Day 4 Rome – Today is my last day in Rome, as well Italy. Sad to leave as I have encountered so much beauty here and made great new friends.
I started the day off by visiting another country and the smallest in the world in fact, Vatican City. Such incredible history in just one large area. I went into the Vatican Museum and witnessed some of the most amazing artworks, including of course the masterpiece Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. Then it was onto St Peter’s Basilica the large church which is built upon the apostle Peter’s tomb.
After the Vatican I went onto the Castel Sant Angelo. A rather large fortress commisioned by the Emporor Hadrian (cool name) near the river. Over the years it has had many uses including a Pope’s residence and pretty brutal prison. Hadrian’s tomb is here and from the top of the fortress you have one of the most amazing views of Rome. This is where I finally blew a history chip in my head. I just couldn’t remember everything I had seen and heard. You walk two steps in Rome and there is some unique piece of history waiting to tell its tale. So I headed back to my hotel.
In the afternoon I put down the camera and went for an open bus ride around all of Rome. Was relaxing and a great way to end my time here.
Grazie mille Italia. Magnifico e bellissomo!
Day 3 Rome – Today was another perfect day although a tad hot. Forced me to buy a hat, and after much bartering, got one for a massive 5 euro.
I spent three quarters of the day at the Palatino (Palatine) and Foro Romano (Roman Forum). They are located next to the Colosseum. There was a bit of ground to cover and was quite exhausting, but worth it in the end as you see ancient Rome at its best. I went into the ruins of the Emporor Augustus house with perfectly preserved remnants of Roman frescoes on the walls that are over 2000 years old. From the top of the Palatino I was able to get a great panoramic shot overlooking all of Rome. Hearing stories, seeing artifacts and some ruins that dated back to the 14th century BC was an eye opener. Amazed at the skill and craftsmanship even back then.
On the return home (and to save some leg power) I hopped aboard one of those hop on hop off buses. Was fun cruising Rome for a while on the top deck seeing the sites. Have a 48 hour pass, so will do more touring tomorrow.
In the afternoon I made my way along the river looking at the different bridges. Cars now travelling over the water instead of chariots. I went across the Ponte Sisto to see one of the most beautiful churches. It’s the Santa Maria in Trastevere. Looks ordinary on the outside but once inside it leaves your jaw on the ground! Took some shots, then had to put the camera down and just sit and take it all in for 10 mintues or so.
Tonight is out and about again shooting more various angles of Rome.
Day 2 Rome – The perfect day here in the Eternal City. Blue skies and pleasant temperature greeted me as I started my walk around Rome.
First stop was the Piazza Navona, then I went to the Pantheon which when inside blew my mind. It is the resting place of the famous painter Rapheal and the open roof lets this beam of sunlight in which made for a great shot with the 10mm lens. From there I went to the Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and then finally to the inside of the Colosseum. Very impressed with all I saw, but I want to tell of a nice moment I witnessed at the Spanish Steps. I was at the base where there is a boat fountain. Two young men came up and stood next to me and one of them was blind. His friend was explaining to the blind one what he could see. The expressions of surprise and appreciation on the blind man’s face was almost like he could see it for himself. Just made me think for a while that you should never take anything for granted and appreciate what you have.
Whilst walking around I noted that it looks like Rome is going to be best photographed at night, so for the next two nights I will be out clicking away. Full moon tonight, so hopefully should make for some good shots.
Day 1 Rome – On the train here today you could just tell you were getting close to Rome. The telltale signs of fields of olive trees or other produce with the simple “roman” style home in the middle. Small parts of ruins started to come into the picture and soon enough I was at Roma Termini.
As I expected Rome is a busy city and also “touristy”. This afternoon I went for a walk to the Colosseum for something to quickly do before dinner. I did not go inside as I ran out of time, but it is a pretty impressive structure. Will venture inside in the coming days with the wide angle lens. Tomorrow I will start visiting different areas, looking forward to checking out all the history and the other delights Rome has to offer.
Day 4 Venice – Today was my last day in Venice and it was also the best.
It started early up at 5am and the great thing about that was I had St Mark’s Square all to myself. That meant I could get some good wide shots without any people in them. It also gave me the opportunity to just take in the beautiful designs on the buildings and think about the history that was attached to them. As the sun came up it gave everything a subtle glow. Such a contrast between when the place is full of tourists and when it is empty. I’ll take the empty option anyday.
After that I headed back to my hotel for breakfast. I put down the camera, went and bought myself a one day vaporetto (ferry) pass and just went around all of Venice exploring. I took on the attitude of if I see any ferry (and it’s not on its side) just jump aboard and go where it takes me. I strolled through different areas including fresh fruit and fish markets, the old Jewish settlement area and basically anywhere I felt like stopping. Was great fun.
In the evening I went for a 1 hour gondola ride around the central canals. Got some great wide angle shots. It was the perfect way to end my time here in Venice.
* Please note – if you ever want to have some fun in Venice, just hold a flag on a stick and walk through St Mark’s Square. You’ll find by the time you get to the other end you’ll have a hundred tourists following you.
Day 3 Venice – Today was the best day I have had with the camera in Venice. I stumbled upon this pretty cool spot where they keep all the gondolas overnight. Captured some pretty good angles and had no one around to bother me as it was early.
Then I headed off to the small island of Burano about 40 mins out of San Marco. This place was amazing! It had bright multi coloured houses and buildings which made for some great shots. Accompanied by beautiful little gardens everywhere Burano seemed surreal. Like a little paradise away from everything.
Night shots tonight, hopefully capture some creative canal shots.
Day 2 Venice – Today was slightly better as it was not as crowded in Venice like yesterday. I started off by getting away from the main area and headed to the island of San Giorgio Maggiore. I went into the church there which was pretty impressive and took the lift to the belfry. From there you can get 360 degree views of Venice, got some great shots and panoramas.
After that I headed back to the main island where I saw colourful street characters and learnt that it is best to avoid the area around St Mark’s Square. It is a tourist mecca filled to the brim with Japanese and Amercian tourists/groups and Sudanese hockers with their authentic Versace $10 bags! So I headed west and that is where I saw a more “truer” interpretation of Venice. This is where the locals live, no tourists, just people going about their business hanging out washing and going to work. This is where I got better shots of canals and dwellings.
Funniest thing I saw today was when I was coming back to my hotel late in the afternoon through St Mark’s Square. There are a LOT of pidgeons there. A man was feeding a heap of them from both hands. Smiling away, he had pideons on his head, shoulders, hands and arms. His wife snapping off pics as fast as she could. Like in unison the pidgeons counted 1,2,3 – DUMP! All down his back and neck.
Day 1 Venice – It’s ok I won’t hit you with any, “who left the tap running” jokes. I have arrived in Venice. Had a good trip from Lake Como but was sad to say good bye to Jennine and Luca. The train journey was quite good and I got to take in a lot of the Italian countryside. Unfortunately it appears I timed my run into Venice at the same time there was some rowing regatta on with hundreds of rowers choking the canals. This of course threw the transport system into chaos and it did take some time to get to my hotel. The ferry was so packed I thought the next stop was Christmas Island!
I have ventured around Venice this afternoon. So have only scraped the surface of what it has to offer. Today being Sunday there were quite a lot of tourists (in fact thousands) around which made the feel of the place quite tacky. More like Disneyland or Wally World with gondola rides and stereotypical “o sole mio” singing operators. But I will go adventuring none the less and try to get away from the crowds into quieter areas for some shots. I have asked the locals here about some locations and they have advised me of some good “out of the way” areas. Shall go see those tomorrow.