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Nikki's Blog: Rome – the eternal city

For those of a certain age, you will remember the immortal lines, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’ apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, freshwater system, public health!

Well, thank goodness the Romans did as they created a dynasty that is still clearly visible today. Rome, the eternal city, is a city everyone must visit at least once in their lifetime.

I chose a boutique hotel, a stone's throw from Vatican City. Indeed, from my balcony, I could clearly see Saint Peter's Basilica.

My apartment was in an anonymous building behind large wooden doors accessible by ringing a small bell. Once inside, it was a terrific place to stay for my first trip to Rome.

My first evening, on arrival, I went to visit Vatican City and Saint Peter's Square, which is awe-inspiring and free to visit. I wandered through the open spaces which surround the Basilica.

From there, I made my way towards the Tiber River and the imposing Castel Sant'Angelo, which guards the bridge that crosses the river.

In the narrow streets, there are countless bars and restaurants and I was spoilt for choice. My first meal I can assure you was so deliciously... Italian.

Now, I could write a long account of every minute of every day, but that’s not necessary because with Rome, being a people friendly city, I can tell you of the highlights in no particular order, except to say all are easily accessible and surprisingly close together.

Although the temperature was 36°, I managed with a few drinks breaks to see the most iconic venues, including the Pantheon (an ancient Roman temple), the Trevi Fountain, the Roman Forum, Piazza del Popolo, the monument to Victor Emmanuel II, as well as countless historic sites that pop up all the time in unexpected streets and alleyways.

I must tell you about the Spanish Steps which were in fact really only steps, but at the bottom was Miss Babington's Tea Room, founded in 1893 to cater for English travellers craving a nice cup of tea, who would have none of this foreign muck - a charming relic of Victorian splendour.

Thank goodness tastes have changed and the cuisine on offer all over Rome was truly amazing - every meal or snack was a delight.

The jewel in the crown has to be the Colosseum and the surrounding Roman Forum. It takes little imagination to picture life at the height of the mighty Roman Empire.

Indeed, standing inside the amazing amphitheatre, looking down on the arena, reduced me to silent contemplation of what really happened here for the entertainment of the citizens of Rome.

The city of Rome is a truly magical place, and I had a permanent smile on my face the whole time I was there... In fact, it was an eternal smile.

I was sad to leave Rome, but I still had another venture planned, and I wasn’t sure what it would be like as I boarded a train from Roma Termini to the Port of Civitavecchia.

It was from here that I would begin my voyage on Star Clipper, but that’s another story...


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