Rome

Destination #22 – Rome. I think the most tourist-oriented city I’ve seen so far. It doesn’t matter where you are in Rome: people will try to force you to go in their restaurant – or they are selling you a selfie stick. I wish I had some Dutch souvenirs to sell to them, so I could see how quickly they’ll give up. Also there is cheap food everywhere, which you definitely will be drawn to because it looks and smells amazing. Also the tourist hotspots are unbelievably stunning (Colosseum, Pantheon, Castel Sant’Angelo) and crowded; making it an enjoyable place for me to watch people… simply watch them – it’s amazing to see all the different types that are out there. Rome breathes architecture. After we’ve walked for a few kilometers through the city, we arrived at Vatican City. Basilica di San Pietro is massive, and completely flooded with tourists and selfie-stick selling people. Haven’t seen any smoke though…, also Pope Franciscus was not at home I think… (he frequently walks around I’ve heard, lol). So after surviving Rome (I haven’t felt more exhausted up to then, I even needed to sit down 5 minutes before we would arrive at the station because I couldn’t take it anymore), we made it to our train to Ventimiglia. In Ventimiglia we had booked a nice hotel, where the receptionist/owner (I assume) even spoke Dutch. Breakfast was already available at 6 in the morning!! Unfortunately my blisters have become active again due to the long walk in Rome, so I think I’ll be using the public transport around Barcelona and Madrid to spare me. We just left Monte Carlo (capital of Monaco) where we took a small break to view the city; pretty views on the ocean, city completely change into a race-car track which will be starting soon and it looks expensive. After Monte Carlo we ran into troubles… I knew that ‪#‎Interrail‬ in France is not the most ideal combination; on InterCity’s and High-Speed Trains there are only a limited number of seats available for Interrailers – and I couldn’t book on forehand because I expected to have at least some delay (which we don’t have!). So it turned out that we had no problems going in/out Spain and Portugal, however going into France is a ‘another cook’ (Louis van Gaal). All the TGV’s from Hendaye to Paris have been fully booked apparently the coming Monday. Luckily the ticket-lady at the service desk helped us out by selling us 2 beds in the night-train from Hendaye to Paris. Positive: no extra hotel costs in Paris, negative: less time to see Paris (3 hours, but I’ve been there often already) and too much time to see Hendaye (7 hours). Luckily Hendaye is located next to the ocean, so we’ll probably end up on the beach! No worries.

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