It’s been a long overdue blog entry… but there’s a good reason for this!
You may have read in my last entry that I was signed off work for a week – the weeks leading up to the holiday was very stressful and I was at a really low point due to a lot of issues. So, when it came to getting on the plane to escape everything, it was such a relief!
There had been a slight change in plans, where I ended up travelling alone but along the way I met some incredible people and learnt a lot about myself (without sounding too hippy!). I travelled from Pescara, to Rome, then back to Pescara again before heading back to good ol’ England. Each day, even when laid by the beach, was filled with so much that happened, so rather than doing it each day, as I don’t want to bore you, I’ve done a summary on both Rome and Pescara.
I travelled to Rome on the Sunday via coach… you wouldn’t believe me if I told you it included getting lost thanks to Apple Maps, a Priest, shouting Italians, a dog just as excited for adventure, and a gypsy beggar woman. But it did! It was really overwhelming and when I got to Rome (eventually), I was completely on my own. And it was terrifying! I researched a lot about Italy, including Rome, on Pinterest so my sense of security and safety was heightened, and all I could imagine when I first got there was someone pickpocketing me as soon as I got off the coach.
It was my first time staying in a hostel on my own… I have stayed in one before but a.) it was with School and b.) it was in the middle of the woods somewhere in Germany with a freezing cold swimming pool. When we pulled up to Legends Hostel, I was even more terrified. It doesn’t look like a typical hostel – my first impressions was I was at the wrong place as it looked like it was within apartments. Well that was true… but when you stepped inside, there was a sense of belonging and the most important part was I got to meet some people who are, well, quite simply amazing.
I was originally going to stay in Rome for 6 days before heading back to Pescara to fly out, but after a lot of thinking on my first day and talking to other people (both fellow travellers and friends), I ended up deciding to cut my stay in half and go back to Pescara early. Rome is easily done in 3 days… and when it came to the end of the 3 days, my feet were screaming for the beach!
There’s a lot of walking when it comes to Rome. Our hostel was central to a lot of the landmarks, and on my first day of arriving, myself and a couple of girls saw pretty much half (plus more) of the iconic landmarks, including the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain (which was closed for repair – gutted…), the Piazza della Repubblica and the Piazza Navona. Over the next few days I went to more landmarks, both by foot and public transport. Whilst I didn’t go inside the Vatican or the Colosseum as it was pricey and too long to get in (I can be quite impatient!!), I went around the sites and was just as taken away as I would have been if I went inside. I would have to say out of all the landmarks, including the iconic theatres, I would have to say the one landmark that was my favourite was the Unknown Tomb of the Solider. We stumbled onto this (pretty hard to miss to be honest) and it was not only beautiful in terms of its decor and the grandness of it, but it was filled with respect and rules. For example, you weren’t allowed to sit on the stairs, and if you did (like some people did!) then you were asked to move. It was breath-taking… and simply beautiful. Another area of Rome that took my breath away was on the last night where we took a trip to a market area near the river on my last night of Rome. It was, what I can describe as, magical – filled with markets and restaurants with people and creating a sense of community.
You can also get public transport but here’s a word of warning – the metro can be scary as everyone is cramming and pushing each other onto the train, and you can get up close and personal to people who don’t use deodorant.
The food was amazing – coming from a granddaughter of an amazing Italian woman who was skilled with the talent of cooking, it was like eating her food again. I’m a big fan of pasta, so I was definitely within my element – and the wine was just as beautiful! I also had gelato which tasted so good!! Well… you can’t go to Italy and NOT each gelato!
The landmarks were amazing but I think the main things I took away from me was;
- I don’t trust maps… I only get lost and panic even more if I’m on my own.
- It’s hot in Rome… but not “sunny hot” – more like “melting tarmac radiating heat all the way through you to the point that you’re about to merge into the path!” – always keep water on you.
- Don’t give beggars and those selling things eye contact or attention – I can guarantee it’s harder to shake them off and they will try and haggle for money. They can be quite intimidating!
- Taxis will charge additional on an evening – so if you’re planning a night out, take this into account when you get in and it’s already at €8!
- Fizzy red wine is the best thing ever!! The hostel provided this every night at 7:30pm as a get together for all the guests.
- Tarot Card readers and those who can decipher your personality via handwriting can be accurately scary (I was always curious… but this just proved it!)
- Get proper walking shoes – even with trainers, I had blisters ON blisters… pure agony!
- I’m getting the hang of the basic Italian language… that’s a start!
- Pizza + new friends = excellent end of my visit in Rome.
On the Wednesday, I got the coach back to Pescara (which was only €12 and is 2 hours and 20 minutes with complimentary coffee and sweets – come on England…) and stayed at the hotel I stayed on the Saturday night I flew into Pescara before travelling to Rome.
Hotel Salus was incredible – clean rooms, amazing breakfasts and very friendly staff! Plus they have their own private beach for €10 a day. It worked out a lot cheaper to go back to Pescara and stay there rather than staying in Rome. And, my feet got a well deserved rest!
Pescara is on the east side of the country, with a long strip of beach – and not your typical rocky beach, but with fine sand and the blue sea. This is the first time I’ve ever been on a beach like this (I know…) so I fell in love with it when I first stepped foot here.
Where the hotel was, it was central to the city centre with beautiful shops and was along a strip of bars and restaurants so you were always filled with choices! I found a small bar where a small pizza was €1,50 and a bottle of beer was €3,50 – was so good eating this while sat on the beach watching the sunset!
If you’re not keen on the hustle and bustle of tourists and just want to relax, then Pescara is definitely the place to be. Filled with mountains around the landscape, the scenery also took my breath away.
I felt recharged and relaxed by the end of my Italian holiday and feel I can face everything back home with more energy and confidence. I did a massive thing going to a whole different country on my own, and I would recommend this to anyone, even if you’re curious or need a short-term change.
I could fill this blog entry with tons of pins from Pinterest but there’s so many – and to be honest, I tended to venture out of my own curiosity. But do feel free to look at my travelling board!
I’m starting to think about my next adventure… funny enough, this month’s theme from My Little Box was about road trips which I got when I came home!