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.

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