Posts Tagged ‘rome’

We went to see the Catacombs of Saint Callixtus today!

Took the bus to the Catacombs!

Beautiful area above the catacombs

We bought our tickets for 8 euros each, and then waited by the entrance of the catacombs for an English speaking guide. There were a bunch of germans there, lots of italians, a few french people and a bunch of english speaking tourists. Our tour guide went in last.

Now unfortunately, it was forbidden to take pictures inside the catacombs, but let me tell you, it was quite the sight to see. We only explored the 2nd floor (there are 4 levels) and the path we took (about half an hour of walking) only represented 2% of the catacombs. The entire length of the hallways and corridors (its like a labyrinth)  totals 20 kilometers! It is hypothesized that there were 500,000 tombs in these catacombs.

Here’s some information about them:

First page of the pampflet

2nd page of the pampflet

It was really something to see. There were about 7-8 tombs per floor, vertically stacked, and how it worked was they would dig the tunnel, add tombs along the sides, then lower the floor in order to add more tombs. The freshest graves were the deepest – no remains existed however, any that did were removed.

It’s just a field on top, wouldn’t even know its there if not for the fancy gates:

The gates to the Catacombs

Afterward we hopped back on the bus (we’re getting the hang of foreign public transportation!) and headed back to our hostel to pick up our bags. We then took the metro to a regional train station and were off to our Country Club resort we booked (only 20 euros a night!).

We arrived at the station as described in our directions, but saw no shuttle bus to the Country Club. So, we got out our phone GPS and punched in the address. It was a few kilometers away from a train stop… 3 stops ago! So we got back on the train, and went to the stop and followed our GPS. We arrived at the location Google gave us and there was nothing there. We asked a local and she said it was WAAAAY down this street. We started walking. Few kilometers in and we still saw nothing. We called the club and were told to keep walking! Another few kilometers. We asked another local who didn’t speak any english, and she made motions with her hands to indicate it is much much further down this street. At long last we arrived. The place existed! It turns out it was right next to the original train station we got off at. Thank you google. Thank you.

We were shuttled to our “bungalow” and it was surprisingly nice!

The bungalow with 2 bunk beds!

We then took the shuttle bus to the Colombo station (the shuttle we were suppose to take originally instead of walking miles) and headed to the beach. The first Ocean I’ve ever swam in! The Mediterranean sea! Huge waves, quite fun to swim in and ride the waves. Very salty though!

The beach! Covered in black sand, very soft!

Went back to the resort and checked out the local grocery store. We had a dinner of hot dogs. Also bought a kilogram of cookies for 1 euro! They were actually good!

We also bought some alcohol – There was a Discotek that night!

Lemoncello and Sambuca!

We watched several episodes of The Bing Bang Theory (great show) and checked out the Discotek around 11PM. It was empty. We went back to the cabin and watched a few more episodes, and went back again. Still empty. Strange, seeing as we saw lots of people our age earlier in the day…


Didn’t get much sleep last night, that’s the problem with dormitory style hostels… lots of movement in the night.

We met some Americans from Nevada staying in our room and we’re informed of the excitement outside – Turns out there was some crime scene last night, possibly a shooting. From our balcony (well its really more of a slanted roof then balcony…) we saw a bunch of cop cars and a CSI-looking lady with a camera taking pictures of something on the ground. I should of gotten a picture but I was a bit sleepy at the time.

After about 15-20minutes they were gone, and we proceeded down to the cafe/bar (next to the crime scene) for our complimentary cappuccino and croissant.

Then we hopped on the bus again and headed to Vatican City.

First view of the Church of St. Peter's

The Vatican Walls, and our tour guide on the right

From inside the walls...

The museum is beautiful inside

Amazing pictures on the ceiling. Not a statue. Completely 2-dimensional.

Inside Vatican City

This was a significant greek statue that was discovered in a winery and bought by the Vatican by the request of Micheal Angelo. It has been seen that Micheal Angelo was inspired by this stature and painted many figures with the same pose.

This was in the hall of tapestries. Each carpet took around a year to make and are around 500 years old.

This was a painting done by Raphael (a competitor of Michael Angelo). In this painting, Raphael has depicted Michael as a poet which in the renaissance is a significant complement. However, there is some irony to this since he also displays Michael as depressed and alone.

After we walked 2km of the Vatican Museum (there’s a total of 7km but it was closed off) we continued into the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, you cannot take pictures inside of the Chapel, as it is a sign of disrespect.
Let me tell you though, it was quite amazing. Something to see in your lifetime.

Afterward we continued into the Church of St. Peter (or is it considered a cathedral…).

St. Peter's Church

Absolutely incredible architecture.

I still think the York Minister is bigger though...

An amazing church.

Afterward we headed out into what we thought was Vatican city to buy souvenirs. Unfortunately, it turned out to be Rome. We then walked around Vatican City, to say we had walked around a country.

The massive wall of the Vatican

We also drank some water spewing from the Vatican wall... It was very tastey...

After the Vatican we hopped back on our tour bus and headed to the stop closest to the Pantheon – a Roman structure that was converted into a Catholic church and was used to bury the Italian Royalty. It features a giant hole in the roof, which rain never falls through! This is because of the size of the building, all the hot air rises and prevents moisture from coming in.

Pantheon as seen from the back

Pantheon as seen from the front

The sought after hole.

This was the fountan di Trevi which was right next to the pantheon. Tradition has it that you are to throw a coin into the fountain to ensure your return to Rome

On the walk back to the hostel, we finally found a grocery store. There we bought dinner, breakfast and travel food. After dinner, we went for another evening stroll in the eternal city this time however with a good camera.

This was infront of the Monumento a Vittorio Emanuele II. Unfortunately there was a guard in and many cameras that would not allow us to enter the building.

We went back to the hostel then (after some more Gelato of course – I love that stuff), and had our final nights sleep.

Roma – Day 2

Posted: September 16, 2010 in Italy
Tags: , , , , , ,

Woke up well rested and re-packed our bags. The hotel had a breakfast for 2 euros – it was cereal, toast, and juice, prepared by who seemed like the landlords mother (who only spoke Italian). It was quite good.

We hopped on the next metro and made it towards our third hostel to stay at – the SunMoon Hotel, located conveniently next to the Roma Termini station (main train station). We checked in, dropped off our bags, and headed back into the streets to explore the city.

The City Sightseeing bus

About a block down we found a ticket booth selling tour bus passes – 18 euros for 48 hours. Seemed like a good deal so we bought the tickets and hopped on the bus (conveniently called the Hop on, Hop off bus).

The bus tours around the city on two major routes stopping at each sight of interest.

Our first glimpse of the mighty Coliseum!

We stopped first at the Palatino hill – a huge area of ruins of palaces, and the old city.

A view of the ruins

Trading pictures for pictures with other tourists


Heinz's turn

And of course, I had to try climbing something...

Nice shot of the Coliseum

We also checked out the ancient Circo Massimo (chariot racetrack):

500 ft long, this race track used to see Chariot Races every 2-3 days. It is hypothesized that 250,000 Romans could watch these races from the bleachers!

We then made our way to the Coliseum. Sadly, my good cameras batteries finally died. They had lasted this entire trip up until this point – my spares were back in the hotel. So here is the last picture my camera took:

The last picture from my camera

The following pictures were all taken with our cellphones.

The Coliseum

Nice panoramic

Another nice panoramic

Shot of the Coliseum, and the arch

After the Coliseum we headed back home and ate some dinner at a local restaurant, relaxed a bit, then headed back out at night.

Beautiful fountain in a big round-a-bout next to the Termini Station

Nice night shot

We bought some gelato, which was delicious, and headed back to our hostel.