination in mind!
I really enjoyed this trip and wanted to come back before I had even left. Italy is a phenomenal country and I hope to explore more of it in the near future. Iceland Part Two is coming next!
Hi, I’m Crystal! Just like you, I love to travel. You’ll get all the best tips and insights from my experiences as a former ice-skating coach in Iceland and former study abroad student. Of the 24 countries I have visited, a type 1 diabetes diagnosis has been the strangest land yet. Type 1 has not slowed down my travels and you'll learn how to take type 1 with you on the road! You can connect with me further on Instagram @CrystalChilcott, or send me ideas of where I should travel next via email: firstname.lastname@example.orgHappy Travels, Crystal
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