So we made it to Italy. We took an Easyjet flight from Orly in Paris to Ciampino in Rome. Ciampino is somewhat like the budget terminal of Rome, and is nearer the city center. We had a difficult time getting a cab in the airport, as the cab driver imposed a high fixed rate to go into the city.
So, we took a public bus instead that was headed to Centro Termini. From the central train station, we took a cab to our hotel in the heart of the Rome's historical center. In fact, our hotel, Pantheon Suites was located beside the Pantheon.
The location was perfect, however, I was disappointed that the Pantheon, one of Ancient Rome's monumental buildings, was under renovation. We checked in our hotel and was surprised on how small the room was. We also didn't get a view of the Pantheon.
Nevertheless, we were contended that we were in a great location. It was easy to walk to most of Rome's attractions. So, after settling down and unpacking, we grabbed our gear and headed onto the cobblestone maze that was the historic center of Rome.
We were on our way to our first stop, the Trevi Fountain, when we realized we were very hungry. So, on the way, we decided to grab our first real Italian meal. It was a random choice, just a restaurant on a corner. We were hesitant at first, because we were taken to the basement of the restaurant that had no guests. It was cold to dine al fresco. Fortunately, the food was above average, and our first Italian meal was satisfying.
We stepped out of early dinner with the sun down already. We wandered the streets, and tried to locate the Trevi Fountain. There were signs leading to the attraction, but it was difficult to follow them, since some of the signs faced different corners. We eventually made it after some missed turns. The Trevi Fountain was bigger than I expected it to be. It was indeed a landmark, and a beautiful one that is.
The scenes of Angels and Demons kept on playing and playing in my head as we continued on our walking tour. We ended up in the Spanish Steps, which was a bit of a disappointment. Rome is a city of fountains, so we decided to take a picture of every fountain we saw. Lizzy also wished upon each one.
We passed by the shopping street of Rome, and happened to buy some stuff for Lizzy in one of the biggest Zara stores I have visited.
Most of the shops were already closed, so we decided to head back to our hotel. It was really getting cold, so we had some stops in those stores that were open. One interesting shop was Bartolucci, which was the inspiration for the timeless story of Pinocchio.
Our first day in Rome was packed. We were there for only 3 days, so we didn't waste any time. I liked Rome more as it was busier, dirtier, more raw and its historical charm was more alive. And most of all, the people were friendlier.