Easter Weekend Road Trip Edinburgh

This Easter weekend we decided to have ourselves a little road trip, Berth needed to stretch her legs and me and Steph needed a well earned change of scenery. Our destination of choice was Edinburgh, 258 miles and 4 and half hours away. I had cleaned and filled Bertha up on my way back from work and the little old girl was raring to go. Our plan was to set off around 6 in the morning, but this is me and Steph and things very rarely go according to plan in our lives. Pressing snooze on our alarm multiple times meant we were now leaving at 8, two hours later than planned but not bad considering we had had a late one the night before. (that one is our friends fault!) The weather wasn’t the best but we still set off in high spirits. The miles clocked on as we listened to Scott Mills on the radio and before we knew it we had passed through Cheshire and were plodding down the M6.

If any of you have ever been on the M6 between Manchester and Carlisle you will know that this is one of the most dull and boring roads in the world. Luckily for me I had Steph for company so the conversation was flowing nicely and of course Bertha was a joy to drive. Before we knew it we were blasting through Carlisle and starting to feel the need for brunch, so with that in mind we stopped in Gretna Green. Now Gretna Green is only really famous for one thing……. People running away to get married and that’s pretty much it. We weren’t really in the mood to get married plus we weren’t dressed for the part so we decided just to have brunch. A motorway services brunch is never going to be anything to rave about, so I won’t do that I will just move on with the journey.

Back on the Motorway but rather than the boring English endless grey dullness, we were now in Scotland so we had rolling hills, stunning views and of course rain. With the rain coming and going and as always me and Steph entertaining each other we were soon leaving the motorway and heading down the  A702 through the town of Biggar which actually isn’t very big. We were now past Biggar and fast approaching Edinburgh so we had a quick brainstorm as to what to do first and we settled on attempting to climb to Arthurs Seat, which is basically an old volcano over looking the city. With the route now programmed into Sally Satnav we proceeded with our plan to ascend Arthurs Seat. The road was rough and Bertha was getting very grumpy but eventually we found our destination and began our climb.

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Ok so we may have under estimated how tough a walk this was going to be.. the wind was howling and the incline was a killer. But we dug deep put our heads down and marched up as hard as we could. Feeling like we had made no progress we turned around just to see how far we had come and it wasn’t the wind that nearly knocked us over it was the view and we were nowhere near the top yet!6241719360_IMG_0879

Encouraged by the view we carried on with our march to the top, we could sense the weather was about to turn on us and in typical me and Steph style we weren’t really dressed for bad weather. Skinny jeans and a hoodie isn’t really what you want when a monsoon is coming. Ok so it wasn’t a monsoon.. I’m being a drama queen as always! Feeling tough and brave we pushed on regardless of what was coming our way. IMG_1849IMG_1850

After an hour and half of battling the elements we finally made it to the top, the only problem was that it turned out that we had walked up the wrong hill! Now we were at the top we could see Arthurs Seat and we had at least another mile and a half away and to make to would have top do some serious hill climbing. Not ones to give up easily we went for it and pushed on, now walking against the wind and our energy levels were being zapped. IMG_1858

30 minutes passed we looked up and Arthurs Seat seemed no closer, now the weather really was turning and Steph had totally lost control of her hair and was struggling to see. She was looking more like ‘Cousin It’ from the Adams Family now. Realising there was still a long way to go and by now I could no longer feel my ears we threw in the towel and decided to turn around and head back to Bertha. This did pose another problem though as we had no idea how to get back to Bertha! We had weaved through so many twists and turns that we were now somewhat confused. Luckily after surveying our surroundings I noticed a road to our right and I figured this must be the road Bertha was parked on. We proceeded down the road and a mere 15 minutes later we were back with Bertha. Somehow we had walked for over two hours and only managed to get 15 minutes away form Bertha. The only explanation for this must of been we somehow wondered into a parallel universe, either that or we are just a couple of bumbling idiots. 6241719360_IMG_0911IMG_3505

Back in the town centre we decided to go for a wander and one thing hit me straight away….. the bloody wind again! Being away from the hills I figured the wind would subside but as I now know, Edinburgh is one windy city. I never been but I think it could even rival Chicago for being the windy city. Anyway we decided to have a little stroll down the high street all the while the wind blowing us from side to side and then suddenly realising this is the longest high street in the world! It never seems to end. Having ventured into some of the shops we decided to veer off and walk down the side streets, this served two purposes: One we got a closer look at Edinburgh’s stunning architecture which is something not to be missed and Two; the buildings served as a very welcome wind breaker. At this point I would love to have put some pictures in but my hands had the shakes so taking a photo would of proved difficult.

Our back street wonders continued until we approached Jamie’s Italian, suddenly feeling a little peckish we ventured had a well earned sit down and pot of green tea. I have to say the restaurant itself is a lovely place to be in, tastefully decorated with a warm welcoming atmosphere. Unfortunately that’s the best I can say about it as the food wasn’t at it’s best and to be honest I would of enjoyed a simple Pizza Hut more. Leaving the restaurant feeling full but unsatisfied we carried on our walk only to find a Hard Rock Cafe not five minutes away! Being a music lover Hard Rock is one my favourite places to eat I was a little annoyed with myself for not holding out a bit longer. Deciding that is wasn’t a big deal and that it’s something for next time we carried on our walk and within no time we found ourselves back at the hotel and ready for a sleep. Edinburgh had been a great experience and yes some things hadn’t gone to plan (as usual) and at times we may have felt we had mild Hyperthermia but I wouldn’t change it for the world! Thank you Edinburgh.

All that was left to do was sleep and drive home, those details I won’t bore you with but, I will say this.. the journey back was one of the best In-Car Karaoke’s we have ever had. I’m sure James Corden would of been proud.

I wonder what our next road trip will bring?

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Rome’s Boxing Day Presents

After being on our feet for so long on Christmas day we both woke up with our feet feeling a little bit on the painful side. However, we had both been told that today was the best day to see the Colosseum because it would be quieter than normal therefore we were  feeling excited as we put on our comfy shoes and made the now familiar walk to the centre of Rome. The sun was shining and warming up nicely and as we approached the Colosseum it became clear it wasn’t going to be as quiet as we first thought. Negotiating around the various ticket touts we finally found our place in the queue and settled in for the wait. Now I was getting my first close up view of the Colosseum and she didn’t disappoint, she looked glorious sat there so proud I couldn’t take my eyes off her and I was hopping with excitement. IMG_0929

With us being British the waiting in a queue really wasn’t bothering us, the sun was shining down on us and we were standing outside the world famous Colosseum. What was annoying us was the irritating people who kept trying to jump the queue, as soon as this was noticed we stuck our elbows out and made sure nobody was getting passed us. With us now guarding our place in the queue we moved forward at a decent rate of knots and after 30 minutes or so we were at the front ready to purchase our ticket. At this point all hell broke lose, we had no idea what was going on but everybody wanted to get their tickets and they all wanted them now. The surge of the crowd pushed us forward, Steph was now ready for war and working together like we do so well we managed to protect ourselves until we found ourselves at the ticket booth. As we walked in I began to shake, this place had been winking and smiling at me for two days and now I was here and terrified I had built it so much it was going to disappoint me.

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It didn’t disappoint me, what it did do was take my breath away and with every turn I made there was something else that sent my excitement into over drive. IMG_0902

One of the things that took me by surprise was how prominently you could see the curve of the building from the inside, for some reason I wasn’t expecting that. As more and more people flooded in we made our way up the steps and to the highest point, for someone that’s still getting over pneumonia this was incredibly difficult but I was determined to make it to the top. Reaching the summit feeling a little bit out of breath I almost didn’t want to look just in case she took my breath away again. With this in mind I regained my composure then took a step out onto the higher level and yet again my breath was taken away from meIMG_0892 Being in a build that at every angle blows your mind it’s very difficult to move around without bumping into everybody and fearing I was about to start a riot Steph guided me to a quieter part of the building. Again finding my composure we gingerly made our way around the building, we had noticed a balcony at the far end and this was our destination of choice. After exploring every nook and cranny we eventually arrived at the balcony, it was packed and if we were going to get the picture we wanted we were going to have to be patient. Luckily patience is one of my gifts, so we soaked up the December sun and waiting for our turn at the front to come around. Finally we were at the front and what a view, by far the best view of the day so far. IMG_0906

With the crowd growing bigger by the second we decided that it time for lunch and began to make our way outside, I had seen what had been teasing me for so long and it hadn’t disappointed me. In fact it had wowed me and the day had barely just begun!

Ok so there’s only there’s only two things I can remember about lunch; One: it was fantastic in every way possible, I have no idea what I had or what Steph had but it was so good! Two: I was with my favourite person in the word. So with lunch done we made our way to the Roman Forum; I had no expectations of what the Roman Forum would hold as I knew nothing of it so I went in with an open mind. My only worry was that it was going to be busy and I would end up banging into everybody again and end up starting a riot. I couldn’t of been more wrong if I tried, it was so peaceful and utterly stunning. It was like we had just walked into a little bit of heaven. We were a little torn as to what direction to go as there were paths leading in all directions and in the end we decided not to make a plan and just go with the flow. IMG_0882

It seemed like every corner we turned another thing was taking our breath away with Steph’s camera working overtime and my brain struggling to cope with everything I was seeing. I tried to contemplate where we were and the history that surrounded us but my brain couldn’t compute everything. We bought our walking pace down to try to allow my brain and our tired feet to catch up and we eventually found ourselves at Basilica Julia, at least I think it was and here we decided to take a break and soak up the view.

Scouting our surroundings I noticed that to our right there seemed to be some kind of outdoor balcony over looking the forum, it looked bloody high and I had to get up there. Steph wasn’t too impressed with this idea because she feared that after yesterday my lungs wouldn’t be able to cope with the walk. Me being me I managed to convince her that I was feeling dandy and we planned our route. It looked like we would need to weave through cave type buildings and then climb some steps.  We again began to weave our way through  the Forum and 15 minutes later we were walking into these cave type things underneath the balcony. Inside we had another boxing day treat, on the walls of some of the caves there were paintings and carving’s – which were a true delight to look at. Considering these pieces of artwork were hundreds of years old they were in amazing condition and as we admired them I developed tears in my eyes. Apart from some annoying child kicking these beautiful pieces of art, our moment inside the caves was a special one and one that will never be forgotten. Our climb to the top continued and apart from making one wrong turn it went surprisingly well. We found ourselves in a garden and at the top to what I now know to be Palatine Hill. Looking across the gardens we could see the balcony we had been aiming for, walking up I had goosebumps I had a feeling that the view we were about to see at the top would stay with us forever and I wasn’t wrong! The view was unbelievable! Yesterday I thought I was on the roof of Rome when we were in Borghese Gardens but that was merely the garden shed roof compared to this. IMG_0826

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We stood in silence taking in the beauty of Rome, to be honest we could of stayed in this spot all day. My dream was to come to Rome but I never expected Rome to wow me as much as it was and we had only been here for three days!

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Dragging ourselves away from the stunning view we decided to walk back through the gardens, the sun was shining and we were both feeling relaxed. Palatine hill still wasn’t finished with us though because the gardens suddenly opened up and before us stood a sea of ancient ruins and over our right shoulder was yet another stunning view across Rome all the way to Vatican City. I was loving today I felt warmth from within and felt totally relaxed and totally in Love. Turning our back on the view we continued to walk through the ruins of Palatine Hill, stopping every now and then to admire and take photos of the history we were seeing. IMG_0820

Continuing on our walk we eventually arrived at a huge archway with two small walls either side of the arch, we decided this was the perfect place to have a break. Admiring each other and taking in the sun we soon became aware that a couple we looking at us from a far. Not letting this bother us we continued too sit and soak up the last of the days sun, but we suddenly came aware that this couple were now taking our picture. Thinking this was hilarious I immediately struck a pose for them. However, Steph was feeling somewhat uneasy about this and so we decided to move on.. only for the couple to then approach us just to inform us they had taken our picture and wanted us to return the favour! With them posing in the same place we had just been, Steph took the photo and then exchanged pictures with them. The picture they had taken of us was truly amazing and now has prime spot in our living room. Today was awesome!

We then began our decent down Palatine hill, thinking there was nothing else it could show us that would wow us. How wrong we were! Palatine Hill gave us a parting gift, as we turned a corner and there in the distance in all her glory was the Colosseum. We had spent hours around the Colosseum today and I really wasn’t expecting it to wow me again, but today was the day for the unexpected and I was gobsmacked yet again. IMG_0802IMG_0810

Now we were at the bottom of Palatine Hill and with the sun fading in the sky we decided to have a slow walk back to our hotel. We had lots of information to process from today which had been special we both felt it and we both knew it. For me personally I have been through this day a thousand times in my head. Having short term memory issues I was genuinely worried today would be forgotten, but it hasn’t been as  today was too special to be forgotten. Walking back my built in brain jukebox came on and started playing ‘Such a Perfect Day’ by Lou Reed which was very fitting. Today had been utterly perfect.

A Very Roman Christmas Day

Waking up in Rome on Christmas day is one of life’s special moments and it’s one I would want to repeat over and over again. Today we were seeing the Pope, we had spent a considerable amount of time last night planning our route there so when we began our walk we were confident we knew where we were going. Walking through Rome on Christmas day was a surreal moment in my life and today it was looking even more stunning than yesterday. The Roman Forum looked even more spectacular than it did yesterday and peering to the left of that was the colosseum winking at me in the low morning sun, teasing me to pay it a visit. “I will soon my friend, very soon” obviously I said this in my head, I didn’t want Steph to think I had completely lost the plot. IMG_0931

Our journey seemed to be going well, we had a moment of doubt so had to double check the map but we seemed to be on track. Another twenty minutes passed and the doubt started to creep into our heads again, but as luck would have there was a very friendly shop keeper who confirmed we were only five minutes away. We had been walking for little over an hour so hearing this gave us a much welcomed boost. Ten more minutes passed and still no Vatican City, now I really was starting to worry we wouldn’t make it on time and my feet were really starting to hurt. Another five minutes passed and Oh Lord there it was, the excitement fizzed inside me. But there was one problem it wasn’t Vatican city, it was Castel Sant’Angelo. IMG_3333Don’t get me wrong Castel Sant’Angelo is a true masterpiece, but it wasn’t Vatican City and I couldn’t help feeling a hint of disappointment, time was ticking. Now anybody that knows Rome will know that Castel Sant’Angelo is a mere stones throw away from Vatican City, all you had to do is cross the river and pretty much keep going straight. Unfortunately we didn’t do this, for some unknown reason we turned right and continued to follow the river. Ok so the reason for this right turn could of been partly my fault, I was sure just over the tree line to our right was St Peters. This wasn’t the case. Steph on the other hand had no excuse, she had been here before so everything that was about to happen was mostly Steph’s  fault..

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So feeling confident we were on the path to the Vatican we carried on with our walk, my excitement was still fizzing inside me, I was going to see the Pope! Another ten minutes passed and still no Vatican City and St Peters had now disappeared from our view, I was growing concerned and so was Steph. I suddenly heard the churches of Rome ring the ten o’clock bells, this confirmed I had now missed seeing the Pope, I was devastated. Not one to be down for long and with Steph’s help I soon picked myself up and we carried on our mission to find Vatican city.

We soon arrived at another bridge and we attempted to work out where we went wrong by having a good look at our surroundings. As I investigated our surroundings I caught site of St Peters again, the problem was, it wasn’t St Peters..  it was a church that very mildly resembled St Peters. At this point I felt like a total pillock. Now a smart person at this point would of gone back the way we came and try and work out where they went wrong. but this is me and Steph and we don’t do things the easy way (that would be boring) so we decided to cross the bridge and basically follow our nose all the way to Vatican City. As it turned out our noses weren’t the best thing to follow (I would recommend you follow a map not your nose) and we ended up on this arrow straight road going nowhere. Suddenly we caught a glimpse of St Peters (the real St Peters) this confirmed we were now on the correct side of the river. Our route looked simple, all we had to do is continue to walk down this arrow straight road and at some point turn right. How simple is that? Well it wasn’t simple, the right turn just didn’t appear and this road was never ending. We had been walking for three hours and both of us were in vast’s amount of pain and my chest was growing tighter and tighter by the minute.

As the road continued our stress levels continued to rise and with stress come’s the annoying side of me. I began to constantly ask questions, even when I realised I was annoying Steph I still didn’t stop. Eventually her patience ran out and in her not so soft tone told me to stop asking questions because she didn’t know the answers. With the atmosphere somewhat tense we continued down the never ending road in silence. To lift myself up I turned my in brain stereo on and starting listening to some music, this had the very welcome effect of lifting my mood somewhat. Looking down the road I was sure I could see the end, there was a huge brick wall and Feeling in a cheeky mood I decided to ask one more question “do you think that’s the Vatican?” Steph’s reply was quick and said with a little bit of venom “No, that’s a bloody factory!” With that I shut my big mouth and we carried on our mission, which was quickly turning into mission impossible. Another five minutes passed and I was sure we were approaching the end of the road, the “factory” as Steph called it was now in prime view and it looked nothing like a factory, but it was starting to look like part of the Vatican walls.

A short time later it was confirmed that the “factory” was in fact the walls of Vatican city, we were now at the end end of the road where we had a choice of direction to take. We could carry on straight towards the walls and then branch right up the hill, or we could turn right. Looking both ways, I noticed that to our right was herds of people coming towards us and straight with a slight left was very few people. Based on the evidence my hunch was Vatican City was to our right, but Steph had other ideas, she wanted to go straight and up the hill. With it still being slightly tense between us, I decided to go with the flow she had been before after all. Not being one to resist a cheeky comment I decided to lift the tension with “best looking factory I’ve ever seen” Steph’s response was simple playful tap on the arm and the tension was lifted. We were now smiling walking up the hill towards the Vatican museums, the hill was doing some serious damage to our feet though and arriving at the museums closed doors was the last straw. We decided to throw in the towel and head back towards the centre of Rome. IMG_0940

Feeling some disappointment we tried to put the fun back into the day, we were in Rome after all. Walking back down the road that earlier seemed like it was never ending came to end faster than we expected. We found ourselves in the Piazza Del Popolo looking at the Da Vinci museum, obviously it was closed being Christmas day and everything but it gave us another destination to visit another day. Looking at our surroundings we noticed that up some steps there was Borghese gardens, we decided that this was the perfect place to have a rest. This was the best decision of the day, the views from here are breathe taking; I would recommend to everyone visiting Rome to pay this place a visit. Feeling like we were sitting on the roof of Rome we began to relax and more importantly rest our feet.

With our feet rested we took a gentle walk back to the centre of Rome, gently taking in the crisp Christmas air. Once we were back at the typewriter building we decided to catch a taxi to the Hard Rock Cafe where Christmas dinner in some shape or form was waiting for us. With our day back on track and finally sitting on a comfy chair we tucked into our Christmas dinner Hard Rock style and took in the days events. I loved our time in the Hard Rock, yes the food, the place was fantastic but my favourite part was being able to do what me and Steph do best and that’s talk, and talk we did. Without us realising the sun had drifted away and the moon was low in the sky and it was time for us to take a walk back to our hotel. IMG_3264

Back at the hotel with the night drawing to a close Rome gave us one last Christmas gift, the opera house opposite our hotel suddenly came to life and our room was flooded with the most delightful sounds. We couldn’t of imagined the day ending so perfectly, yes the day didn’t go according to plan but you know what,, that is what made it so perfect. We saw more of Rome then we could of ever expected, as Christmas’s go there have been none better.

A Very Merry Roman Christmas Eve

Well I’m not actually starting in Rome, I’m starting at home because as with all our journey’s this is where we began. For me it hadn’t been the best start to the week having being diagnosed with Pneumonia on Monday and being told I had to go home and have complete rest and do absolutely nothing. (Something I’ve never been very good at!) Not wanting to miss out on a trip of a life time I did what I was told and even though I wasn’t feeling great I felt strong enough for our trip and nothing was going to stop me from going.

Our flight was at six thirty in the morning on Saturday and because of this we had to leave for the airport around two in the morning we decided to attempt to pull an all nighter. Unfortunately Steph had never done this before and by eleven she was pretty much unconscious and to be honest by midnight I was the same. Luckily both of us had set our alarms to back us up just in case, so by half past one we were both awake and making final preparations for our departure. With Bertha fully loaded up and with one final check of our flat we were ready for the off.

After a brief spell of being lost we finally had Bertha parked up and found ourselves at the bus stop freezing our nuts off, and to be honest I really wasn’t feeling too great and I was craving a hot chocolate. After what felt like hours the bus finally turned up (it was more like five minutes but I was feeling sorry for myself). Finally we were at the airport and for the first time in my life I was about to experience everything Ryan Air had to offer.

What Ryan Air had to offer was absolutely nothing. I can now honestly say I now know how a sheep feels when it’s being herded because that is exactly how Ryan Air treat their passengers. There were members of staff circling the crowd barking and growling like dogs pushing up closer and closer together until we could literally feel each other ‘s breath, if someone in the crowd broke wind we would of all felt it. I just hoping it wasn’t going to be me that dealt the wind out. Thankfully it wasn’t and we were soon on the plane and leaving the UK.

Touching down at Ciampino Airport my tiredness was forgotten, now I was just bubbling with excitement and I couldn’t wait to get out and see all what Rome had to offer. With our bags collected we found ourselves outside the airport and jumping into a taxi and BOOM we were on our way. It was Christmas eve and we were in the Rome, life couldn’t get better than this. As taxi journeys go this one is up there with being one of the most entertaining; for a start the driver couldn’t speak a word of English but insisted on having a full conversation with me, which consisted of him talking at the speed of light and me nodding and making agreeing noises, which I think really confused him. As well as the utterly fabulous conversation I’m pretty sure he believed he was in some kind of banger car race, if someone was in his way he would simply push and bully them out the way including the pedestrians. Feeling lucky to be alive we arrived at our hotel (Best Western Mondial Hotel) and leapt out the taxi as fast as our little legs would take us.

We checked in and examined what would be our home for the next severn days and God it really didn’t disappoint us, the room was perfection with a super king size bed and a bath as deep as an ocean, we were ecstatic! We couldn’t of asked for any more. But Rome waits for no man so with a quick freshen up we were back in the street and ready to explore. With no plan in mind (apart from me stuffing my face with a real Italian pizza) we turned right out the hotel then immediately left onto the main road into the centre of Rome. I was tingling with excitement even down this road the architecture was stunning, my eyes couldn’t keep with everything I was seeing it was like all my senses had gone into overdrive and I loved it! I suddenly realised this was my dream and I was actually living it, but with one difference as I had the love of my life with me and this wasn’t a dream this was reality. IMG_0933

Apart from dicing with death on a couple of traffic junctions the walk to the end of the road went by in a flash and we soon found ourselves at the top of the some steps, feeling just enough air in my lungs we descended the steps, I had no idea what was about to open up at the bottom but I had a feeling I was about to see something special. I thought I had prepared my brain for what I was about to see, but nothing could of prepared for what I about to see. As we moved forward the buildings began to give way what they had been hiding form us, my brain went into hyperdrive, immediately in front of us was the Roman Forum over to our far left was the Colosseum standing in all it’s glory; flexing it’s ancient muscles and slightly to our right  was the Altare della Patria, better known as the typewriter building. This by far was my favourite building, It’s presence was so masterful  and it seemed like everything in Rome was drawn to it, including me. I’m not normally the type of person that’s ever lost for words, but in this moment I was utterly speechless and completely lost in the moment, I felt Steph’s grip get a little bit tighter on me, she knew I was in prime wondering off mode and if I wondered off here I doubt I would of been found for days.

Knowing that if we went towards the Colosseum I would of popped with excitement, we decided to turn right and head past the typewriter building and for Steph this was a challenge in itself, I was too distracted to concentrate on where I was going. I felt Steph pulling on my arm on numerous occasions to steer me back on course. To be honest, at this point I’m pretty sure all she wanted was some kind of dog lead to keep me on the correct path, even though with how distracted I was I doubt it would of done anything. With the Typewriter building now behind us and out of sight we found ourselves down a narrow but very busy street (it was Christmas eve after all) we slalomed through the sea of people, Steph doing her best to keep hold of me and failing at times, but I was starting to focus so we always found our way back to each other. Again dicing with death to cross the road we arrived at the most amazing chocolate shop with the most amazing smell and it actually had a waterfall of chocolate (a chocolate fall) spanning the whole of the back wall. We suddenly realised we were absolutely starving, we couldn’t actually remember when had last eaten, with this in mind we decided it wouldn’t be a good idea to go in the chocolate shop this hungry and I wanted pizza, I needed pizza, I had to have pizza! IMG_3323

We prised ourselves away from the chocolate shop and we soon found ourselves down a narrow street with restaurants setting up on either side of us and this was a smell sensation, we saw a sign advertising pizza for six euros and I started to wonder towards it. Steph; realising I was in full on wonder mode; soon pulled me back and informed me it wasn’t even midday and we had to wait! Moving away from the 6 euro sign, we carried on down the street and it suddenly dawned on me that Steph knew where she was going and to be honest I wasn’t really paying attention to where we were going as I was too busy fantasing about pizza and being fascinated by my surroundings. Anyway we continued walking down these narrow streets, weaving thorough the people until without warning the streets opened up and revealed their secret, the Pantheon! This is a place I dreamed about seeing and suddenly it was standing in front of me! I was overwhelmed. It was even more stunning than I could of ever imagined. Walking in I had goosebumps and as we stepped through the doors, I began to develop tears in my eyes, I couldn’t take it in and not for the first time today I was overwhelmed but this time it was simply too much for me to handle. Everything was hitting me and I couldn’t take any of it in, I knew this was not the right day to see the Pantheon another visit was going to be needed. IMG_0764

With our visit to the Pantheon at a premature end, it was just coming to lunch time and there was one thing on my mind… PIZZA!!! We made our way back to the 6 euro pizza sign and within minutes we had taken our seats and we had our menus, not that I needed one but Steph needed one and knowing her she was about to take way too long to decide what she wanted, so I accepted the fact I was going to have to wait just that little bit longer. The restaurant was simple but clean, there was a group of American lads on the table next to us and they looked to be on a ‘lads lads lads’ holiday, a strange place to have one of them but hey who am I to judge? They were very entertaining to listen to though and made my unbearable wait for a pizza a little easier. With Steph finally making a decision my pizza was ordered and 15 minutes later I was having my first taste of Italian pizza. As I was tucking into my pizza I failed to notice our waiter downing two glasses of wine on the quiet which, considering it was only just past midday I figured the waiter must of had a bad morning. Apart from the alcoholic waiter and Steph’s lasagne being too small lunch was splendid and I could of eaten it all over again. Lunch was now over and we decided it had been a long enough day for now and that some down time was needed, so our walk back to  the hotel began.

Approaching the typewriter building yet again I could feel Steph’s grip tighten on me again and for good reason. I was fascinated with it and I couldn’t stop staring and without Steph’s guidance I would of walked into everybody in my path and not even realised I had. I was off and gone into my own world. Snapping back to reality with the Roman forum now behind us we began climbing the steps back onto the main road to the hotel, I was starting to grow tired quickly… rest was needed. Luckily the journey up the road passed by in a flash and before we knew it we had arrived back at the hotel and were stepping into our grand old room. The bed was inviting and I needed no invitation so I flopped on the bed and almost instantly fell asleep.

Waking up after the sun had gone down we felt hungry and as earlier on the receptionist had recommended the restaurant next door (Ristorante Cotto) when we checked in, so we decided to go with that and made our way downstairs. Ristorante Cotto is one of those restaurants where you immediately feel at ease when walking in; the waiter guided us to our seats and handed us our menus. Not having had my fill of pizza earlier on, I already knew what I was going for; Steph on the other hand still needed to examine what was available to her. In fairly rapid time Steph settled on a prawn risotto and so our food was now being prepared in the kitchen. Then we settled down and discussed the days events and even though my voice was fading fast we didn’t stop talking until our food was placed in front of us. I thought my pizza from this afternoon was good but this one was mind blowing, the cheese was perfectly done and the crust had just the right amount of crisp to it, God I loved this city. Steph’s prawn risotto looked really tasty with a huge prawn resting on top still sitting in it’s shell. The waiter feared this was going to be a problem for her, but no not Steph the shell was soon whipped off and we both tucked into our evening meals. With our plates complety polished off and our waiter informing us he had a brother living in Stoke on Trent (of all places) we decided it was time to hit the sack as tomorrow was going to be a busy day and within in minutes we were back in our room unpacking the rest of our clothes. Day one was over and it couldn’t of gone any better, all I could think as I drifted off to sleep was “I wonder what day two will bring?”

 

 

 

 

 

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