The Five Lands

I cannot even begin to describe the anticipation and excitement with which I began planning for Cinque Terre. Plenty of postcards and “10-places-you-need-to-visit” lists have taught me that the five lands are magical, magical places.

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The Cinque Terre (Italian pronunciation: [ˈtʃiŋkwe ˈtɛrre]; Ligurian: Çinque Tære, meaning “Five Lands”) is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia, and comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. – Wikipedia.org

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Today, we begin our story with the two travel buddies once again caught in a huge predicament…

Continue reading “The Five Lands”

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The Maidens of Venice (and Burano)

Once upon a time, two little girls decided to take a sleeper train from Rome to Venice. What would have been one of the most lovely experiences yet (it really was) quickly turned into a journey of fear and panic.

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…okay clearly my story-telling skills need some brushing up after months of non-writing (boo finals), but this isn’t a horror story I promise.

You know how every time before you embark on an epic travel adventure to leave your mark on the big, big world, your mother would suddenly burst into your room, wild worry etched upon every fine line on her face, demanding you to double-check your insurance plan, compartmentalise your money into separate pouches and purses until you don’t even know where it all is anymore, and oh – bring more toothbrushes?

Well. She’s right.

Continue reading “The Maidens of Venice (and Burano)”

When in Rome…

…EAT ALL THE GELATO!!

I’m not even kidding. We’ve had so much gelato in the short three days we’ve been in Rome that I was too ashamed to tell the mother just how much calories I picked up along the way.

Welcome to the post kickstarting #itsadventaretime 2015: WESTERN EUROPE.

Travel buddy Umi and I were in Rome for 3 days 2 nights, and it was a wonderfully laid-back and easygoing introduction to our one month of living life on the go.

Rome, despite its vast history and legacy, was rather easy to  navigate around. I’d say you could roughly divide Rome up into 3 sections: the newer, more metropolitan area (around the Colosseum), the older quarter (where the Pantheon, Piazza Navona and Trevi Fountain are), and of course, Vatican City.

Of course, the Vatican is technically separate from Rome, but Rome is basically the backyard of the Pope, so there’s that. The city part of Rome was pretty straightforward. After a day with the map, we felt confident enough to take more than 10 steps without consulting our trusty paper compass every 5 seconds. We even managed to walk unguided for an hour from our place to the Spanish Steps! (The accomplishment is in both the “unguided” and “walking”.)

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STOP SPAMMING ME WITH PICTURES you say.

GIVE US SOMETHING USEFUL CHERYL NO ONE WANTS TO SEE YOU CROSSING THE ROAD. 

Today, my friends, I present to you a visual and textual adventure in Roma à la mode de cherrybelly, cause you know. I am a nooblette tourist/traveler (which one am I dammit), and I’m pretty sure you are too hohoho. Also I used amateur French in that sentence to describe my Italian adventure therefore I conclude I am currently running on too much caffeine and you should take the rest of this post with a pinch of salt OK PLS SCROLL DOWN NOW STOP ENCOURAGING MY RAMBLING

“On Traveling And Touristing: The Places I Went To See While I Was In Rome For Three  Whole Days And I’d Totally Recommend Them To You”
– a dissertation blog post by Cheryl Tare

Vatican City
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It was beauuuuuutiful.

We didn’t actually do anything there though, cause we no money go inside hee hee. But it was lovely to just stroll about and take in the holy atmosphere. Might have got honked at a few times for standing in the middle of the road to take the above picture BUT HEY. If you didn’t take a picture, were you really there?

Exactly.

Colosseum
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ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??? 

Legit useful information: First Sunday of every month is FREE ADMISSION DAY woohoo! Grab yo kids grab yo wife and SQUEEZE WITH THE CROWD FELLAS. The queue will be extremely long so be prepared to be ambushed by pedlars hawking their wares for a good hour or so. Free is good. But free comes at a price.

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Also, we walked up a hill close to the Colosseum and decided to skip the Roman Forum cause you needed to purchase tickets to get in and we…. (yes you guessed it) no money. There is an alternative to entering the Forum the tourist way however, and I’ll be sharing it below. For now, ENJOY THESE PICS OF ME WITH FLOWERS.

Spanish Steps
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Was very difficult trying to take a picture without too many people in the background. Struggle must have been very evident because approximately 99 pedlars tried to sell us selfie sticks.

Was a very nice to just stop and people-watch here though! 🙂

Piazza Navona / The Old Quarter
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Ah, and we have come to this charming, delightful quarter in the little city of Rome. Stepping into the Rione V Ponte and Rione IX Pigna area was like stepping into the hidden realms of Rome, into what those storybooks were made of. The streets were painfully narrow; the roads were of cobblestone and the buildings so worn and old, like how you’d imagine Rome to exist in the previous century. It was an ancient neighbourhood stuck in time… and yet full of gelato. Oh, the gelato.

We had what was possibly the BEST GELATO IN OUR LIVES from this pretty shop near the Pantheon, but because it was late at night and the sun had set, we didn’t catch the name of the shop and we never saw it again.

It’s like the streets had opened up and swallowed the damn place whole, cause we just couldn’t find it anymore. Was this gelato shop but a dream? Was it a mirage that came to us when we were weak in the knees and weary in the soul??

WHERE WAS THIS DAMN GELATO SHOP????

We walked for hours the next day trying to track it down. But our memory had betrayed us; it was not where we thought it was. We had to subsist on mediocre gelato for the rest of our time in Rome. It was very, very sad. I mean, Frigidarium is really pretty darn good, but that Mystery Gelato Shop made the most delicious gelato-milkshakes I swear. 

If you ever pop by the neighbourhood, please find this Mystery Gelato Shop for us. I must live to visit this heavenly place once more.

Pantheon
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It was really pretty and there were horses outside. Why is there a hole in the roof though?

The Roman Forum
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And here it is, in all its majestic beauty… THE ROMAN FORUM. From a high vantage point. Something you cannot get if you entered the tourist way hehehe.

I’d like to call this the backdoor to the Forum. *smug* Also you could technically sneak into the Forum free of charge in here (we saw a guy do it) but we were too chicken law-abiding for things like that.

So here’s how we got there:

Road to the Roman Forum

From the Colosseum, we got onto the Via dei Fori Imeprali road, which leads from the Colosseum straight to Piazza Venezia. You’ll pass by many, many landmarks along the way, like the Forum of Augustus and the Trajan Forum.

Once at Piazza Venezia, you’ll see the grand, white Altare della Patria, or Altar of the Fatherland. You can’t miss it. It’s too huge and too white. Keep to the road, and walk around it. (That’s the little loop at the top of the red path.)

You’ll get to Museo Centrale del Risorgimento (lovely place for music) and farther along, the Basilica di Santa Maria in Ara coli. This place is really easy to recognise, cause the first thing you’ll see is STEPS. Many many many steps. Refer to the first picture of this post, it was taken at this Basilica.

But this is not your destination my friends. March on.

Get onto Via del Teatro di Marcello, and then turn left into Vico Jugario. You will find yourself at Piazza della Consolazione. Lots of cars parked here, but carry on!

Get onto the small road, Via della Consolazione, which is to the left of this big old building named Santa Maria della Consolazione.

AND WHAT’S THAT WE SEE IN THE DISTANCE???

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Yes.

Yes it is. The Roman Forum.

But that’s not the view you promised Cheryl! Yes, and we’re not done.

With your back to the Roman Forum, look right. See that little sloped road going up into the scary mountain place? It’s called Via Monte Tarpeo.

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Get up that road.

And then pretty soon, you’ll find yourself here:
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Absolutely breathtaking.

Some fella climbed down the wall and into the Forum from here, but we settled for balancing precariously on the edge and snapping pics hahaha.

Anyway, just follow the rest of the path and you’ll find yourself at the top of the Fontana della Dea Roma and it’ll be teeming with tourists so I doubt you’d be lost from here on out 🙂 Go explore! 😀

Have fun ❤

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