I returned to Roehamton a week ago and I’m finally back in a routine and thought it was time to give you the lowdown on my trip to the mainland.
After my philosophy seminar in the afternoon my three friends and I headed to Gatwick airport for our flight to Madrid. We decided to get a taxi there because the cost of getting there by tube and overground train ended up being more per person then just splitting the cost of the cab between us. Our flight was really delayed so we didn’t end up getting there until around 12. We took the metro to our hostel in central Madrid and grabbed a bite to eat at a 24-hour pizza place down the street. Cat’s Hostel was a really great place to stay. It seemed really well organized, was very clean, and didn’t cost much. I’d definitely recommend it.
Main room of Cat's Hostel
We didn’t have much of a plan for Friday so we ended up just walking around and seeing what we could find because the weather was so nice. We saw a lot of beautiful sights as well as some very interesting street performers. One of my friends also made a trip to Museo del Prado while the rest of us returned to the hostel for a much-needed nap. We finished up the day with a meal at a restaurant a few blocks from the hostel that served traditional Spanish food and delicious chocolate filled crêpes for desert.
Jess, Claudia, and I
Jardines de Sabatini
Catedral de la Almudena
weirdest street performer and I
We decided to invest in tickets for a bus tour which we could use the whole day and get on and off as we pleased. It was €17 including a pair of headphones to listen to audio about all the places we passed and a small guide book, not too bad. We were on the bus for a good portion of the day and that night we went to a really fun Middle Eastern restaurant. What a mix of cultures: American students studying abroad in England eating in a Middle Eastern restaurant while on a trip in Spain.
We got up really early to go to a highly recommended street market. It probably only covered about two blocks but it filled all of these little side streets so it felt pretty huge. We stayed around the hostel for most of the day and got dinner near by. Then we went closer to the center of the city and stumbled upon a free concert in central Madrid of American popstar Katy Perry. It was such a strange coincidence. We weren’t there for too long because we had to catch our flight in the morning.
the girls at Katy Perry
It was hard to be angry about how early we had to get up when we knew we’d be getting to Rome in a just a few hours. We arrived there around midday after yet another delayed flight. We took a shuttle bus into Termini station where we could easily walk to our hostels. The three girls stayed in an all women’s hostel called Papaya and our friend Dave stayed at one just down the street. The hostel turned out to be great with croissants and cappuccinos for breakfast and a friendly, extremely knowledgeable hostess. After settling in we went to see some of the most famous sites: the Triton Fountain, the Trevi Fountain, and the Spanish Steps.
Fontana di Tritone
Fontana di Trevi
view from the Spanish Steps
Sadly, during almost all of our time in Rome it was raining. Tuesday, however, it wasn’t an issue as we spend most of the day inside on a tour of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. It was amazing, definitely worth the price! We found out quite quickly that Rome is extremely expensive when we tried to find a place around the Vatican to grab lunch. Of course this is a very touristy area so that was bound to happen but we found that that was the case pretty much everywhere we went.
ceiling of the map room
Raphaele's School of Athens
Michelangelo's La Pieta
St. Peter's Square
We took the metro over to the Colosseum late Wednesday morning. Unfortunately just as we got there it began to pour and the combination of that with the long line and the overpriced ticket made the whole thing seem a little unappealing. We decided instead to just take some pictures of the outside and then be on our way. We spent the rest of the day walking around the area of the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps and doing some souvenir shopping. We went all out for our last night and indulged in a four-course meal at a rooftop restaurant.
the four of us in front of Il Arco di Costantino
the last supper
We arrived back in England on Thursday afternoon totally exhausted and happy to be back to a familiar place.
Since we’ve gotten back things have been just okay. I have gotten pretty homesick lately and at this point am counting down the days until I get to see my family. I hate to say it because I know as soon as I get home I’m going to miss this place so much but that’s just how I’m feeling right now. And its totally to be expected; my first semester of college and I’m halfway across the world! For now I will just try to suck it up, keep busy, and have loads of fun.