The beauty of Paris

Believe it or not Paris was not a place I initially wanted to go to. Since I was little I had always heard people mention Paris, and when I studied abroad everyone wanted to visit Paris, and because so many people wanted to go I didn’t. I thought that it was being talked up too much and that was the reason I didn’t have much desire to go. After all of my friends had visited Paris and had seen it first hand it was clear that this was a city I NEEDED to see.

After I realized I had been wrong to push Paris to the side, I planned another trip with y friend Meghan and Paris was one of our stops. Before I get into more details about my trip to Paris I would like to say that it lived up very much to all of the exceptions that I had and it is a city that everyone must see. This is a city that will blow you away.

Where we stayed

We stayed at a beautiful Air B and B on Rue Saint- Augustin. It was a small little place but it was enough for us. It had a beautiful big window that looked out into the city streets below. We picked this Air B and B because of its location, it was very central to the places we wanted to visit and the price was very reasonable. It also had great reviews and when I decide to stay in an Air B and B I always look at the reviews. Make sure if you ever book with Air B and B you check the reviews, they let you know how the host is, what is near by, and some information that you might not have known otherwise. Sometimes reading the reviews have led me to visit certain places or eat at a certain restaurant.

Where we visited

On the lawn in front of the Eiffel Tower

There were only a few places we had in mind to visit while we were in Paris and that was the Eiffel Tower (of course), the Louvre, and Notre Dame. The best decision we made was to purchase a ticket for the Big Bus Tour. If you have visited other major cities I am sure you have seen them around. They are these big tour buses that take you along a designated route and stopping at certain stops. I did not realize till we got to Paris how large and spread out everything seems to be. Our Air B and B was close to the Louvre, but was very far away from the Eiffel Tower.

The Big Bus Tour

I really want to take a minute to describe what exactly this bus tour is and why we loved it. This bug had a route that went and drove around every significant place in Paris. It also made periodic stops near most of these sites so you can get off and go explore it more. There were many busses in rotation so you could get off at a stop and look around at what you want to see and go back to the bus stop and wait for the next bus to pick you up. You could also walk around if you wanted and find another place where the bus stops and get back on there. The best part about the bus that we did not know when we booked it is that there is a pre programed tour that you can listen to while you are driving around. They hand you headphones and they connect into the seat and you can listen as it takes you around the city. It not only tells you about each major place but gives you history about Paris and talks about and points out other buildings and places of significance that you otherwise would not have known about. If you are in a big city like Paris, or are not familiar with all that the city has to offer, I hight recommend going on the Big Bus Tour even if it only for a day like we did.

The love lock bridge

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower was absolutely breath taking. No picture could ever capture the beauty and magnitude of this structure. I was absolutely blow away and could not stop staring at her. I think that is why they have the great lawn in from of the Eiffel Tower. They know that people could not just stand to take in the beauty, people need to sit and take the time to really look at her to take it all in. I never though a structure made out of metal could make me feel the way I have felt about paintings and sculptures, but it did.

The biggest regret I have from my trip to Paris was not seeing the Eiffel Tower lit up at night. We kept saying we were going to but we never did. If you are reading this and you go to Paris you need to promise me that you will go to the Eiffel Tower at night and see it for me.

The Louvre

sitting in front of the Louvre

When you think the Louvre you think Mona Lisa. The sad part is that many people do not realize all of the other beautiful and significant art that is in the Louvre. Inside you will find the Law Code of Hammurabi, The Virgin on the Rocks by Leonardo da Vinci St. John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci, Death of the Virgin by Caravaggio, La Bella Jardiniere by Raphael, and so much more. There are countless Leonardo da Vinci’s, Giotto, Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Vermeer, and so so many more. There is so much beauty to see that it is worth looking around the entire Louvre not just at the Mona Lisa.

Notre Dame

We went and were able to see the sheer beauty of the outside of Notre Dame but the line was absolutely insane to get inside so we decided to just stay outside and admire it from there. It is massive, much larger than I was anticipating.

The Lock Bridge

The Lock Bridge was something that I had to do while I was there. If some of you are not familiar people usually go with their significant other, write their names on the lock and lock it onto this bridge. Now a days people like myself do it for their family or just to commemorate their trip. I really enjoyed walking along the bridge and seeing all of the different lock and when they were put there. Me and Meghan spent a good amount of time just walking along the bridge. If you are not sure exactly which bridge this is it is the Pont Des Arts bridge. It was a very cool experience and would love to go back one day and see if by some chance my lock is still there.

THE FOOD

Now I love my food and love getting to experience new food in each place that I visit. Paris had by far some of the best food I have ever eaten. When we first arrived we went to Baguette’s Cafe it was near our Air B and B. This place was small but had fantastic sandwiches. Later in the day we went to Cafe de la Comedie where w had a delicious cheese board and crepes. They were amazing! Side note I just want to add how beautiful all of the restaurants are in Paris. Every single one has seating outside. All the restaurants have this beautiful outdoor seating that just adds to how picturesque Paris.looks and feels. There were so many other amazing places that I ate but unfortunately I did not write them down in my journal. If I do remember them I will add them to this post and add an additional post.

Don’t even know what I am in front of, but this was taken in Paris

Overall Paris was everything everyone described it and more. It is romantic, beautiful, picturesque, and extraordinarily amazing. I now encourage anyone who is traveling to think about putting Paris on their list. In my book it is a must see for so many reasons. While I have described some of the places I visited and the atmosphere, there is so much more to adventure off and see but you have to go there and do that for yourself.

If you have any suggestions to see or to eat while in Paris please comment below!

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Traveling on your own vs a tour

It’s hard to know the best way to travel when you first decide to take a trip. Do you want to go with a tour company? Do you want to plan it on your own? What is more expensive? How do I get the most for my money? These are all questions that I have had and want to help you with (hopefully) through this post. In this post, I am going to give both the pros and cons of both ways of traveling. I have had both experiences and am going to give my own insight and experience with them. I hope this will help you in some way!

Tours that I have gone on:

When I was 16 I went on a Globus Tour with my dad in Italy. It was a 10-day tour, 3 days in Rome, 3 days in Florence, a stop in Pisa, a stop in Verona, and 3 days in Venice. I have also gone on tours with Florence4Fun. I went to Interlaken, Corfu, and Positano/Capri with them, all three were long weekend trips.

Independent trips I have taken:

I took a spring break trip to London, Edinburgh, and Dublin. I took a 3 week trip to Dublin, Paris, Florence, Zurich, Berlin, and Budapest. I did a week trip to Dublin with friends, and my last trip was for almost 3 weeks and I went to Dublin, Zadar, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam.

While I have done both ways of traveling it is hard for me to say which way is “better”. I don’t think there is necessarily a better way of traveling, I think you need to find out which way of traveling is best for you and use that method. It is also hard to tell a person which way they should travel because there are so many pros and cons for both.

Pros for Tour

  1. You do not have to worry about booking ANYTHING (flight, hotel rooms, transportations) it’s all included
  2. You get to skip the line for many of the places you visit
  3. Tickets for each place are already included in your package
  4. You have a tour guide for the places you visit
  5. You do not have to worry about how you get from one place to another
  6. Breakfast and other meals are most times included
  7. Additional excursions are offered in each city
  8. You meet new people and become close to them while traveling on the bus together

You don’t have to worry about ANYTHING!

Once you decide to go through a travel agent or company all you need to do is pick which package you want, pay, and then you do not have to lift another finger. Your round trip flights are included, and if you go to other counties and need to fly those flights are included as well. Rides to and from the airport are taken care of too. All of your hotels are booked and they are very nice hotels! When you go from city to city you get to enjoy the ride while sitting on a nice and roomy air-conditioned coach bus.

You get to skip the lines

If you are traveling during peak tourist season you will see how insane the lines are to get into any “tourist” location. You could wait for hours to get into the places you want to visit. Most times these tourist locations have a good relationship with the tour company (or they pay extra) and allow the entire group to cut the entire line, or go on the “tour” line which is always has a short wait time. It is a major perk when it is sweltering outside and you don’t have to get sunburnt waiting to go inside.

Tickets are already included

One of the reasons you are able to skip the lines is because your tickets are already bought and included in the tour package you bought. It’s nice to have to wait on those lines or have to worry about paying for any tickets, its already been taken care of.

Tour guide

You also have a tour guild for each place you visit and believe me it’s awesome. You do get a headset to wear so you can hear your tour guild which could make you feel a little embarrassed but who cares. A tour guild will make or break your time in the city. In Rome, I had the most amazing tour guide, Francisco. He made traveling around Rome a once in a lifetime experience and gave us so much history and background of each place. We went to the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Vatican, Sistine Chapel, St.Peters, Spanish Steps, and other places that I can not remember as fully. He went through each place with us and gave us our own personal tour. It really helped to make the trip to Rome one of the best trips I have been on.

Getting from one place to another

Whether your tour takes you to other counties, or just to other cities in that country, all of the transportation is taken care of. The rides to and from the airport, the bus to and from cities, and the plane ride to and from countries, as well as boats, ferries, and any other mode of transportation that is needed for the trip. You do not know how wonderful it is to not have to worry about how to get from point A to point B, or figuring out the subway, train, or bus systems. They just tell you where to wait, you do, and they come and get you.

Meals

For every hotel that we stayed in breakfast was included. That was one meal we knew we did not have to worry about. Even when I flew out super early in the morning the hotel gave me a breakfast goodie bag to take for the road. The tour also provided 2 dinners. The rest we had to pay for out of pocket but it is nice to know that some of your meals are already paid for.

Additional excursions

For each city that you visit the tour company provides you with additional excursions that you do. You do have to pay additional money for them, but they are pretty cool excursions that you might not have known about otherwise. And again everything is taken care of once you pay.

Meeting new people

This has to be the biggest pro of traveling with a tour. Even though you are most likely traveling with someone, you don’t even need to, you will make a lot of friends while on the tour. When I went on my Globus tour. There were 4 old ladies, me and my dad, this boy and his mom, a solo traveler and this family of 6. We became really close to the family as well as the boy and his mother. We would talk to them on the bus, go out to eat with them, and explore the city together after the official tour had ended. Even when I went on my Florence4Fun tours I was able to meet such fun and amazing people that I still keep in contact with to this day!

Pros for traveling on your own

  1. You can dictate how much money it will cost you
  2. You can take charge of where you are going and what you are seeing
  3. You can customize your trip to fit your individual wants and needs

There might seem to be more pros for a tour vs on your own but these pros pack a big punch.

How much it will cost

You get to decide how much the trip is going to cost you. You do not have to look at all of the tours and compromise places you want to visit because that package is more than you can afford. When you travel on your own you have more say over the cost. While it is still going to cost money you can find cheaper ways of traveling. You can look at other sites and find the cheapest flight, you might want to stay in an Air B and B or a hostel instead of a more expensive hotel. You can also decide if you want to travel by bus, car, train, or plane to your other destinations, which can also save you money. These aren’t options when you go through a tour company.

When it comes to excursion costs you can find the cheapest tickets or the cheapest site to purchase them from. When you visit places, if you are a student or someone who is older you get discounts on your tickets.

You decide

When you travel on your own you get to decide when you wake up, where you want to go, and what you want to see. When you travel on your own you get to do what you want to do, no one else is in charge. You can pick tours that have fewer tourists, or sites that a tour company wouldn’t include. You aren’t at the expense of another, it is your trip and you can do whatever you want. You can also stay as long as you want in the places that you visit, and leave whenever you please. That is a simple pleasure that you don’t have when on a tour.

Customizing your trip

When you book through a tour company they have many tour options, but it is not customizable. They have these designated packages with the countries and cities that they are going to. There is no way for you to be in charge of the places you get to see. While you obviously pick the tour that has the cities or countries you want, you aren’t able to add or take away some of the places that they have included, what you get is what you get. These tours are also usually very limited in the places that they see or the time stayed in each place. When you travel on your own you can pick how many days you want to travel, all of the counties and cities you want to see. You are 100% in charge, you can make the trip whatever you want to.

All three of the pros of traveling on your own have equal importance. Being able to be in charge of a tour trip is something that is very important to me. I like to be able to decide what countries and cities I want to see and the order I want to see them in. That also allows me to find the cheapest flights and routes to each place. When you travel on your own you can pick locations that are exotic or not very big “tourist” locations and go there. You can decide when you want to get up, how many days you stay in each place, and most importantly the places you want to see and things you want to do while there.

Cons of a tour

The biggest con of a tour for me is the cost. You have absolutely no say in the cost of your trip. I am 24 and when I travel I like to save as much money as I am able to. For someone else, they might not mind paying the extra money to have everything taken care of for them, but I believe any of the trips that these companies offer I could arrange myself for half the price. This is something you have to decide on when you take a trip, would you rather everything be taken care of for you and you spend more money? or would you rather book the trip yourself, arranging all the details but save money? That is something that each person has to decide when they want to travel.

Like I stated above you also aren’t able to make the trip your trip. It is the tours trip and you are just on it for the ride. You are in charge, to a degree when you choose the tour package you want, but you aren’t able to customize it or change what is on the itinerary.

While some people love tour guilds some people would much rather do it on their own or have a self-guided tour headset. I loved my tour guild in Rome, but there is also the possibility that the other tour guides you will have will suck, which is what happened to me. I loved Fransicso but the rest were completely boring and made the tours miserable. You also do not get to be in charge of the time you spend in each place. They have a time schedule that they need to stick to, so they take you along in the time that they have, and don’t allow you to spend more or less time in each place. Even if you wanted to stop to take a deeper look at something when you finally look up you you’ll realize your tour guild is all the way on the other side of the building. This happened to me quite often and I had to run to catch up. I wasn’t able to take in some of the things I really wanted to see because the tour had to keep moving.

Cons of traveling on your own

The biggest con of traveling on your own is also its biggest pro, which is, you are in charge of everything. While it is fun getting to plan everything you want to do it can get exhausting. I love to do it, but it can be a lot. I find out which destinations I want to visit them I look up every flight imaginable and every route we could take imaginable to find the cheapest flights. I then have to look up hotels, air b and bs, and hostels to find a place that is both nice and cost effective. I then have to map out transportation from one place to another, are we going to fly, use a train, a bus? If you are not someone who likes planning a trip it can be more trouble than it is worth.

Going off of this if you want to plan your own trip you have to be an adaptable person and someone who is okay with last minute changes or disruptions to your plan. For instance the last trip I was on we were suppose to go from Zadar to Marseille but the day before we were suppose to fly out we received an email that our flight was cancelled. The airport workers were on strike so there were barley any flights to get into France. If we did want to buy a flight it would cost us an additional 300 dollars which we were not paying. So now what were we suppose to do? long story short we cancelled our air b and b and booked a flight to Copenhagen and booked a hostel and booked another flight to Amsterdam and cancelled our flight from Marseille to Amsterdam. We did all of this is less than 2 hours mind you. We were shocked at first but got it all together. When you are on a tour you never have to worry about this if something happens they figure it out for you.

Last thoughts

Although I have done both I think from my tome throughout this post (which I didn’t really realize till after I re read it) is definitely in favor of traveling on your own. You are able to plan it yourself, pick where you go and what you do and change things as they come if you want. I think it has also helped shape me into the traveler that I am, that I would not be if I only went on tours. These trips become your babies and you learn so much about traveling and the in and outs of it that you couldn’t otherwise. I do not think you can classify yourself a world traveler if you only go on tours. It is hard for me to articulate how I feel about this but when you plan your own trip you are on your own and you need to use your knowledge and know how to plan this trip and be on this trip. It doesn’t end when you plan it, you have to navigate through the airport, through the streets to where you are staying, finding the places you want to visit, and get yourself from point A to point B. It takes a lot but that is what makes you an authentic traveler in my opinion. As corny as it sounds, doing this shapes you into the person that you are, I know it has transformed me in many ways.

How to get those likes

Most of us who blog also like to Instagram, it allows us to share our experiences in both writing and through pictures. Throughout my time Instagraming I have experimented to see what time is best to post to get those likes. I know this might sound a bit superficial but when you post a picture you have every intention of reaching as many people as possible, otherwise why Instagram? If you are reading this and saying no, you’re lying.

This is going to be a lot shorter than most of my other posts but I have had people ask me what is the best time to post and I thought I share what I have found with all of you.

During the week

If you are posting during the week the best time to do so is when people are getting out of work. I know the first thing I do when I get out of work is check my social media and I am sure many of you are guilty of doing that as well. I am on the east coast of America and people get out of work around 5 o’clock. If you live on the east coast as well I would say to post between 5:30 and 8:00 pm. This is the time when people are getting out of work, commuting, and getting home and relaxing. This is the time when you know most people will be on their phone. If you live in another time zone I would post anywhere from a half an hour after people usually finish work to 2 1/2 hours after.

On the weekend

When it is the weekend posting time is a bit different. Most people do not work Saturday and Sunday, therefore people are on their phones a lot more. Most people in my age range go out on Friday ad Saturday nights which result in them waking up later than usual on the weekend. For the weekend the best time to post is around noon. I would say prime time is between 11:00am- 1:00pm. This is around the time people are getting up, hanging out, and are on their phones. Posting too early isn’t good because people usually like to sleep in and posting too late is not good because most people are hanging out with friends or going out and aren’t paying much attention to social media.

This is just what I have found when experimenting with my Instagram and my followers. Almost all of my followers are in the same time zone as me as well, if most of your followers are in a different time zone you might want to change the time frame of when you post. I hope that you find this helpful and would love for you to comment and tell me your experiences and thoughts!

Traveling smarter 1

No one is a certified travel expert. Anyone who travels has learned from their experiences and just wings it from there (at least that’s what I’ve done haha). No one has all the answers on how to travel, but once you start you will see that there is a lot to be learned. You learn do’s and don’ts, and find easier, cheaper, and more efficient ways to travel, and you ultimately find your best way to travel. So while many of us travel and try to blog to give advice, you have to find which advice speaks to you and how you want to experience traveling.

I am going to have additional posts about other ways to travel smarter but for this first travel smart post, I want to talk about one of the best things I have learned through my travels. And that is round trip airfare to Dublin.

When I travel over to Europe I try to fit in a few places within the time that I have there which is usually 3 weeks. I want to experience as many countries, cities, and cultures as I can. When you start thinking about traveling around Europe, many people think that they will get a one-way ticket to their first stop and then another one-way ticket back home from their last destination. From my experiences, you can save a lot of money by booking a round trip flight to Dublin.

Now let me explain why. If you go onto Skyscanner which is the website I use to look up flights, tickets to Dublin from JFK range from around 420-720$. I have never spent more than 660$ on a round- trip flight. If you are not familiar with flying overseas that is EXTREMELY cheap for a round-trip transatlantic flight. If you look up other cities in Europe you will almost never be able to find a round-trip ticket cheaper then Dublin and that is why I say to choose and a round-trip flight to there. The best part is the flight is only 5 1/2 hours.

For this post, I am looking up tickets in real time. For a round trip, non-stop flight to Dublin in April it is 512$, in May 562$ and the middle of July, which is peak tourist season it is 712$. A one-way ticket to Dublin in April is 362$ in May 362$ and July is 436$. I am giving you these different months because April is the offseason, May is when the tourist season is starting and July is peak season, this way you are able to get a perspective on the price differences you will see. Now I am going to look up the cheapest one-way flights back to JFK from other major cities in Europe in April which will be the cheapest out of those 3 months. From Berlin to JFK 389$ (1 stop), Zurich to JFK 538$ (non-stop), Paris to JFK 495$ (non-stop), Rome to JFK 522$ (2 stops) 900$(non-stop). These are just a few city examples. If you were to do the math from the above flights you would see that buying two one-way flights is going to cost you at least an extra 239$, the price will only go up from there.

You’re probably wondering “well if I do a round trip to Dublin I will have to get an additional flight to get back to Dublin how much will that cost me?”. It won’t cost you as much as you think. From Rome to Dublin a one-way ticket is 240$ (non-stop), Paris to Dublin 123$ (non-stop), Berlin to Dublin 54$ (non-stop), Zurich to JFK 129$ (non-stop) as you can see you can save at least 100 dollars by doing a round trip flight rather than two one-ways.

While 100 dollars doesn’t seem like that much it will vary depending on the month you go and the cities you want to see. I picked cities that are relatively close to Dublin, but if you were to pick countries further away it could cost more and you might be able to save more. Doing a round trip flight saved me 284$ on my trip in May of 2017 and 341$ in July 2018. While 100 dollars might not seem like that much to someone there is the possibility of saving a lot more like I have on my other trips.

I wanted to share this piece of advice with you because if you are like me and are trying to travel as cheap as possible, saving at least 100$ is a big deal. There is also the possibility of saving a lot more like I have in the past. So it is definitely something to look into if you are trying to travel to a few cities over in Europe and do it on a budget. Also, a bonus is you have an excuse to go to Dublin every time you go to Europe, which believe me is a blessing!

If you have any questions about anything I wrote or just want to pick my brain please leave a comment I’d love to hear from you guys!

When in Rome

I had been to Rome before with my dad through Globus Tours when I was 16, but I went back when I studied abroad. Three of my roommates went only for the weekend so this is my weekend guild to Rome. I hope you enjoy!

Day 1

  1. Vatican
  2. Sistine Chapel
  3. St. Peter’s Basilica
  4. Trevi Fountain

We took the train out of Florences, Santa Maria Novella train station. The train ride from Florence to Rome is about three hours, but the trains are very nice not like the LIRR that I am used to. We stayed in a hostel right outside of the train station ( I don’t remember the name) but even if I did I would recommend finding a better one.

Our first day there we went to the Vatican. We knew that that was one of the main sights we wanted to see while we were there so we wanted to make sure we did it as soon as we could. We went to Rome in mid-March so tourism isn’t quite as crazy as it will get in the months to follow. It didn’t take us long on the line to get in. Like I have said in my earlier posts, use your student’s ID card it will get you discounts, even if it is an American university it doesn’t matter. We also talked to a gentleman at the counter about getting the headsets for your own personal tour and when he found out we were students he gave them to us for free. I don’t think this is something that usually happens but we were very grateful.

Now I can’t even begin to paint a picture for you of all the beauty and art you will find in the Vatican. If you have read my earlier posts you know how much of a history buff I am, especially art history so seeing what the Vatican holds inside is breathtaking. I had been to the Vatican before when I was with my dad (and all the other sites I am going to mention), and seeing it again gave me the same awe and excitement it gave me the first time. It is amazing to be able to walk through all of this history, and the headsets were amazing. You would just type the number that was next to that piece into the headset and it would tell you all about it. The best part was that my roommates and I could split up and see what we wanted. We did not have to wait for each other or a tour, we were able to go at our own pace.

The ticket you buy to the Vatican also gives you access to the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. While you are walking through the Vatican you will see signs that will lead you to the Sistine Chapel. When I first went to Rome I thought it was in a completely separate location. I remember thinking I was just walking through a door into another exhibit (obviously I was terrible at paying attention). I remember looking up and my jaw hit the floor. I am not exaggerating when I say that it is so beautiful it can make you feel overwhelmed and get choked up. Both times I got choked up and even shed a tear because I realized I was standing underneath Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel.

Of course, being the teacher I am I need to give some history about it. When they commissioned Michelangelo to do the Sistine Chapel he had never painted before, he was a known sculptor, maybe some of you have heard of the David? Yeah, that was Michelangelo. They trusted his abilities so much that they commissioned a sculptor who had never painted to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. When looking at the last judgment at the bottom right, just above the door. It is said that that is Biagio de Cesena, as a serpent wrapped Minos. Biagio de Cesena was a Vatican dignitary who vocally criticized the unfinished painting for its depiction of the nude body. I guess Michelangelo got the last laugh. If you have seen the Sistine Chapel before you are probably saying “they aren’t in the nude all the figures have clothing”. Yes, they do. It wasn’t until Michelangelo died that they asked another artist to paint clothing onto the figures. I still can’t believe they would let another paint over Michelangelo’s work. The last thing I want to add is if you are looking at the last judgment you will see 2 black squares on it. You are probably thinking they missed a spot cleaning, but that is exactly what happened. Almost 200 years after its completion they finally decided to restore the Sistine Chapel, which meant cleaning the ceiling and the walls. Those patches were left there to show how dirty the walls once were. When you see those patches you will be astonished to see how black they were, no one would be able to see the precious artwork underneath if it remained uncleaned. Could you imagine?! Okay, this is the end of my history lesson if you have any questions about the history or want to learn more just comment below!

Getting back to my weekend trip. After we awed at the Sistine Chapel for a while, we decided to leave and go to St. Peter’s Basilica. When you walk out of the exit doors you are practically right next to St. Peter’s you only have to walk a little bit till you get there. Like I said before we went before the real tourist season began so we didn’t have to wait on long lines. When I went with my dad it was peak tourist season and we had to wait A LONG time. I suggest getting there as soon as they enter if you want to beat the lines. Like everything in Rome, once you walk into the Basilica you are going to be blown away by the sheer beauty and magnitude of it all. Inside of the Basilica is one of my favorite pieces of art, the Pieta by Michelangelo. For those of you who do not know, it is when Mary is holding Jesus after he has been taken down from the cross. It is a very moving piece, it is also behind glass. It was not always behind glass but after some crazy person came in and bashed off the arm they decided to take some precautionary measures to make sure it never happens again.

St Peter’s square

Continuing with my tour of Rome. After we walked around St. Peter’s, Oh by the way if you want to get married there, there is a 10-year waiting list, and you have to put both the wife and husbands name to make the marriage reservations. After we walked out into St. Peter’s square which is, of course, beautiful and we kept walking and then decided we wanted to see the Trevi fountain before getting something to eat. Another fun fact, all of the pillars in St. Peter’s square were once apart of the Colosseum. In Rome and in Italy, in general, they believed in recycling materials. They didn’t believe in destroying, merely reusing. That is why on some building you will see a block that has some writing on it that is upside down and cut off. If you see that you know that that chunk came from another building.

There are two metros in Rome and we took one of them that let us off right near the Trevi Fountain. Be careful on the metros they are very packed and some people might attempt to steal your stuff. I am from New York so I am used to protecting my belongings. While on the metro I saw a woman trying to reach into my satchel while I was holding on to it. I slapped her hand away and said excuse me are we going to have a problem? She ran away. I don’t want to scare you, I just want you to be hyper-vigilant in other cities especially a big city like Rome. My friends and I got off the metro without any other incidences. When we got to the Trevi Fountain we were very sad. It just so happened that the Trevi Fountain was drained and was under construction so the entire thing was covered in scaffolding. Luckily for me, I had seen it when I was with my dad, but I felt back for my roommates. If you have seen the Lizzie McGuire Movie it says “this is what dreams are made of” and we kept saying “this is not what dreams are made of!” as we walked around the scaffolding. After that, we went back to get a bite to eat and turned in early that night.

Day 2

  1. Colosseum
  2. Roman Forum
  3. Piazza Venezia and the Vittoriano
  4. Pantheon
  5. Castel S. Angelo
  6. Spanish Steps
  7. Plazza del Popolo

Today we woke up super early but decided the night before that we were going to split up and do different thing. Emily and Rachel wanted to see the Pope because he was supposed to be doing service at St. Peter’s, and me and Audrey wanted to explore the city of Rome. Our hostel gave up a map of Rome that showed all of the major highlights and we wanted to follow it and see as many as we could.

The outside of the Colosseum

We started by taking the metro to the Colosseum. There was no line at all, we rented the self guild headsets and walked around the entire Colosseum. It was super nice because there was barely anyone there so we could take our time we didn’t need to rush around so that other people could see.

The inside of the Colosseum

Next was the Roman Forum. The Roman Forum is practically right next to the Colluseum that is why we did that next. For those of you who are not familiar the Roman Forum is a place of ruins. It is an interesting experience getting to walk around the ruins, there are pillars that are fallen over, old foundations of buildings etc., it is amazing.

Part of the Roman Forum
Another picture of the Roman Forum

Next, we walked up Via dei Fori Imperiali and saw Piazza Venezia and the Vittoriano. Continued on pass the Quirinale, then went to see the Pantheon. We then crossed over the river to pass the Castel S. Angelo. We then crossed back over the river and went to the Spanish Steps. After we walked to Plazza del Popolo to see the twin Popolo, which is at the very end of the map from where we started. After we went back to the Spanish Steps to meet up with Emily and Rachel and then we got something to each.

The Vittoriano
The Pantheon
Castel S. Angelo
The Spanish Steps

Overall, Audrey and I were able to see so many of the beautiful buildings that make Rome so beautiful. Even though we only stayed one night we made the most of our time in Rome and saw everything we set out to see. While there is a lot of beautiful places to see in Rome it is possible to see a good majority, if not all of them in the span of two days if you make the most of your time. I hope you enjoyed reading! Leave a comment and let me know what you think!