S

S

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Ti amo, roma


Oh Rome, where do I even begin to describe this city? Though it was nearly impossible to walk around in heels on their cobblestone pathways, I fell in love with this city. I've watched movies like Roman holiday, when in Rome, angels and demons and documentaries when the Pope is being selected at St Peter's square; and Rome always looked so spectacular in those films. Though every city is practically on my list of countries to visit but Rome was definitely amongst the top few; and now I can finally say that it is in my top three favourite cities of those I've visited! (Psst. The other two awesome cities to visit are Venice and London! ^^)

Okay, enough of my rambling and let's get on with day 1 of Rome. We went for the Rome free walking tour and for those who are not familiar with free walking tour, basically the tour guides will bring us around and tell us the history or details about the different attractions in the city; and at the end of the tour, we tip the guide any amount we wish to give. These tour guides do a marvelous job in allowing me to understand more about the culture and history of the city, making the trip more enjoyable as well. So if you would like to know more about the city you're visiting, (not just in Rome, there are free walking tours in Amsterdam, Berlin, Krakow, Glasgow etc), just search for free walking tours.

MSN <3
Oops. I ended up sidetracking again. haha. Anyway, we met up with the tour group at the Piazza di Spagna which was near the Spanish Steps. The Spanish steps were beautiful but due to my lack of photography skills, the picture below doesn't do it justice :/
Fun fact: This monumental stairway of 135 steps is also known for having the widest steps in Europe! Pretty cool.

Spanish Steps
Next up, we headed to the Pantheon. A temple where all the Gods of Ancient Rome resides.
Pantheon
After visiting the Pantheon, we went to Piazza Navona which is one of the most famous and beautiful squares in Rome. It has three magnificent fountains in the middle of the square and each fountain had different intricate figurines on it. #stunning




My fav travel buddies!
Gorgeous art works street vendors are selling
Oh yes, one thing I have noticed around Europe and UK is that there are A LOT of buskers and I really mean A LOT! They are practically everywhere at each iconic destination and some of them are fantastic at what they do. There are buskers singing, playing musical instruments, dancing, drawing, posing as statues, impersonating as a character so you can take a photo with him and the list goes on. It's interesting and sometimes you meet a busker that is original, talented, fun or otherwise one who enlivens up your day.

Pretty busker playing a lovely tune with her violin
Time for some snacks in-between our stops during the walking tour. Below is a picture of an Italian ice cream dessert with panna (Italian word for whipped cream) called Tartufo. Mmhhmm and it tastes so so delicious. It comprises of two flavoured ice cream with fruits placed in the middle and a special chocolate sauce is poured over the ice cream ball. Nomnomnom.

Tartufo
Look at that.

Vatican City
 Finally, our last stop of the day for the walking tour was at the Vatican City. Oh how I adore the architecture and the design of the Vatican City. Look at those columns of the colonnade! Also, if you stand at a specific spot on St Peter's square, you'll be able to see the columns as a single row instead of four columns as it is the foci for the elliptical square! How amazing is that! haha

The colonnade
The basilica
First up we went to explore the Vatican Museum and this place is probably one of the main reason why I love Rome. It was huge and sadly we didn't have time for everything even though we spent almost 3 hours there? The most popular part of the museum would be the Sistine Chapel whereby the process of a new pope being selected is held there. And not forgetting those masterpieces on the walls done by Michelangelo. Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures of his works as pictures weren't allowed :( but my were they amazing. My mind was seriously blown away by how talented this man could be, in terms of sculpting and painting. His painting were so real and the colours were vibrant. haha oops I'm ranting again. But if you do have the opportunity to visit Rome, please do visit the sistine chapel, it'll be worth it.






The obelisk
Next up was the Basilica which is the burial site for St Peter. It was an enormous church. Oh and though there is no cover charge to go into the Basilica, one has to dress appropriately, which means we have to wear clothes that cover our shoulder and wear bottoms that goes below our knees. They are pretty strict about the dress code and I saw people getting turned away at the door due to inappropriate attire, so remember to wear the correct attire before going in.





After a long day of sightseeing, it was time to grab a bite! We went to try white pizza that is also a famous delicacy in Italy but I kinda still prefer normal pizza. haha


White pizza
Oh look I found my very own restaurant in Rome


It was finally dinnertime and our stomaches were all growling as we skipped lunch for the Vatican City. It's really funny how every European restaurant thinks we're weird when we order only 3 main dishes for 5 people and they always insist that one main is only for 1 person but their portions are humongous and 3 mains are more than enough for all of us. Sometimes we can't even finish our food still haha that's how big the portions are.

The siblings

Alvin, Clari and me

Tomato, mozzarella, spicy salami, grana cheese and oil

I can't remember what are these called but they were delish

Ravioli with king prawns, clams and lemon sauce
Mozzeralla, 4 types of cheese and oil
Free round of champagne
Dinner was awesome and another plus point to Rome is that I love eating pizzas, pastas and gelatos! I have no idea what ingredients they used or how they make their gelatos taste so creamy and milky at just the right amount. Thus making them taste superb. Gosh, I wish they could start a franchise in Singapore. I would patronize them almost everyday ^^ Also, throughout the trip in Italy, I honestly ate almost 5 scoops of gelato everyday for 8 days straight. #insanelygood #probablyhowigained7kgs #guiltywithnoregrets 

Best passionfruit gelato shop near Trevi fountain 

Cute shop uncle
Me enjoying my gelato. It came with a little cone too which works as a spoon. How adorbz
Trevi fountain 

Yet another beautiful place in Rome, the Trevi fountain. It was such an amazing sight and of course we had to toss a coin into the fountain so that one day we may return to Rome. Below is a short clip of us throwing the coin in. haha

                                           video


Oh and before I end this post, we bought the Roma pass costing € 34,00. It consists of 2 free entry to any museums/archeological sites and it includes free usage of the city's public transport system. Besides, you get to skip the long queue to enter the museums. How great is that. I hope this is useful to those who are heading to Rome.


Anyway, time for me to head back to the books. Finals are coming T.T Will continue to blog about my adventures in Rome soon. Till then

Love,

Sam


Friday, 22 November 2013

Athens

Hi there! I know I haven't been posting frequently again :( I have been super busy with school assignments and of course more road trips around beautiful Scotland. I can't wait for December to come whereby I'll be doing a road trip around UK with my lovely friends. Plus, I'll be spending this Christmas over in Iceland! YAY! My first Christmas away from home and family. It's going to be different without them but I'm excited nonetheless. Anyway so here is another travelogue about one of the countries I have visited during my Eurotrip this fall.

Greece baby. It has been on my list of to-go places since forever and finally I've gotten a chance to go there! How awesome! After visiting the beautiful Santorini, I was thrilled to head to Athens next. Athens, the capital and the biggest city of Greece; it is also a home for the arts, learning and philosophy. It was a pity that we could only stay there for one day so we had to rush through the different main attractions the city had to offer.

First up, we headed to the national archaeological museum which had many exhibitions showcasing the ancient Greek art.


National Archeological Museum

The 5 of us




Just me taking a short break



poser. haha




To be honest, I thought this museum wasn't as fantastic as the acropolis museum, so if you're in Athens and you only have the time to visit one museum; I would recommend the acropolis museum. Unfortunately, photography wasn't allowed in the acropolis museum so there aren't many pictures that I can show you about how the museum was like :( but overall I truly enjoyed myself at this museum. It wasn't mundane and I am not the greatest fan of museum so I guess it was pretty good and intellectual. It was interesting to learn about the Greek gods and goddess; and how Athens became what it is today.




Behind is the Acropolis where the Parthenon resides

Tea break after spending hours in the museum










Parthenon





The whole of Athens






After visiting the museums, it's finally time to fill our tummies! Gyros or kebabs as what we usually call them, are really really delectable in Greece. And not forgetting that it's also cheap. One gyros consisting of meat, tomatoes, onions and fries cost about 1 or 2 euros each which is less than $4 Sing dollars; and they are really filling. I can't possibly finish one on my own even if I'm starving. haha. Gyros is probably going onto my list of favourite food in Europe.







After our meal we decided to head to a bar for some drinks, so we went to their 'Clarke Quay'. There were so many bars to choose from and the music playing in each bar was pretty good. We had a hard time deciding which bar we wanted but finally we settled and it was time to party! First time partying in Europe yay, check. I can't remember the name of the bar but the manager was hospitable. He gave us popcorns, nuts and even free desserts; and he made sure we were well attended to. A pretty fun place to hang out. After playing many different drinking games (which Wins kept losing at every single one), it was time to say goodbye to Greece as we had a flight to Rome in the morning :( 



A little retarded after a few drinks
Overall, I had so much fun in Greece and I would love to go back to Santorini when I grow up. I'll be blogging about Rome next week and I can't express how much I love Italy! It was truly love at first sight. Oh how I wish I could be there right now again. So stay tune. Till then everyone!

Love,
Sam