After completing mechanical engineering at McMaster University, Canada, four of my roommates and I went on a month long Euro-trip covering Switzerland, Spain, France, Italy, Netherlands and Germany. Since we all wanted to have a real backpacking experience, we booked best possible hostels, apartments and rental cars to cover as much of Europe as we possibly could.
After relaxing on sunny beaches of Barcelona, Spain, we travelled through Italy. Besides enjoying delicious pizzas, pastas and countless plates of tiramisu, we drove across Italy and explored Rome, Pisa, Florence, Cinque Terre and Lake Como.
On our very first day in Rome, we took a walking tour of the city and explored Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Roman Forum and the Coliseum. Our tour started form the vibrant Spanish Steps. Hundreds of tourists and locals were simply sitting on the steps and enjoying the energy of Rome. You can just sit there for an entire day and watch the world go by.
After learning about the historic significance of the massive staircase, we continued our tour towards the Coliseum through Trevi Fountain. At the Roman Forum, each scattered stone remain has its unique story to share. Our guide showed us pictures of the current Roman Forum and compared the remains with illustrations of what the Forum might have looked like in ancient times. From the illustrations, we can clearly visualize how the Forum must have been a significant part of day to day lives of ancient Romans. Did you know that this 250 meters x 170 meters site took over 100 years to excavate?
While we were in Rome, we also visited the beautiful Vatican City. Besides the gorgeous chapels and art galleries, my first surprise was that the Vatican City is a country, surrounded by Rome, Italy. In fact, it is the smallest country in the world with a population of around 1000 people. Luckily, we took a guided tour that helped us skip the longest lines and gave us an informative tour of the city. The astonishing ceilings of Sistine Chapel, the hallways and galleries of Vatican museums, and the beauty of St. Peter’s cannot be descried in words.