Recently I had the chance meet my friend, Liana, in Rome. She was passing through on her way to Sydney after a three week study tour for Italian language teachers. We had just over 24 hours to see the 'eternal city'.
I'd never tried a tourist bus before, but the hop-on, hop-off 24 hour bus ticket, proved to be the perfect way to tick off the sights.
Then a quick dash across the road to the Arch of Constantine and the Roman Forum. Tick. Tick.
Then back on the bus to enjoy views from the top-deck.
Time to get off and enjoy speed-walking past those familiar postcard sights.
Coins tossed in the Trevi fountain. Tick.
A brief wander through the Pantheon. Tick.
It seemed that there was still time to climb the Spanish steps. Tick.
And to window-shop at speed down Via del Corso. Tick.
Before we needed to hop back on the bus for a ride to our hotel.
Well we could have, if we'd checked the time of the 'ultima corsa'. The last hop-on was at 5pm. Perhaps it was just as well that we missed the last bus, as we worked up an appetite foot-slogging it back to the hotel.
A glass of refreshing proseco and our tired feet were soon forgotten.Roman restaurant, Target. While the name was ordinary, the food hit the mark.
Although the buffalo mozzarella and prosciutto was delicious, Liana picked the dish of the night by following our attentive waiter's suggestion to be adventurous.
She was still raving about the sensational pear and truffle ravioli the next day, when we hopped back on the bus to the Vatican. Tick.
|Recent graffiti from the Vatican streets Published in The Telegraph UK 29th January 2014|
|If you zoom in you can just see Il Papa in his white robes, under a white umbrella.|
The rain poured down, but to our surprise as the bus pulled up we realised that the Wednesday morning Papal audience was being held outside.
Some in the crowd leapt fences to get a closer glimpse of Papa Francesco, but unlike his superhero image, His Holiness stayed firmly on the ground.
See the Pope. Tick.
Our 24 hours was almost up. Our last hop-on, hop-off was back to the hotel for Liana to rejoin her colleagues before leaving for the long, long, long flight home.
It was an action-packed, whirlwind of sight-seeing for 24 hours, filled with stories of home and much laughter about the challenges of learning Italian as a middle-aged student.
When in Rome for 24 hours, try the hop-on, hop-off bus.
But on second thoughts, when in Rome, STAY LONGER!
Grazie mille, Liana. Ci vediamo prossima volta a Roma.