100 Reasons Why You Should Visit Romania – Part II

Thank you all for the very positive feedback on the list of 100 reasons to visit Romania. As promised in my previous blog post, I have returned with the second part of the article:

51. Scărișoara Cave

100 reasons to visit Romania - Scarisoara Cave - Pestera Scarisoara
Inside Scărișoara Cave

Scărișoara is a glacier cave, located at 1,100 meters above sea level. Tourists can visit the 60-meter-long entrance shaft, the Great Hall, and the Church. Inside the Great Hall, there is the 18-meter-tall ice rock, the remains of an 3,500-year-old glacier, next to a pond called the Pool of Ice. Inside the Church, one can admire the more than 100 ice stalagmites hanging from the ceiling.

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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

Roman Holiday Itinerary, Day 3: Exploring more of Rome’s Historic Centre

Although we started the third day of our Roman holiday early in the morning, it was in no way as intense as our second day. However, it was every bit as wonderful. After all, we were about to explore some more of Rome’s historic centre!

The plan was to start with the Pantheon. But, surprise-surprise, we arrived before it opened. So we had some time to slowly wake up and truly become all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

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Vatican City to Trastevere Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday Itinerary, Day 2: Walking from Vatican City to Trastevere

If you thought we covered a lot on the first day, think again! The second day of our Roman Holiday was the probably the toughest, but also the most amazing. We walked from Vatican City to Trastevere, starting early in the morning, and finishing after nightfall. We had plenty of breaks, though, to enjoy the beautiful views over Rome, to grab a bite or to have a drink.

Vatican City (Citta del Vaticano)

We left the place we were staying at early in the morning and bought some tasty pastry products on the way. Then, we got on the subway to Ottaviano, then walked a bit, passing by Piazza del Risorgimento, and ending in Piazza San Pietro.

Vatican City to Trastevere Piazza San Pietro St. Peter's Square in the morning Roman Holiday

Vatican City: St. Peter’s Square early in the morning

Though it was before 8 in the morning, there was already a line to pass the security check for Basilica San Pietro and its Dome. However, it was short and it was in the shadow. While we were waiting for our turn and enjoying our breakfast in line, the queue got larger and larger, all the way to the entrance in the Piazza San Pietro, if you’re coming from Via Della Conciliazione.

All in all, I don’t think we spent more than 20 minutes waiting. Then, we went through the security check and decided to start with St. Peter’s Dome.

So remember kids: the early bird catches the worm! It’s worth making an exception and getting there early, even if you’re not a morning person. 🙂

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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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