Autumn is here, and the light summer mornings are gone. Getting up in the mornings aren’t as easy these days, and getting out of bed before 6 is a struggle. Knowing I can start the day with lighting a candle and having my breakfast with a good book and coffee helps, though. In my opinion, the best way to start the day os with reading a book.
I realised I never got around to blog about my last full day in Rome. The Friday was spent travelling, and was fairly uneventful, so I will not be blogging about that day, but on the Thursday I went to what’s called “Ancient Rome”, which is worth a visit if you visit Rome.
I went up to Colosseum by public transport, as I had bought a 24 hour travel card (very handy, can be used for trams, busses, and the underground). I was amazed by the huge queue outside both Colosseum and Forum Romanum, but didn’t really care too much, as there’s a lot to look at in the area. You can even see quite a large part of Forum Romanum without going inside!
Colosseum is quite impressive to look at from the outside. This round amphitheatre was built of concrete and sand in 70–80 AD, and it is the largest amphitheatre ever built. The Colosseum was used for gladiatorial contests and other public spectacles, and is estimated to have been able to hold up to 80 000 spectators!
Right by Colosseum is Forum Romanum, a rectangular forum, or plaza, surrounded by the ruins of several important ancient government buildings at the center of the city. For cenuries this was the centre of the public life in Rome, and this was where statues and monuments commemorated the city’s great men.
There’s a lot to look at in the area around the Colosseum and Forum Romanum, so walking around looking at so much history was something I really enjoyed. And it took most of my day.
I had dinner close to the hotel, and did a bit of walking around before I headed back to pack my things and get ready for travelling the next day.
I recently went through the list of books read so far in 2016, and I had read very few books in my native language, Norwegian.
From January to August I read a total of 43 books, of which only 10 were in Norwegian. My challenge is therefore to read mostly Norwegian books in September.
I just started reading a book I have had on my shelf for ages, Dronningens løfte (meaning “the Queen’s Promise”), written by Margit Walsø. This is her second book, and like her previous book it is based on European history. I really liked her first book, so I hope I will like this too.
Do you have any challenge for September? If so, what is it?
I had a soft start of my day this day, and my first “task” was sitting outside at a café drinking espresso and writing postcards. The temperature was around +30°C, which felt beyond wonderful knowing that at home it was about +10°C and probably raining… Sitting outside in the shadow with coffee and postcards felt perfect!
When I was done writing postcards it had gotten several hours since my breakfast consisting of fruits (the hotel isn’t good at vegan stuff), and I went to Universo vegano for a lovely and filling lunch. I had a Veghina Incas (wrap with quiona falafel, lettuce, vegan mayonnaise, tomatoes, and vegan cheese), and a vegan raspberry cheese cake for dessert. The meal kept me full for HOURS! Probably the best meal I’ve had in Rome so far!
Well fed, I went off to hunt down a post office. The first one I went to turned out to be closed. To my surprise, it closed by 13:25 – a very odd time in so many ways. So I had to figure where the next close post office was, which fortunately wasn’t too far away. It turned out this was close to the Spanish Steps, so I went there to have a look. The steps themselves were closed off for rehabilitation, so I wasn’t able to climb all the 135 steps this time. They were still beautiful, though, and the piazza with the nice fountain at the bottom was, needless to say, crowded with people.
The steps were finished being built in 1725, and were disigned by Francesco de Sanctis. The fountain the bottom of the steps is called Fontana della Barcaccia, which means “Fountain of the Ugly Boat”. I find this a bit silly, as it’s not ugly at all!
After looking at the steps, I headed back to the hotel where I read until it was time for me to have dinner. I had dinner at the raw vegan restaurant Écru, and had a nice meal there, before heading back to the hotel for an early night.
I set out after breakfast to visit the Castel Sant’Angelo, which is only a 15 minutes walk from my hotel. I was fortunately early enough to avoid the huge queue I saw on my way out, and after a bit of queueing I was inside.
Castel Sant’Angelo, or the Mausoleum of Hadrian, dates back to 139 AD, and is the tomb of the Roman emperor Hadrian. Hadrian is known for building Hadrian’s Wall, which marked the northern limit of Britannia, and was a Roman emperor from 117 to 138 AD. Much of the tomb contents and decorations have been lost since the building’s conversion to a military fortress in 401, and at the beginning of the 14th century the popes converted the structure into a castle, and the Papal state also used it as a prison. The Castel Sant’Angelo was made into a museum in 1901.
Here are some of the photos I took inside the Castel Sant’Angelo:
After visiting the castle, I headed for lunch, and had what probably was the most expensive roasted potatoes I’ve ever had, and then back to the hotel. I spent most of the afternoon in the rooftop garden, reading my book, which was very nice and relaxing.
In the evening I met up with a couple of bookcrossers for dinner, which was nice. They were an italian lady, and an American lady that have been living in Italy for the last 30 years. It was a fun evening, and I got back to the hotel fairly late (for me).
After all the walking around on Sunday, I decided that my Monday was going to be more quiet and relaxing. I started the day with reading in my room (I had a book I wanted to finish) before heading outside. I was mostly strolling around, and ended up at the Piazza Navona, which was actually quite nice with its fountains.
Piazza Navona was built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, in the first century AD. The Stadium was mainly used for athletic contests, and was a gift to the people of Rome from the Emperor Titus Flavius Domitianus.
One of the most dominent builtings at the piazza is the Sant’Agnese in Agone, a 17th-century Baroque church. There are three fountains in the piazza: Fontana del Moro at the southern end, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi at the centre, and Fontana del Nettuno at the northern end. Of these three, the Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, or the Fountain of Four Rivers, is probably the most famous one.
From Piazza Navona I continued my stroll, without any particular goal, and ended up at a shopping centre, Galleria Alberto Sordi, where you find the bookshop laFeltrinelli Libri e Musica. The bookshop is probably he largest shop in the centre, though I must admit I didn’t really go into any of the other shops. This bookshop even has books in English, as well as a few in german, Spannish, and French.
After browsing (and not buying any!) books, I headed back to the hotel, where I got a coffee, which I brought up to the rooftop garden, where I sat in the shadow and read for a while. I then went back to the room “too cool down” and do some more reading.
The afternook was then spent on an nearby restaurant, where I first ordered sparkling water and an espresso in Italian (go me!) and sat and read for a while before ordering dinner. When my dinner was consumed, I headed back to the hotel, and had an early night.
My main plan for this day was to visit the Pantheon, which is maybe 10-15 minutes of walking from my hotel. On my way I stopped to look at things, like the fountains I passed, some streetart, and so on. When I arrived at the Pantheon it turned out to be closed for tourists, as they were performing a Catholic service. I then decided to walk to see if I could find a café to sit down and read at.
Before I found a café, I found a gelateria. The gelaterias are something Italy is famous for: ice cream shops. I ended up buying a kiwi sorbet, which was very nice indeed. After consuming my sorbet, I eventually found a restaurant that served coffee, and I sat down, had an espresso and read.
After a while it was time to head back to the Pantheon, and after a bit of queueing, I was inside. “Pantheon” basically means “the temple of all gods”, but today it’s pretty much a Christian church (which I can’t help feeling a bit sad about). The building is one of the best preserved ancient buildings in Rome, and inside it’s circular. It’s very beautiful, and worth a visit if you’re in Rome.
Since the famous Trevi Fountain isn’t very far from the Pantheon, I headed there when I was done at the Patheon. This magnificent fountain was designed by the Italian architect Nicola Salvi, and is 26.3 metres high and 49.15 metres wide. The work on the fountain was started in 1732, but the architect Salvi died in 1751, before it was completed. When he died, the work was only half finished, so it was completed by Giuseppe Pannini in 1762.
Watching the fountain was a hot affair, so I decided to head back to the hotel to cool off. Having relaxed for a bit, I walked around a bit in the neighbourhood. The hotel is close to the river, so I walked along that, among other things.
Eventually it was time for dinner, and I decided to have a pizza marinara (pizza with just tomato sauce, and no cheese) and a beer at a restaurant not far from the hotel. I ended sitting there with my book for a good while, before doing a bit more walking around.
All the walking around actually made me quite tired, so I ended up creeping under my duvet and read, before I fell asleep and had an early night.
I left home at 11 yesterday, and headed to to airport. The travel from home to the airport of Rome wasn’t very eventfull. I had access to the SAS lounge at Oslo airport, so I had lunch there. I was fortunate enough to get plenty of sparkling water, vegan carrot and coriander soup (very tasty), and was able to relax before my last flight.
The flight from Oslo to Rome went well. A bit of turbulence at times, but not horrible. And after a bit I was able to have the whole three seats in my row by myself, as the row in front was empty, and the other two passengers moved there. Win-win!
I spent my flight mainly reading and looking out the window. Flying over the the Alps was quite spectacular, but it was also nice to see all the fields and cities. However, as said, most of the time was spent with my nose in my book.
Getting from the airport to the hotel was somthing I had expected to take maybe an hour. Boy, was I wrong! First I had to find the train station, which I first didn’t know where was. When I finally found it (after a lot of walking around), I needed a ticket. The lady behind the counter could have used a smiling course, she was really sour and seemed annoyed I didn’t knew Italian. Dear Italians, Italians isn’t a world language. English is. But I finally got a ticket, hurried to the platform, and the train just left as I tried to press the button on the door! Accurding to the website, another train were to leave shortly after. Not so. I had to wait for almost an hour, and when the train finally left, it was delayed.
I had to change to a tram after a while, which was actually surprisingly easy. However, the tram seemed very old, and there were absolutely no announcements. I ended up taking the tram too far, having to turn around and go back to the correct stop. At least I finally got off the right stop, then headed in the direction of the hotel. Yet again, I went too far, and got lost, but a very helful young man working at a restaurant managed to point me in the right direction, and after a while I finally managed to find my hotel.
Checking in went smoothly, and the guy at the desk was very helpful. My small single room wasn’t as nice as I had expected from a four star hotel (I should have known, it was very cheap). But the bathroom was nice, which was a huge plus, and clean. And the room is airconditioned.
I didn’t go out for dinner, as I was just too tired. I picked up a bottle of fizzy water, as I was thirsty after all the ordeal of getting to the hotel (it took me over three hours after we landed!) But I crept into bed, and it didn’t take too long before I fell asleep…
Many years have passed since we said goodbye to Harry Potter as a kid in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I was pretty excited when the new story was published on Sunday, and picked it up at the airpost on my way home from Oslo, where I had spent the week end.
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eight story, and based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. This isn’t a novel, though, but the script to a play that had its world premiere in London’s West End on 30 July 2016. The story is set almost 20 years after we last left Harry Potter & co., and we get to meet the children of Harry, Ginny, Hermione, Ron, and Draco. The grown ups have their jobs, and the kids go off to Hogwarts. They form friendships, some more surprising than others, and we also get an insight in their family relations and tentions.
The story is in some ways familiar to the previous Harry Potter, and even though this was a play, it was a fairly easy read. I enjoyed the story very much, and found it to be hard to put down (like the Harry Potter stories we know).
In my opinion, this is a “must read” for every Harry Potter fan, and if I am to be honest, I would be thrilled to read more books from this world! I am yet again sad to say goodbye to characters I have grown to love…
Not long ago I read The Fault of Our Stars by John Green. This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time, but it took me ages to get around to actually read it.
In many ways I enjoyed reading the book. It’s heart warming and sad at the same time, and you know from the very beginning that this is a story that can’t have a happy ending. I mean, with a character that has terminal cancer, it can’t be more obvious, right?
The only thing I didn’t like so much, was how religious it was. When i heard that john Green actually is a chaplain by training, it made perfect sense. Not being a Christian myself, I think the editor of his book could have asked hime to tone down on the religious aspect, as that would have made this a better book, in my very personal opinion. There were also a couple of insidents in the book I found a bit too “far out” to be realistic, without saying to much in case of spoiling the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.
That being said, I have no problem understanding why this was a big hit with the young adult audience. The book has been translated into several languages, and is adapted into a film (I must admit I actually liked the film better than the book – that doesn’t happen very often!) The book carries a certain grines of reality but also some hope. And you have a sweet little romantic love story as well.
All-in-all the book ended up being an “average read” for me, but would have no problem recommending it for a younger audience. I guess I’m not in the targeted audience anyway…