5 – Europe Via Rail – Vatican Antics

Today I awoke energised thanks to the generous lay in we gifted ourselves, much needed after our ancient monument trek the previous day. Funny Palace did good to partner up with a café round the block for a brekky pastry and drink on the house, which at least gave us some cause to rise at a respectable time! Understandably the early birds who beat us to the bar had snapped up all the nutella croissants, leaving me with a lemon flavoured situation with tropical juice. I admire the Italian routine of nipping into a coffee bar for an expresso before work. I get the impression Europeans live more social (generally happier) lives than us reclusive Brits, going for their morning coffee with friends and colleagues before work . As a nation we shuffle through the tube earphones wedged in on our way to the office with not so much as a suspicious glance over The Evening Standard at a loud sneeze from the seat opposite, wondering if that’s our ticket to a week off sick eating biscuits in bed binging Orange Is The New Black. The bar was lovely with streetside seating entertained by smooth coffee bar music underneath the bustling of morning chat. The weather was glorious yet again.

As the blog title suggests, today was the Christianity appreciation day of our trip.

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Cheerful Vatican selfie

The metro was a breeze now we were acclimatised to underground transport routines making for a quick and comfortable ride on the A line. Next stop the Pope’s house! We stepped into Saint Peter’s Square to take in all the grandure of the past Papas. Work on the Vatican as we see it today began back on 30th April 1589 so proper old times ago. It was weird looking around and putting ourselves in the context of how many people have concrugated here over the hundreds of years since the construction began. This had once been – some still consider to be- epicentre of world religion and politics. I would suggest standing downwind of the fountain, very refreshing as you ponder such existential thoughts. The square itself was preserved in immaculate condition considering its age, the cobbles were clean and smooth with the fountains and the five hundred year old Eygyptian obelisk standing in great nick. We sat sheltered in its shadow while Liam and Tommo struck up conversation with a lone traveller called George. He was an English media student on the last stop of his solo European venture. He sung praises of his trip despite travelling alone, having been eoncouraged to meet new people and make friends in each city he found himself in. His mum even flew out to meet him in Venice! (cute).

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Previous Popes watch out for heretics atop the colonnade

Of course there was a church load of Pope merch in all shapes and sizes including thimbles, flags, plates, basically anything imaginable that could fit a smiley Francis face on. Call me boring but I settled on a standard postcard which I never actually ended up sending because I’m a disorganised loser. The rest of our Vatican visit included more wandering and general sightseeing which isnt much to document on this blog but we very much enjoyed looking around. Overall a good ecclesiastic gaff. 9 Papas/10.

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Still standing in pristine condition

I’m going to fast forward to the evening as Tommo snoozing whilst the rest of us played Pokemon and edited pictures isn’t the most interesting blog content (blontent). We were winging dinner that night hoping to find somewhere suitable around the Trevi Fountain/Pantheon area. From a few Google searches the Trevi Fountain looked fantastic lit up in the evening, in reality construction meant it was bone dry and mega scaffolded. Rome is definitely a city to return to though so it left us something new to visit on our return. The streets were quaint in their pastel shades with vines and trees adorning the balconies.

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Big nose bant

We spent an hour or so admiring the Pantheon and surroudning street performers, with many more Assassins Creed building scaling references. We found a cosy restaurant down a side road from the Pantheon which was the best bet for reasonably priced grub. Beef pasta was nice the price. Orangina with everything of course.

And that was pretty much that for our second day in Rome. We picked up a few bevs on the route back for a couple of drinking games back at the hostel. We had been offered free shots on entry to a bar whilst back at the Vatican (very christian) by a rep who interpreted my bandana as signalling “Hi I’m a cheeky lad looking for a mad night out flag me down and offer me free drinks!”. Couldn’t have been more wrong, I was covering for a bad hair day. A slightly tipsy night in it was to be. We were saving ourselves for the eastern Europe pub crawls! The next day entailed the combination of learning and art appreciating at the memorial to the lost soldier, and discovering what we still regard as the source of the best cappucino in the world. What’s not to look forward to!

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Another magnificent shot of architecture in the evening







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