25 April, 2010

The Intriguing Rome


Arriving at Rome's Termini Station at night. Upon circling around the back of Termini while trying to find my hotel, my memory went to Terminal Kampung Melayu in East Jakarta. Termini is Rome's main station, like many train stations in Western Europe, the station has nice stores and restaurants. Yet I found the back of Termini quite dirty and unpleasant with beggars standing everywhere. Luckily my hotel --albeit close-- was located to the direction of Colosseum. The room was quite small but more importantly, it's in a good area where I can visited important parts of Rome by foot.

As it was already near dark, that night I just went out for dinner at a Chinese restaurant in front of Termini station then taking a nice long bath before went to bed.


Walking past a small store on my way to Colosseum, saw 'ROMA PASS' sign on the window. Went in and bought Roma Pass for 36 EUR. It covers ticket to Rome's main antiquities including 48 hours free public transport. Plus, ain't need to wait in a long line when visiting Colosseum. This blueprint for stadium construction along with neighboring artifacts of Roman Forum and Palatine Hill made thinking of all those famous Romans that have stepped their foot on that path I walked. 

Lunch was a giant size pizza not far from the Pantheon where tombs of Italian greats were. I ate it while enjoying the beauty of Rococo's masterpiece of Trevi Fountain. The place was so crowded by tourists, I felt lucky to be able to get even a small spot for resting me feet there. But then again, everywhere in Rome during Springs were so crowded with tourists. I didn't even need to check my map to find all the main attractions. I just simply followed where the crowds (read: bunches of American tourists) go.  

Lastly, took a detour through Campo de Fiori - Piazza de Spagna and the Spanish Steps. Took a bus ride back to Termini, checking the station's bookstores and had another dinner at the Chinese restaurant I went last night. It was foolish thing actually, having dinner in a mediocre Chinese restaurant while in Rome. My appetite however told me differently, my appetite directed me to a plate of rice, be it a plate of fried rice I could have been cooked better at home.


When visiting Paris, I could not help to think how blessed these Europeans were. With list of Europe great minds coloring the world's history and building human civilization. During my visit to the Vatican, the same thought was crossing my mind. It was such a terrific experience surrounded with beautiful paintings and amazing --I gotta say-- level of holiness. 

After spent my entire daytime walking through an endless hall of Vatican Museum to Sistine Chapel, I no longer had the energy to stretch feet to Rome's Jewish Quarter or Ghetto. So I took a bus instead. Was it worth the trip? Uhm, there are stores and as I was told, good restaurants there. Because I traveled solo, I did not have the courage to go in and eat alone. People seems to be part of small or large groups, talking and laughing loudly, making me felt a bit lonely. Bought another pizza for dinner and ate in my small hotel room. It was good, if only they have small .   


Early morning flight back to Holland after a week way. Last night when I stopped at the lobby to order taxi, the concierge suggested that I could just take Rome's airport trans service. I would be picked up at the hotel in a comfortable minibus, and it would be less expensive. Good choice. "Ok? Then I'd make the call for you," he says. Well, grazie!

Home of the Milanos

First impression: clean, neat, well-organized and businesslike.
Dig deeper and I found: clean, neat, well-organized, businesslike...the city felt less lively than Rome.
What made me sorry: unable to see Da Vinci's Last Supper Painting at Santa Maria delle Grazie and visit AC Milan's San Siro Stadium.
Unforgettable experiences: 
- climbing up the stairs at The Duomo. Milan's most famous Cathedral, the Gothic Church was built in 1386 and impressively beautiful. In fact, Milan is home to oldest churches in Italy maybe even Europe, since the city was capital of the Northern part of late Roman Empire.
- befriended a Philippine woman who works as an au' pair. I met her while having lunch in a fast food restaurant. She was on her day-off. Within an hour we went window shopping near The Duomo.
Recommended: since cleanliness and inside bathroom are my top priorities, I was truly satisfied with Delizia Hostel on Via Archimede. The place might be a bit far from Milan's city center (approx. 15 minutes bus ride from Milan Central Station), but for 50 EUR per night I got myself a very clean room with private bathroom. I arrived at Delizia after taking an early morning flight from Paris, my low-sugar level kicked in and I thought I would throw up right there, at the hotel's lobby area. I asked the reception if I could get a cup of sweet hot tea. He immediately prepared me one but refused to accept payment, even a tip. 

19 April, 2010

O Little Child~

Me: Seeing little children smile always cost me a mixture of sadness..
Him: Why?
Me: Makes thinking of hurtful moments awaiting in their future...the pain, the sadness, little volcanoes that would change their innocent eyes into bitterness.
Him: But that is the process of maturity. We do not know what will waiting for them in the future, yet we can prepare them to face their problem gracefully.