After the 21 hour bus ride we finally arrived in Rome. The first difference I could already notice whilst being in the bus was of course the landscape. Some small hills and more and larger pieces of nature.
Another difference that you could easily notice was that Rome is crowded, busy city. The most obvious was the traffic. You hear a car honk here and there and the car stream never seems to stop.
The first square:
As you can partly see in the last photograph, architecture is more important in Italy than it is to us. They have different standards when it comes to architecture, higher standards. What was also noticeable was that the people in Rome are still quite religious. There were a lot of churches and chapels. We visited some of them because of the history behind them but also the architecture. The most obvious example is the Sistine chapel, which I found one of the most impressive buildings we visited.
The dome in the Sistine chapel:
The inside of the Sistine chapel:
The view from the top of the dome:
What I also found impressive was the 3d ceiling painting in a different church. The pillars around the ceiling had some parts of the art piece in actual 3d statues then it transitioned into a 2d painting. They did that intelligently and it looks beautiful.
Some more subtle differences:
The clothing is more formal. You won’t see an Italian man walking around with shorts on the streets. We also experienced this ourselves as we had to wear formal clothing for one day.
Then the traffic lights. In Rome it went green for about 3 seconds and then it went to orange instantly. Sometimes the times would say you had 30 seconds left to cross the street and sometimes you just had to hope for the best. After the orange light, without blinking it instantly switches to red again. I am used to traffic lights that flicker just before switching to red, so that you know how much time you still have left.
What I found the most interesting was Pompeii. I enjoy history and I know some things about the ancient Romans so a city that has basically been standing there for about 2000 years is awesome to visit.
Another thing was that there were Service costs in restaurants. The price you saw on the menu could be quite different from what it actually costs. This could be because Rome is a touristic city but I found that quite weird.
Then the Italian cuisine. The Italians are well-known cooks and you can surely notice this. The pizzas were not that special but the pasta and other dishes tasted extraordinarily good. Their eating habits are also different from ours. I noticed they had dinner quite late and took their time for it. We started having dinner between 8pm and 9pm every day.
The trip went quite smoothly the only thing I found unclear sometimes, especially in the beginning, was when you had to get up in the morning. I remember there was posted in the WhatsApp group when we had to get up but the message was quite late so no one in our room read it in time. The rest of the organisation went well. The meeting points and times were clear and we visited what we wanted ( with some improvisation but that’s a given on a trip like this).
Overall, the Rome trip is another voyage I will never forget. The interesting stories, the impressive buildings and the nice group.