When in Rome...

Italy was a place I had dreamed of going since I was a little kid, and let me tell you… It definitely lived up to my expectation. I am without a doubt going back one day to do a trip through the whole country. But for now, let’s begin with Rome.

First of all, the feeling of Rome was just different than everywhere else I had been. The air felt different and the colours looked different, and I honestly felt like I was in a dream. Pastel colours filled every space from the stones on the ground, to the buildings around me, to the sky up above. Golden hour seemed to last for half the day, as the sun sparkled off of statues and windows. The sky, the air, everything was clear.

Places to See

There is so much to cover, let’s get to it.

Colosseum

Big. Broken. Beautiful. The Colosseum is one of Rome’s big landmarks and most well-known attractions. If you want to go inside, I recommend booking a tour as this will grant you fast track entry and your tour guide will be able to fill you with information and history you otherwise would not obtain. Take your time to walk around the structure and to visit its different levels.

Vatican City

While technically it’s own country, it is surrounded by Rome, and definitely worth checking out. Beautiful buildings, flowing fountains, museums to explore & if you’re lucky you may get a visit from the Pope while you’re there.

Ancient Rome – Roman Forum

The Roman Forum is surrounded by the ruins of ancient government buildings, right in the city centre of Rome. You can book packages to visit both the Colosseum and the Roman Forum together, and the experience and information you get is definitely worth your penny. You’ll see some of the most beautiful and intricate architecture here in the Roman Forum, and get to experience what was once the most important area in Rome.

Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is one of the most famous fountains in the world. It has been featured in many films, but most importantly, the Lizzie McGuire Movie. Legend has it that if you stand with your back to the fountain and throw a coin over your left shoulder, it will guarantee that you’ll return to the Eternal City – Rome.

 

Pantheon

Once a Roman temple & now a church, the Pantheon is one of Italy’s most well known structures and the most well kept Ancient Roman monument.

Spanish Steps & Piazza di Spagna

A beautiful look-out point and place to relax on a sunny day. Roman urban regulations have declared the steps as a forbidden place to sit and eat lunch, yet they are always crowded with people. The 1953 film, Roman Holiday, made the Spanish Steps known to Americans. The Spanish Steps were also featured in the Lizzie McGuire Movie :)

Piazza del Popolo

Translating to “People’s Square” in modern Italian. Filled with people, fountains, and statues, it is a lovely place to take your time and walk around. An Egyptian obelisk is placed right in the centre of the Piazza.

Altar of the Fatherland

A monument built in honour of the first King of Italy. The structure is a beautiful sight to see, covered in flags and statues, with a beautiful garden out the front.

Along with sight seeing, there is so much more to do while in Italy. Amazing restaurants are around every corner. Stuff your face with pizza and pasta, finish off every meal with a lovely dessert and try out every flavour of gelato. Walk through the streets and stop in the little shops along the way. Relax in parks and enjoy the beautiful flowers and plant-life that climb up the sides of buildings.

Rome is overflowing with beauty and culture. Take your time, take it in.

Enjoy your trip.

-K

Hermosa Barcelona

When I travelled to Europe, Barcelona was the most beautiful surprise. I knew the least about Barcelona out of all the cities I was visiting, but it soon became one of my favourites. The beaches, the buildings, the parks and the food!! Everything was beyond anything I could have imagined.

What You Should Know About Barcelona

Barcelona is filled with amazing and friendly people, but just like many other big cities, pickpocketing is an issue here. When travelling, I always bring a fanny pack with me to keep my wallet and other important things in. Fanny packs are great because they can go on your front so that you are always able to see them & if you have one thin enough you can tuck it under your shirt or sweater so that it can’t be seen by anyone else. You shouldn’t walk the streets feeling scared or on edge, but when you’re somewhere unfamiliar you should always be aware and prepared. I recommend getting one that’s compact but will still fit all of your essentials.

MoKo RFID Travel Belt

MoKo RFID Travel Belt

Getting around Barcelona is quite easy. The metro is convenient and affordable (2.20 euro for a single ride), especially if you buy a pass (10.20 euro for 10 rides). The metro can get you pretty much anywhere and everywhere in the city. When I went to Barcelona, I walked everywhere. Walking or biking is – in my opinion – the best option while you’re here, as there’s so much to see and the weather is almost always perfect.  

In Barcelona, people speak Catalan and Spanish. It’s always appreciated by the people who live there if you try to learn a few words or phrases in their language before you go or while you are there. Do your best, but don’t worry, English is also widely known and understood in Barcelona.

There is so much good food in Barcelona. I definitely recommend stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something you’ve never had before. There are so many amazing hole-in-the-wall restaurants that you’ll come across while walking through the streets. Try them!

 

What to Do and See in Barcelona

BEACHES!!! Go to any and all beaches that you can while you’re in Barcelona. They’re beautiful, warm, and filled with cool art and vendors. There’s always so much entertainment and activity going on around the beaches, making everyone’s experience unique. When I was there, I stood and watched as bubbles floated all around me & children jumped around trying to pop every last one. There’s something about bubbles and watching kids play with them, that makes you feel like a kid again too.

Parc de la Ciutadella was one of the most beautiful places I went while in Barcelona. Gold statues, fountains and palm trees. It felt like a different world. I think that’s why I loved Barcelona so much – it was unlike anywhere I had ever been before. Spend time walking through this park and you’ll see so much beauty. You’ll feel like royalty while you are here.

Park Güell is filled with beauty and excitement. The long hike up the hill to get there is definitely worth it. Wander the paths and the stairs throughout this beautiful park to see some of the most unique and interesting architecture in the city. Stop and listen to musicians as they fill the park with beautiful Spanish music. Park Güell has one of the best spots to stand and overlook the city. You’ll be able to see for miles & you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world.

Make seeing the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc one of your top priorities while you’re in Barcelona. Watch as the community and visitors come together to see the magical light show in the fountain. Feel yourself become mesmerized by the ever-changing colours and lights as they dance to the music. Seeing this show is absolutely free, which makes it even better!

Make time to explore the Ciutat Vello – the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. I recommend doing a Sandemans walking tour through this historically rich and beautiful area of Barcelona. There is so much to learn and see while you’re there, including some of the most detailed and inspiring architecture and art installations.

While you're in the Gothic Quarter, make sure you wander down Las Ramblas. It is a pedestrian street, lined with trees that stretches 1.2 kilometres. Filled with cafes, restaurants and souvenir vendors, you’ll be sure to find something you love while walking through.

Catalonia Square is a large city square, marking the centre of the city. From this point you can access some of the cities biggest and most important streets. If you’re lucky, and event may be held in the square while you are there. I was lucky enough to be there for Fiesta Nacional de España – National Day of Spain. People filled the square and lines the streets wearing red and yellow with flags on their backs like capes. Music filled the streets, parades marched through and people gathered around to watch dancing and live entertainment. It was a beautiful and exciting day to be in the city.

Sagrada Familia is a beautiful, unfinished Roman Catholic church designed by Antoni Gaudi. It’s massive, beautiful and full of character. If you don’t have the time to go in, just seeing it from the outside is amazing.

Down every street and around every corner, you will find something beautiful and interesting to see or do in Barcelona. Take your time, soak it all in and remember these moments.

Once you go, you’ll never want to leave.

-K