The destination of the day was Vatican. I consulted a hotel staff again. She said it would be better to book ticket online since she heard from hotel guests that they spent six hours waiting in front of the Vatican Museum. Mama Mia!! Yes I booked immediately. We had to pay four euro for each ticket for the online service fee.
Our booking was for 2.00 p.m., therefore we had a plenty of time in the morning. We made decision to have a trip along the Line A metro. The first place we visited was Piazza della Repubblica. We just got off at the Repubblica station and took some photos. It was probably too early, so it was so quiet, I thought. There was a church opposite to the station, but we skipped it.
จองบัตรได้เวลาเข้าชมตอน บ่ายสอง ช่วงเช้าก็มีเวลาเหลือเฟือ จึงตัดสินใจว่าน่าจะนั่งรถเมโทรแล้วแวะเที่ยวตามสถานที่ใกล้ ๆ สถานีรถเมโทรจะได้ไม่เหนื่อยมาก โดยเลือกเส้นทางท่องเที่ยวตาม Line A สถานีแรกที่เราแวะเที่ยวก็คือ Repubblica แวะถ่ายรูปนิดหน่อย ดูเงียบ ๆ เพรายังเช้าอยู่ ขึ้นจากสถานี มีโบสถ์อยู่ตรงข้ามแต่ไม่ได้ข้ามไปดู
Next station is Spagna, yes we wanted to see the famous Spanish Steps. Again, it was probably too early. We could take photos without many tourists in our photos. At this place, father wanted to go to toilet. We asked a female police and found out there was no public toilet. She recommended us to buy something from a bar, which located opposite to the Steps, and then we could use its toilet. Yes, we followed her advice. We bought a small scoop of ice-cream which cost 3.5 Euro (quite expensive!!!) and then both of us went to the toilet.
We then walked around to see many brand-name shops. Before we flew to Rome, some friends asked me to buy them Longchamp bags. We tried to find the Longchamp shop, but it was not successful even my sister had told me where it was. Dear friends, sorry indeed!!
Next stop was Flaminio to see Piazza del Popolo, a big square in Rome. There were fountain, churches, and Egyptian obelisk. It was an interesting tourist spot in my view. Now, father was tired again. We then sat in front of a church around fifteen minutes. We noticed that a step of the entrance was unsteady. A lady walked down and stumbled over that step. Her sunglasses bounced off and were broken. My father said we should do something. Then he tried to fix that step using a piece of stone. Since the stone was too big, he slammed it onto the floor many times until he got a smaller one that matched the hole under that step. There are a couple of tourists applauded him. For me, what he did was a good memory of this trip.
“If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.”
– African Proverb
I had been busy before the trip. So, I had not prepared the itinerary. What I knew was my destinations were Rome, Pisa and Florence. For Florence, many people told me that I would never regret to visit there.
As you probably read from my first three episodes of my Italy trip, I spent the first day with my Guide of Honour – Kim. She was my sister who had degrees in History (Hons). No surprise, she was an excellent story teller about many historical places. For the second day of my trip and other days, she was too busy working at her job. It was time for father and me to travel together.
Actually, besides my sister, we had other helping hands. They were the Hotel Derby’s staff. Their service was superb and they spoke English very well. (I intended not to mention their names or any specific staff since one of staff, that I remembered his name from a review on a website, told me that he was embarrassed to see hi name on that website. He believed that everyone worked well not only him. I did agree. However, I thought he was the best due to his experience and English skill.)
Not only the friendliness of its staff, but the hotel also provided big and comfort room, elevator and free wifi . Room rate included breakfast was reasonable. Breakfast was quite good. They served ham, fruit, croissant (yummy), cracker, bread yogurt, hot and cold coffee and a few kinds juice. Well, if you wanted cappuccino, you just told the waiter and no extra charge.
The weakness of this hotel was it was 10 minutes walk from the nearest metro station – Gabartella. However, my father and I did not have problem about its location. Along the way from the hotel to the station there were a good Pizzeria and a good café. It was worth walking 10 minutes.
Walking 6.5 hours yesterday made both father and I had blisters on our feet. Therefore, we told a hotel staff that we needed a peaceful day and only one or two places should be enough for today. That staff recommended us to visit St. Paul Outside the Walls (Basilica di San Paolo) which was the second biggest church of Rome (The biggest one was in Vatican) . It was not far walking from the hotel but we had to walk in the opposite direction to the metro and then cross two streets (hope my memory is still good). And from the St. Paul we could take bus or metro to a market not far from Piramide metro station. We believed him and them started walking around 9.00 am. Since we did not want to get lost, we asked people along the way. It took less than 20 minutes to arrived in to St. Paul.
The church had only a few groups of tourists and it was so quiet. However inside the church it had low light so it was not easy to take photos. Since it was a very big church, we took an hour seeing the beauty of this historic place. There were souvenir shop and a small restaurant inside the church.
From S.Paul, we walked back to Basilica S.Paolo station and took metro to Piramide Station to visit the market. Again, we asked people but they rarely spoke English. The last couple we met told us that we got lost and had to take a bus to another direction. Luckily, I saw a bag of apples in the gentleman’s hand then I asked him where he bought those apples. He said “Oh, you wanted to go to the market!!! Next corner,you turn left”. Finally, we arrived into the market.
ออกจากโบสถ์ก็เดินกลับไปขึ้นเมโทรจากสถานี Basilica di San Paolo ไปสถานี Piramide เพื่อจะไปตลาดที่พนักงานโรงแรมบอกว่าเป็นตลาดขนาดใหญ่ หลังจากลงจากเมโทรก็ถามไปตลอดทาง แต่แทบจะไม่มีใครพูดภาษาอังกฤษเลย ผู้หญิงและผู้ชายที่ถูกเราถามสองคนสุดท้ายก็พูดภาษาอังกฤษน้อยมาก บอกว่าเรามาผิดทางต้องนั่งรถเมล์กลับไป เราเหลือบไปเห็นถุงแอปเปิลที่คุณลุงผู้ชายถือมาก็เลยถามว่าไปซื้อมาจากไหน เขาก็เลยร้อง อ๋อ จะไปตลาดหรือ แล้วไปหัวมุมข้างหน้าก็ตลาดแล้ว ในที่สุดเราก็ไปถึงตลาดจนได้
I was not sure whether we arrived into the wrong market or at the wrong time. There were only few stalls opened. At least there were some fruit stalls and bread shop that we could see Italians went shopping. My father enjoyed buying fruit. We bought cherries, strawberries, apples and another kind of fruit which we did not know its name. Father asked me to ask my sister for its name. I have not had any chance to ask her.
After shopping, we went to a pharmacy to find something to heal my father’s feet. A pharmacist told us to use a product of Scholl that supported the feet. It was to relieve the pressure when you walk. We bought it and father thought it worked quite well.
Father had been so tired, then we took metro back to the hotel. Father spent the rest of today sleeping while I was writing lot of postcards. It was easy to buy stamps at the tabacchi (cigarette shop) next to the hotel and the post box was in front of this tabacchi, convenient!!
รถไฟฟ้าที่สถานีสยาม นอกจากนั้น Termini ยังเป็นจุดเชื่อมของสถานีรถไฟ Stazione Termini หรือ Stazione di Roma Termini สถานีรถไฟที่ใหญ่ที่สุด เทียบได้กับหัวลำโพงของเรานั่นเอง
In Termini station, there were several signs guided us to the train way station. These signs make it easy for tourists to go to the Termini Stazione. Along the way from the Metro station to the train station, there were several Travel Agencies and Tourist Information Services. We could buy Roma Pass from them. Unfortunately, it was sold out . All sellers said it would take a few days until they receive new lot of Roma Pass. Sad!!!
บริเวณสถานี Termini ของ Metro จะมีป้ายบอกทางไปสถานีรถไฟชัดเจน เดินตามป้ายไปไม่น่าจะหลงพอขึ้นมาจากสถานี Metro ถ้าจะไปสถานีรถไฟ ต้องข้ามถนนเล็กน้อยเพื่อเข้าสถานีรถไฟ ระหว่างที่เดินจากสถานี Metro ขึ้นมาจะมี Travel Agencies และ Tourist Information อยู่หลายร้าน ตรงนี้เองที่เราสามารถหาซื้อ Roma Pass ได้ แต่ว่า โชคไม่เข้าข้างเอาเสียเลย ทุกร้านบอกว่า Roma Pass หมดเกลี้ยง อาจจะต้องรออีกหลายวัน
However, we still had another mission, it was to explore the platform. This was to prepare ourselves for the next few days Pisa trip. (Father wanted to see the lean tower. When he was a kid, his teacher told him about Galileo’s experiment at this tower. He wanted to see the tower by himself). We had bought the train tickets from http://www.trenitalia.com/ . It was so convenient.
After the exploration, we were a bit hungry since it was almost two o’clock in the afternoon. There were several fast food and restaurants inside the Termini Stazione. For example, you could find McDonald, pasta, pizza or even Pad Thai. My father and I shared a seafood risotto and some sort of hazelnut cake. They were acceptable.
To make sure that we would not make any mistake about the train e-ticket, I asked my sister whether we needed to validat the e-ticket before we took the train. She said no need. We just had to show the e-ticket to the staff on the train. Then the staff would key-in the ticket id into their machine to recheck. That’s it!!
Next destinations were Trevi fountain and Pantheon. We took Metro once again. This time it was from Termini station to Barberini station (only two stations , too). At the Termini station we met two Thai teenagers. They were buying tickets from a ticket vending machine. Clearly, they had the same problem as mine. We chatted for a while. They were going to the Spanish Step. So, they would take off at the Spagna station – only one station from Termini.
อิ่มท้องแล้ว ก็ออกเดินทางต่อ เป้าหมายคือ จะไปเที่ยวที่น้ำพุเทรวี่ แล้วก็ไปวิหารแพนธีออนกัน ก็อาศัย Metro อีกเหมือนเคย ถ้าจำไม่ผิดรู้สึกว่าจะขึ้นจากสถานี Termini ไปลงสถานี Barberini แล้วเดินอีกหน่อยก็ถึงน้ำพุ ตอนอยู่ที่สถานี Termini ได้เจอวัยรุ่นไทยด้วย 2 คน แบกเป้มาเที่ยวกัน กำลังมีปัญหากับเครื่องขายตั๋วเหมือนที่เราเคยมี ได้คุยกันนิดหน่อย เห็นว่าจะไปบันไดสเปนกัน (ถ้าเผื่อได้แวะมาอ่าน อย่าลืมทิ้ง comment ทักทายกันบ้างนะคะ)
One of attractiveness of Rome that I often found was the harmonization of the lifestyle, modern buildings and the ancient places. You just walked along the street and there sometimes was a restaurant at the corner. Next to the restaurant was probably an ancient Roman place. Well, we visited the Trevi Fountain in similar way. We just walked along the narrow streets and then behind the building was the Trevi Fountain. Wow!!
The next destination was Pantheon, the place that my sister fell in love with. Again, we walked along narrow streets. My sister stopped us at a corner of a building and proudly presented us the Pantheon. Stunning indeed!! I was not sure what was more impressive, the way my sister presented the Pantheon or the Pantheon itself!!!
We paid respected to Victor Emanuel II the first king of united Italy and Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino a great Italian painter and architect.
We also spent time at several churches. All churches were gorgeous. The most impressive church IMO was Santa Maria sopra Minerva. I liked the story of this church that my sister told me. This church was where GalileoGalilei repudiated his thesis that the Earth revolved around the Sun. Outside the church, there was the baby elephant sculpture. It was sculpted by Bernini. It had its face turned away from the Church. The reason was Bernini was Galileo’s friend and the sculpture was the symbol of the objection ie he did not agree that his friend was found vehemently suspect of heresy. I did not care whether the story was true. I loved this story. It showed me the great friendship. That was the point.
To take a break after visiting four or five churches, we had special gelato at Giolotti, a very famous gelateria. It was founded since 1900. The waiters were nice, polite and provided good service. However, gelatos here were quite expensive. I remembered that the gelato in the photo cost around 10 Euro++. But it was worth to have gelato at Giolotti.
All the whole trip took 6.5 hours. It was time to go back to the hotel. We got lost – yes no kidding we got lost. Finally, we found the Colosseo metro station. It was quite far from the Pantheon. My father and I took metro back to our hotel while my sister went back to her apartment. The next day, we had to travel without my sister since she was too busy from work.
เที่ยวเสร็จทั้งหมดใช้เวลา 6.5 ชั่วโมงโดยประมาณ ก็เดินหลงทางไปมาจนมาถึงสถานี Metro ที่ Colosseo นับว่าหลงมาไกลพอสมควร ขึ้น Metro กลับโรงแรมเตรียมเที่ยวกันเองพรุ่งนี้ โดยไม่มีพี่สาวมาพาเที่ยว
There were Line A and Line B of metro or Rome subway. In the map above, Line A was in RED colour while Line B was in blue colour. Our hotel located near the Garbatella station on Line B. It was only three stations far from Colloseo station.
ลองดูที่แผนที่เมโทรของโรมนะคะ ปัจจุบันมีสองสายด้วยกันคือ Line A กับ Line B โรงแรมของเราอยู่ไม่ไกลจากสถานี Garbatella ของสาย B ดูจากแผนที่แล้วก็สามสถานีเท่านั้นเอง
The Collosseo station was amazing. In front of the station, we saw the Collosseum and the Arch of Constantine. Stunning!!
When we arrived into the Colosseum around noon, it was crowded. We decided to walk around and came back in the next few days. For all readers, we found out later that it would be easier if you bought ticket at the Palatino first. You just walked around the Palatino and then entered the Colosseum. The line at the Palatino was so short.
We spent around 40 minutes at the Collosseo and the Arch of Constantine. Next stop was the Termini station since my sister wanted to show us how to take train to other city. It was only two stations from Colloseo to Termini and we spent only 40 minutes, so we thought we could use our 1.5 Euro tickets be bought from the Garbatella station. But the ticket barriers rejected our tickets. Oh dear!! We tried to talk to the metro officer but nobody was on duty. So, the solution we had was only buying new tickets.
(I just found out today when I took pictures of the 1.5 Euro ticket, it said that it was valid for 100 minutes , 1 metro only. It was integrated ticket. You could take only one Metro but many buses within 100 minutes. Hah!!)
Another reason we wanted to go to Termini station was to buy Roma Pass. I read from the Internet that you paid 30 Euro for free entry of two museums and for free three days of the city’s public transport network. To save money and skip the line at two museums, I thought I need it. I had no time to buy it online (you can buy it online at http://www.romapass.it/) . Though you bought it online, you had to pick the card up somewhere and you also had to buy it five days prior to the picking up date. So, the mission at the termini was to find the Roma Pass.
I have to thank my sister who suggested us to visit Italy. She has worked as a freelance consultant for an international organization in Italy for two months. One day we chatted and she asked “why don’t you visit Italy??”. I think it was a good idea to spend time with her who stayed in another part of this world. Therefore, my father and I decided to fly to Italy. And “yes”, we had a great time there.
After taking time making reservations for hotel, airplane tickets, train tickets, etc.., finally we managed to fly Thai Airways from Suvannabhumi to the Fumicino Airport (The Leonardo Da Vin Ci Airport). The flight took 11.5 hours and we arrived into Rome on Sunday morning.
At the airport, it was not easy to catch a taxi to the hotel. My sister told me that the taxi should cost not over 40 Euro (flat rate) to our hotel. And I must take the licensed taxi only (the ones which white colour and SQRD or something likes that logo.) According to many taxi drivers, our hotel was not in the center of Rome. So, the taxi would not use flat rate. However a group of taxi drivers said it was 55 Euro. Then we refused to use their service.
We walked back and forth around five minutes and then found a Thai family. Aha, they were my professor and his colleagues. It was unbelievable to meet them. And it was incredible to meet them twice in Rome. Later in the afternoon, we met them at the Vittorio Emanuel monument!!! I wanted to knock my head not asking them to take a group photo.
Well, we talked to that family for a while and then kept walking to find taxi with the right price. A big man came to us and asked about the hotel we were going to. And he said it was 50 Euro. No, we would find 40 Euro of taxi.
Fifteen minutes later, the same man came and said it was 45 Euro. This time we did not want to wait. So we used his service. But we found out later that it was not a private taxi. It was a shuttle big van. However, we arrived into the hotel safely and quite early. The hotel was located in the suburb of Rome. So it was so quiet. (we will talk about the hotel later)
My sister came to see us at 11.00 am. She was always on time. Then we went to see Rome. Before our official tour start, she took us to the metro station to buy the ticket. We arrived into Rome on Sunday. Many stores closed on Sunday. We could not buy ticket from the newspaper shop or the tabacchi (cigarette shop) around the station since they were closed. Then we tried to buy from the ticket selling machine. Many times the machine did not accept our banknote. A metro staff told us that the machine would accept banknote only when you buy the whole day ticket. There were many kinds of ticket. For example:
It was so easy to take metro from our hotel to the Collosseo or Collosseum. It was only three metro stops. We decided to buy two of 1.5 Euro tickets while my sister had monthly ticket. So, we needed coins.
Sister said we must go to a cafeteria to learn the Italian way to have coffee and Occhi di Bue (a popular biscuit) at the cafeteria and then get some coins. We then walked around to find a good cafeteria.
In many cafeterias, you have to pay for the “coperto” (the extra charge when you sit in the cafeteria or restaurant – normally Italians stand and drink coffee or eat Ciambella (sugared doughnut), croissant, etc.. However, this trip, we paid for coperto only at a Chinese restaurant in Florence (1.5 Euro per person). The cafeteria, gelateria and pizzeria we visited did not charge us for the coperto. So lucky???
Finally we found a small typical Italian cafeteria. My sister could speak many Italian words. I let her order cappuccino for us (I had quit drinking coffee for more than one and a half years. But my sister insisted that it was Italy. You must drink coffee and eat gelato. Well, I always listened to her. She has been always right. And this time she was right, too. Italian coffee was wonderful.) We finished drinking coffee, got coins, and then back to the metro to buy tickets to the Collosseo.