Our time in London totaled close to 30 hours. My parents departed for a night in Ireland before returning back to the states. We continued our adventures with the four of us (myself, Jackie, and her parents). After the intense schedule of the previous week, we opted for the tourist-filled double-decker bus tours to see the city with relative ease. The original tour takes you around the entire city, and you can get on and off at your leisure. Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park (among many other sites) passed by. The tours of London attractions were the most expensive that I have encountered thus far, and we indulged ourselves in food instead. We did stop at the National Gallery, a free art museum that houses classic works of art as well as two featured galleries of contemporary artists. I found the latter to be the most impressive, but the entire collection is amazing, a generally a gorgeous place to pass time.
Outside the gallery is the center of Piccadilly Circus, the heartbeat of London fashion and shopping. Walking through these streets, one can see the latest fashionistas and watch, in awe, someone spend your year’s salary on a high-end satchel or pair of pants. After a stop for dinner, we took the train back to our hotel and crashed for the evening. The next day we relaxed in the morning and arrived at Gatwick Airport, ready to fly, only to find that our flight had been delayed several hours. We passed the waiting time with a meal at Nando’s, specializing in Peri Peri chicken (and the best chain in the UK) and window shopping in the airport’s surprisingly high-end shopping. We finally boarded and took off with little issue, and arrived in Roma at the Fiumicino Airport around 2230. We took a taxi to our airport B&B, beautifully painted and decorated in the pinks, whites and blues of Mediterranean buildings. With the lost hour during our flight, we were exhausted.
The next morning we took a bus into the center of Rome (Roma in Italian) and walked the few blocks to Hotel Borromeo, where we were to spend the next two evenings. After tucking our luggage away and sneaking in a power nap, we set out to walk the nearby area. Incredibly, it’s only a 5 minute walk to the Colosseum, Palatine and the Roman Forum, which exist seamlessly within the city and people of Rome. We stopped at an Information Center and booked a tour for all three the next day. If any reader is in the same position, it is worth it to book online or with a company to skip the lines, and the cost is actually cheaper when you do the tour.
That evening we enjoyed the classic Italian pasta and pizza dishes, which are truly delicious, and far better than anywhere else in the world. My favorite dish is a tie between lobster linguine and a tomato base seafood soup, both were simply amazing and those alone would remind me to return to Rome for years to come!
Next time, I’ll report on the next two days in Rome and our travels to Florence. Until then, check out this article on the positives of traveling abroad AND locally. Enjoy!