April 02, 2012 GMT
When in Rome

Week 14 - Rimini in Italy to Pompeii in Italy

When Google maps tells you it will take over 5 hours to get somewhere theyíre right. It was only a couple of hours to Pescara on the motorway, but the coast road was built up all the way and slow going. It was cold and dark and raining by the time we got there we thankfully checked in, grabbed a pizza and crashed out.

Tuesday we checked out the weather forecast and there was snow coming. If were to cross the mountains to Rome it was now or never. We figured the motorway would be quicker and safer if it snowed so for once we followed the green signs and got a toll ticket. Almost immediately we started climbing and it got colder and colder. We got about a third of the way to Rome and it started snowing. It got really heavy and then covered the outside lane of the motorway. I think through sheer will power Ant kept us upright and we stopped for a coffee and to defrost. While we were having coffee there was a queue of people taking pictures of the bike. We were sitting in the cafť thinking wierdos taking pictures and Iím sure they were thinking wierdos riding that contraption through all this snow.

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The bike was sprinkled with snow when we got out, but we pressed on and eventually the snow stopped and we started to drop down towards Rome.

Got off the motorway and immediately got lost. Found a bus stop with a map in it and found our way to Porta Pia and then to the hotel. Got some yummy gnocchi with gorgonzola at a local restaurant and went to bed.

Up early for exploring in Rome. Wandered up to the nearest bus stop and found we could buy a 24 hour ticket for busses and trams for 4 Euro, bargain! Bought our tickets and caught the bus to The Colosseum. Which was incredible.

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Iíve seen it so many times on the telly, but actually being there was fantastic, despite the rain. Walked all round the different levels and looked at the displays. I particularly liked the Roman graffiti which must have taken ages to carve into the stone.

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Stopped by the gladiatorís training school and then grabbed a coffee to warm up a bit.

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Spent the rest of the day looking round the forum ruins,

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the Circus Maximus,

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the Piazza del Popolo (which seems to be the place to go and snog your Italian boy / girlfriend. I swear some of the couples were trying to set some kind of longest kiss record!) and the riverside. We walked down the Via del Corso and had a look at the shops, but too expensive for any retail therapy.

Thursday we caught the bus to Vatican City and went to the museum. Some of the statues and artefacts were really impressive, but Ant and I found the art to be a little bit on the violent side for our taste. They did seem to have a model of the Death Star outside though, which was quite cool.

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The Sistine Chapel was another place it was fantastic to be after having seen so many pictures of the ceiling. We only have 1 fuzzy picture taken from up my sleeve as youíre not supposed to take photos in there. I haven't posted it as I really shouldn't have taken it. They had a man shouting at people and everything. We walked round to St Peterís, but it was shut. We assumed the pope must have been having his lunch, as it didnít reopen till 4. We made do with a look at the Christmas tree and nativity which were still there even though it was the 2nd of Feb. I guess the pope doesnít have to worry about bad luck!

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Back into town by bus via the Castle Saint Angelo and the Trevi Fountain, which is massive and more of a waterfall than a fountain.

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Well worth a visit if you are ever there, really pretty when itís lit up at night too. Walked up to the Pantheon which was shut for mass, timing is important when visiting Rome. Shattered after all that sightseeing so Pizza for tea and then back to the hotel for an early night.

Packed the bike up after breakfast and incredibly it started snowing. Thatís the first time itís snowed in Rome for 28 years! Due to the cold and wet the bike wouldnít start so Ant had to do some fettling with it and clean the plugs. Got it going eventually and headed out of Rome on the Tangenzianale. Took the SS7 towards Aprilia, but the rain eventually drove us into McDonalds. We were the lady with the mops worst nightmare. She had to come and mop the floor round us every 5 minutes as the rain dripped off our clothes and left puddles on the floor. After another couple of hours of torrential rain and the beginnings of a thunderstorm we decided to call it a day and stopped for the night in Latina. Went to Carrefour and bought a pic-nic tea. Sat in the hotel stuffing our faces and watching the lightening.

Saturday was beautiful, all the rain had blown away and it was bright and sunny. Nice coast road again and we got to Montedrangone in no time at all.

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We started looking for the hotel and then I remembered we couldnít find one in Montedragone and had actually booked in Licola Mare, which was another 50k down the coast. We were quite glad as Montedragone looked pretty grotty. Little did we know Licola Mare was much worse! Found the turning for it off the Naples Tangenzianale and after passing a considerable number of ladies of the night we found the road the hotel was on. It looked like the rubbish in the town hadnít been collected in months and there were gangs of men on every corner and dogs roaming everywhere. The hotel itself wasnít too bad and we had a nice view of the sea over the burnt out cars on the beach.

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Made a hasty exit from Licola Mare and went into Naples to try and find a McDonalds to book somewhere in Pompeii. No sign of a McDís and the traffic and cobbles in Naples were a nightmare. Got on the ring road, which in Naples isnít a ring, and we were going the wrong way! Gave up eventually and took the motorway to get out of Naples. Took the exit for Pompeii and horror even more cobbles! We wobbled our way down the road and decided to try one of the campsites opposite the entrance to the ruins. They had some caravans available that would be warmer than the tent so we booked into one of those for a few days. Looking forward to exploring the ruins.

Posted by Nikki Robinson at April 02, 2012 01:00 PM GMT
 
 

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