Roman Holiday Itinerary, Days 6 and 7: Surprising Places in Rome

It was a rainy Tuesday when we found ourselves close to the end of our Roman holiday. But the sad weather didn’t stop us: we took the subway to Termini and started to look for an umbrella. There were still some surprising places in Rome, just waiting for us!

Oh, I think I forgot to mention this: you know how there are some people, like myself, who collect magnets from the places they visit? Well, Mathieu collects umbrellas. So he is very excited when he gets a rainy day when he is travelling: new umbrella!

From Termini station, happily covered by a large rainbow umbrella, we headed to visit yet another building of the National Roman Museum: Terme di Diocleziano. Continue reading

Roman Holiday Itinerary, Day 5: What (else) is there to do in Rome?

As we were getting closer to the end of our Roman holiday, we had more time to spare for unplanned things.  And we ended up wondering what is there to do in Rome after all the places we had already been to.

So on Monday morning  we were back on the subway, heading to Ottaviano once again. When we visited the Vatican, we walked by Museo Leonardo Da Vinci Experience, and I promised Mathieu we’d go back to visit it before we go back home.

Museo Leonardo Da Vinci Experience

In Rome, you’ll find more than one museum about Leonardo Da Vinci’s inventions. After checking out some reviews, we considered this one was the best fit for us. It’s not very large, but it’s nice that you can play around with most of the replicas and see how they were supposed to work. You can see some of them in this photo collage: Continue reading

Rome's Piazzas - Roman Holiday Itinerary

Roman Holiday Itinerary, Day 4: Discovering Rome’s Piazzas

Day four of our Roman Holiday was for discovering the Eternal CIty by visiting Rome’s piazzas. Therefore, we started our morning away from the centre of the Italian capital city. We took the subway to Piazza del Popolo, where we  wanted to enjoy our breakfast while admiring the twin basilicas and doing some people watching.

Breakfast in Piazza del Popolo

Having breakfast in Piazza del Popolo was kind of a bad decision. We left the terrace of Canova starving: we waited a long time, yet nobody came to take our order. So we went across the piazza, to Rosati. Here, we managed to eat. But we spent 30 euros on a small breakfast. At the place we went the days before, breakfast went up to around 8 euros, coffees included.

But I guess when you’re going to a terrace in one of Rome’s piazzas, you’re mostly going there for the place. And since the request is high, it also makes sense that the prices are elevated, as well.

Luckily, the beautiful things we got to see in the area quickly made us forget about the less than perfect beginning of the day!

The Basilicas of Piazza del Popolo

As you enter the Piazza by Porta del Popolo, you see a church on your left: Basilica Parrochialle Santa Maria del Popolo. Unfortunately, when we visited Rome, this basilica was under restoration, so we skipped it, missing Caravaggio’s Crucifixion of Saint Peter and the Conversion of Saint Paul.

From the Porta del Popolo, if you look ahead, you can see Rome’s Piazza del Popolo in perfect symmetry:  you have the twin white basilicas in the background, separated by the obelisk in the middle of the circus. Aligned with the obelisk, you can see Fontana del Nettuno on the right, and Fontana della Dea di Roma on the left. The following image depicts part of this beautiful symmetry: Continue reading

Tirana Albania Colorful Buildings

Tirana Albania’s colourful and creative capital

We left behind the peaceful Lake Ohrid, and heading towards the busy, noisy, colourful and lively Tirana, Albania‘s capital.

When we got to the border between Macedonia and Albania, I was a bit worried about my passing, as I was the only one without a passport, just with an ID card, and Albania is not in the EU. But everything was ok, and I got over this stressful moment and enjoyed the trip afterwards.

The mountain scenery of Albania is beautiful: rocky, green, wild, majestic. It made me think about the Carpathian mountains, actually and got me a bit homesick for a moment.

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Skopje Walking Tour with the Entertaining Miha

Early in the morning, we woke up and had a quick breakfast at Urban Hostel & Apartments. We then went to Skopje‘s centre and split up. Ana and I went to the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, which was the Skopje walking tour starting point. In the meantime, Tim went to walk around in the city on his own.

Skopje Walking Tour

It was the first walking tour I had ever been on. It was interesting that we had a diverse group of Americans, Australians, Germans, plus us two Romanians, among others. However, don’t worry: the group will never be too large. That way, everybody can gather round at certain objectives and be able to hear the guide.

Speaking of the guide, we found him next to a roll-up banner, with the TripAdvisor logo on it. Miha was all smiles, very tanned and dressed all in white. He was friendly and chatty, but he made sure we all left on time, at 10.00, and, as the sun was rising on the sky, he took care to keep us in the shade for as long as possible.

The Skopje walking tour will take you on the capital’s colourful streets, to the main square, inside the Memorial House of Mother Teresa, the old railway station, across the Vadar and back, to the Mustafa Pasha Mosque, to what used to be an inn in the past, then to the Old Bazaar and Kale (Skopje’s fortress), and ends in front of Sveti Spas (Church of the Ascension of Jesus).

At the end of the article, you’ll find a quick guide with more information.

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Skopje, our first stop in fascinating Macedonia

It took us some time to leave the Rila Monastery and head towards Macedonia. Like on our arrival in the Rila National Park, there were works to expand the road, so we had to wait a lot for the machines to get out of the way or to move the recently cut trees out of the road.

Slowly, but surely, we made it, though. And we instantly started to appreciate the Macedonian music. I forgot to mention this, but we only listened to what was on the radio on this road trip. And the music we found, regardless of the radio channels, was like the music from the ’80s!

Arrival in Skopje

Once in Skopje, Tim found Urban Hostel & Apartments, where we stayed for two nights. It was a great deal: we had two rooms, a balcony, a small kitchen and, most important: a washing machine in the bathroom. More information on our hostel is available in the quick guide at the end of the article.

We started searching for a restaurant recommended by Lonely Planet, but it was no longer there. However, in the area, we found a really nice place, with tasty food.

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travel sofia bulgaria

Travel to Sofia, Bulgaria’s blissful capital

In the afternoon, after our magnificent stop at  Devetashka Cave, we continued to travel to Sofia Bulgaria‘s capital city.

I finally got to travel to Sofia Bulgaria!

Ok, maybe I am a little too excited about this. But you see, I had passed through Sofia so many times before, on the way to Greece, but until this time I never actually got out of the car to visit anything. I’m really thankful to Elena and Adrian who were kind enough to offer to host the three of us while we were doing the Balkan road trip. Not only did we get a free and comfortable place to rest our heads for the night, but we also got the chance to catch up with old and dear friends.

I also appreciated having a newly-established local as our guide. Elena took us to some really cool spots in Sofia, spots which we might not have discovered on our own.

Let’s get into the details! Or you can check out the quick guide on Sofia at the end of the article.

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