Wednesday, May 19, 2010

When In Rome

Posted by Kero at Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Thank you to all of my blogger and FB friends who gets excited every time iIshare photos of our holiday in Italy. I am about to share tales of our stay in Venice, but before doing so i am making this post to answer the queries i received in my inbox regarding our stay in Rome.

For those who are still on the process of applying their visa, good luck. If you followed all the instructions, then there's no need to worry but pray =)

You are most likely to receive your visa approval a month before you board your plane. This will give you ample time to research and plan. In doing so, consider the following (and basically what we did as a family).

1. Research on budget airlines that fly to Rome. Some travel agencies directly recommends Austrian Airlines which is good if you are returning from Venice. Milan was never in our itinerary but due to budget consideration, we had to fly with Qatar Airlines with routes to Rome and Milan - hence extending our visit to the fashion capital.

2. Prioritize what you want to see in Rome. Anywhere you go in Europe is expensive. Think 1 Euro = 5 AED = 60 Pesos. No matter what you do and no matter how long you will stay, you will never get to see all that Rome has to offer (so that's a good reason to come back teeheee). The Vatican Museum alone will probably take your whole day if you explore every room and dissect every sculpture and painting.

3. Eat while in Rome. Because food in Venice sucks and you are better off spending something for your wardrobe in Milan. Having visited multi-awarded restaurants and hotels, food in Rome is incomparable. The pizza margherita with its lovely cherry tomatoes, pasta dishes with gentle sauce, the frothiest cappuccino, and richly flavored whenever you can because by the time you reach Milan, your dinner will be made up mostly of beer =)

4. When in Rome, prepare for the ride of your life. They say that Manila has dangerous drivers, expats in Dubai complain about idiots driving around the city, but road life in Rome is far more intimidating than any of the two. I think it is probably the worst city to drive. Think Tiida swerving through the narrow crowded streets of Hor Al Anz. Drivers change lane without so much as warning, nobody cares about speeding (probably because they are racing against the impending traffic), most roads are one way, cars park even on zebra lines, pedestrians cross as soon as they see no cars coming and even if the signal is red (which will cost you a fine in Dubai). This was probably the shock i suffered next to how small cars are in Rome.

5. Research about your hotel. You maybe in a budget but make sure you don't end up enduring a bed space like your temporary home in Dubai. Some travel agencies say that your hotel accommodation will be revealed within 72 hours of flying but don't fall for such trick or you may end up with an unmade bed without so much as toiletries.

6. If you intend to visit any museum, this is where your credit card comes handy. Book ahead online. We visited Borghese Gallery on Sunday and tucked at the front door is a notice that all tickets for the next two days were sold out. You do not want to fly that far only to be denied at the entrance. This also applies to The Vatican Museum. For the Last Supper in Milan, it is advisable to book two months ahead. So time to rack your brain if you have any bloodline in Italy. We don't have credit card so I think the universe conspired that Glenda should be enjoying the beautiful life in Italy so we could get pass the Swiss Guards =)

7. Learn useful Italian phrases. Italy maybe a top holiday destination but you will be surprised how little do they speak the English language. Bringing along an English-Italian dictionary is no exaggeration.

8. Dress up and guard your bag.You will be treated better if you show up at a ristorante or museum in dark jeans and tailored jacket. Reserve your flip-flops for Venice. Cover up when visiting Vatican City. No bare shoulders and no skirts above the knee. Absolutely no shorts for men.

9. Get plenty of rest before flying to Rome and pack a comfortable walking shoes. It is not a city as convenient as Dubai where you have the elevator and travelator at your disposal. You will use the stairs, walk up and down the streets.

10. The best way to see Rome if you are on short stay is the Double Decker Bus Tour. There are seven companies competing for  the service. We chose the red bus called City Sightseeing Roma. Tickets can be purchased at Piazza Venezia for 18 Euro each person - valid for 48 hours.

Have a lovely stay at The Eternal City!

5 sweets for Kero:

kayni on May 19, 2010 at 6:59 PM said...

Great list...and yes to the reservation of tickets to certain museums...lines can be long. I had a university card access back then and it proved useful in terms of entering museums.

There are more places/more choices of places to eat in Rome; I agree. After a year though, I couldn't pass eating at McDo anymore...much cheaper.

I love your list. Very informative.

witsandnuts on May 20, 2010 at 10:21 AM said...

Very helpful list. And yes, the comfy shoes/get-up will matter a lot!

Alan on May 20, 2010 at 1:54 PM said...

I recently visited your blog. It is a very interesting one. Keep it up.

Artemis on May 22, 2010 at 6:20 AM said...

exciting dear Kero! i'll go read your earlier posts about this fabulous travel.

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