This was our first trip to Europe so we decided that a good way of covering a lot of territory would be a cruise. This way we could see some key sights and keep expenses low since meals are included on the ship. We decided to add 4 days onto the end of our trip in an apartment in Rome.
The Mediterranean cruise was excellent, taking in Ports of call in Sicily, Palma De Majorca, Valencia, Cannes and Genoa. Sights were easily accessible from all ports. A lot of money can be saved by simply walking into town from the port or taking a cab instead of booking an excursion with the ship. I do recommend establishing a fee from the cabbie before you get into the cab. You can eat as cheaply or as expensively as you want almost anywhere we went with the exception of Cannes. We had beer, pommes de frites and nachos for 50 Euros! Good thing we had the ship to return to for a very late dinner afterwards.
Staying in Rome
Once the cruise ended and we were in our apartment in Rome, we took a day trip to Pompeii. Trust me, it’s a FULL day. We took a high speed train from Rome to Naples (80 Euro one way), then the metropolitan train from Naples to Pompeii (7 Euro return). The high speed takes about 1.5 hours, very slick ride. There are deals to be had if you book ahead (we didn’t). The metro train is a whole other experience: you will be literally shoulder to shoulder with locals and other travelers. Pick pocketing is something you need to be aware of, money belts and cross-body strap purses are a must! Once in Pompeii, you can simply hook up with a tour. Don’t go it alone, there is simply too much history that you will miss out on. We joined a tour headed by a lovely British gentleman for the measly cost of 20 Euro. There is not much here in the way of food, so bringing snacks are a must. There are, however, many places to refill a water bottle. Trust me…it’s all rock, not much shade. On a hot day, you will need a lot of H2O!
Ok, back to Rome. I have to say, of the places we’ve seen on this trip. Rome is by far, my favorite. It has it all: great food, history, architecture, shopping….. Heaven! We shared an apartment with friends. It was a lovely, unexpectedly large 2 bedroom just a couple of blocks from the Spanish Steps. We paid 200 US per night split between the two couples. All of the main attractions were within walking distance. We bought some staples for breakfast in the apartment and lunches are inexpensive. You can get wonderful fresh pizza, our favorite is the Marguerite pizza which comes with a beer for around 7 Euro. Buy your own wine, it’s cheaper than pop. We always took a bottle (or two) back to the apartment at the end of the day. Dinner was also reasonable, a lovely pasta and wine could be enjoyed for 20 Euro pp.
The Vatican Tour
The Vatican was another FULL day. I would not recommend going without a tour. This way, you can bypass the line. The day that we went, the lineup was at least 1 km long! Like Pompeii, there is simply too much history that you would miss without a tour guide. The one we used was booked online prior to going. (The tours book up, so best to arrange in advance) She was excellent! We paid 50 US pp for the Vatican entrance and tour.
The other days we had in Rome, we left open and simply walked the city. The Coliseum, Forum, Spanish Steps, ALL of the main attractions were within walking distance of our apartment. Every street you walk down in this beautiful city will inspire you…I left a piece of my heart there….
Guest Article Submitted by:
Sharon H. Peterborough, Ont. ~ September, 2014