Thursday, 19 April 2018

Rome in five days (Part 1)

Seeing Rome in five days is extremely do-able because it is small enough to be explored on foot. Public transport (bus, tram or the metro) is an alternative and most stops are within easy access of the most well-known (and some less known)attractions. The best way to see Rome in five days it to divide it into sections and concentrate on one area at a time.
Below, I have reproduced Part 1 of the itinerary that we kept to  during our five-day stay (for once I actually kept to a sketchy plan that I had made). Since our hotel was located two minutes away from the Pantheon, we walked almost everywhere, except to the Vatican, San Pietro in Vincole and St. John in Lateran, but walking is an option that depends on where you are staying.
Day 1: St Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums and Castel Sant’Angelo
Although it was in our plans, we did not make it to the Vatican museums as we arrived after the last admittance (3pm in winter) and I would advise anyone wishing to visit this vast collection to start early – you definitely need a day, not half a day like we had. Be warned that the security line to enter St Peter’s is extremely long - we were waiting for 90 minutes. I read somewhere that anyone that visits the museums can skip the security line but I cannot verify this.
St Peter’s basilica is enormous and purposefully overwhelming. Michelangelo’s spectacular dome and his exquisitely sculpted Pieta’ are, by themselves, worth the 90-minute wait. As you exit the basilica and walk down the stairs to the square, be sure to take a peek at  the colourfully-dressed Swiss guards; we were lucky to be on time to witness the changing of the guard. Also on this side of the square is a Vatican City post office – the smallest independent state in the world. You can pop in to mail some postcards to which you will stick Vatican City stamps and which will bear the Vatican City postmark. It’s pretty neat and we ended up sending one of the postcards to ourselves.
St Peter's Basilica

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Malta in a Minute: The Splendid

Malta in a Minute is a series of posts featuring a photo taken here or there, of this or that, with a short explanation about the subject matter. It’s a bit like Instagram-on-a-blog and, I promise, will not take more than a minute to read.

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This is the doorstep of the former Splendid Hotel in Valletta. Located in the notorious red light district known as ‘the gut’, The Splendid started life as a brothel and was the scene of the brutal murder of an escort that took place in one of the upstairs bathrooms. It is now said to be haunted.

The Splendid Hotel, 74 Strait Street, Valletta

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Rome: a life-long love affair

How does one even start to define a love affair? According to most dictionaries, apart from its romantic connotations, a love affair is also an intense liking for an activity or place. But intense liking does not quite encompass the myriad feelings that engulf me whenever I walk through the cobbled streets of the Eternal City – a mixture of awe, curiosity, anticipation, nostalgia, happiness, excitement – the exact emotions we feel during a love affair.
Rome, Piazza della Rotonda

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Sincerely, Loree. Theme by STS.