Sunday, May 9, 2010

Italy (Roma)

Roma, perhaps the best city in Italy for some people but not for me. I love Venice more.
From Pisa to Firenze, I had already wasted lots of time. I had no choice unless to arrive in Roma in luxurious syle, by Frecciarossa Trenitalia, currently the fastest train in Italy. That was the most expensive train ticket I had ever bought. 47 Euro for a single journey from Firenze Santa Maria Novella to Roma Termini. Once again I decided to declare a war towards my stomach. Sorry...

Frecciargento (left) and Frecciarossa.

My accomodation in Roma was Happy Days hostel. Just like its name, everybody in that hostel seemed to be very happy everyday. Sounded like crazy but it was true. When everybody was happy, I was happy too. The workers there were really friendly until it was hard for me to differentiate between the workers and the guests. Haish!
Every night was a 'Friday night'. Luckily God gave me tiredness, so I slept rather than joining them and clubbing until 4 in the morning. Here, I met two Malaysian Chinese, Jia Wei and Xu Shen. Jia Wei is currently studying in Sweden and Xu Shen is in Poland. Both of them are from National University of Singapore, one of the world's best universities. I did get some tips from them on the best way to travel in Roma.
I also met a girl from Uruguay. She and her 8 friends were my roommates in the hostel. I wasn't sure why I was meant to be in that room. Maybe God wanted to test my Iman. All of them are girls and they also treated me as if we already know each other before. One night, something unexpected happened.
A girl was walking from the toilet into the room where I was staying, wearing just a towel. She took her clothes from a bag.

Me: Are you going to change?
Yes, why?
I'm going outside so you'll feel more comfortable.
No, no. Don't trouble yourself. Just stay here. I don't mind.

Guess what I did....I left the room and missed the precious opportunity. Hahaha. Don't know why I transformed to be a very good boy at that time.
The next morning, I walked to Vatican City. It was 10 minutes walking from my hostel. I was there at 6 am since Xu Shen reminded me to be early if I really want to visit Vatican City, or else I'm going to finish my time queueing.
Since I have no interest towards museum, I just entered St. Peter's Basilica. It was a very huge one. Few Swiss Guards could be seen around the Vatican City area. There was no fee to enter this basilica but you're bag need to be checked for security reasons. There was also Pope's body stored in a glass. For me, it looked spooky.

St. Peter's Basilica from St. Peter's Square.

I spent just an hour in Vatican City. From there, I walked down towards the Colosseum, the most famous structure in Roma. A not to be missed one. During my journey, I stopped a while at Pantheon.


I reached Colosseum after an hour walking. This one was the main attraction, so I had to queue and waited for my turn to purchase a ticket. It was 12 Euro for a ticket and it can be used to enter Colosseum, Mostra, Palatino and Foro (what the heck was this?). If I'm not mistaken, Palatino is Palatine Hill, where legend tells that Romulus traced the first outline of the city. Foro Romano is where you can see ruins of Romans empire. Too many facts in Roma. Sometimes it made me sick.

Foro Romano

In the Colosseum.

Me outside the Colloseum.

What they have in Palatine Hill.

A view from Palatine Hill.

After finish visiting the 3 places, I went to a stall outside Palatine Hill to buy a RedBull energy drink. I thought it was sold at normal price but it wasn't. It was 4 Euros per can. What the heck?
Never mind. I need to drink or else something worst will happen.
Just like before, I walked because that was the best way to experience Roma and saved my money. My next destination was the one I was waiting for since I first watched Lizzy McGuire the movie. That was 2003, when I was in form 3.
The Fontana de Trevi or Trevi Fountain. Wah....why was it really beautiful in my eyes...until today, I still don't get the answer.
I spent few hours sitting in near the fountain area. I had an ice cream, a slice of margherita pizza and a bottle of drink for my lunch. I watched what people did there. Tossing coins, taking pictures, chatting, doing business and so on. For me, everything around Fontana de Trevi was very cool.

Fontana de Trevi

Tourists and locals around Fontana de Trevi.

Coin tossing.

Then, I visited another interesting spot in Roma. The Spanish steps. It was really near to the Fontana de Trevi but I took such a very long time to be there. For the legend of this Spanish steps, you may search it in the internet if you really wants to know. I noticed lots of Americans having their school trips during my visit to Roma. What an awesome school trip! To Roma. Wargh... I cannot imagine that.

The Spanish Steps.

Since I liked Fontana de Trevi very much, I spent another two hours there and I was lucky to snap this beautiful moment. It was a photo shoot session for a newly wed couple. "You may kiss the bride".


I guess that's the end of my Italy report. For those who are planning to visit Italy next holiday, feel free to contact me at I'll help whenever I can.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Italy (Pisa)

I arrived quite late in Pisa, about 6.45pm and it was already dark. I thought the hostel I booked just within the walking distance from the train station, surprisingly its not even in the map. The bus driver said, "Your accommodation is just outside the map" then he laughed. Haish! Not good for me. I followed him since he's the bus driver whom led me there.Villa Leaning Tower, that was the name of the place where I slept. Quite far from the station but really near to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Hahaha...

My room in Villa Leaning Tower

Here, I met Brian and his friend from United States. They were studying in Rome and I got some good tips from them on how to make full use of my limited time in Rome. I chatted with Brian's friend. I didn't even know his name. He love snowboarding very much, and during summer they play freeboarding. A new term for me and he did show me some videos of people doing freeboarding. Cool and awesome!The next morning, I began my day by walking to the leaning tower. I went there early since I need to get back to Firenze before 2pm.Leaning Tower of Pisa looked just like a normal structure for me, except for the leaning part. It was really crazy.
Make sure you go to Leaning Tower of Pisa through this gate.

I decided to climb the tower, as advised by Pam and it cost me 13 Euro. I didn't mind about that since this may be the last time I visit Pisa. I waited for an hour before my turn to climb the tower. This was due to safety reason. Maximum number of people allowed on the tower at one time was only 32, if I'm not mistaken.

This is what most people do in Pisa. Sadly, I didn't have any companion to do that.

On top of leaning tower. What happened to my eyes?

At the same time, a parade took place around the area of the tower. I grabbed this rare opportunity by taking some pictures. After a while, I noticed that I was already late to Firenze. I grabbed a pizza and a can of drink and walk all the way from leaning tower site to the train station.