PICTURESQUE - There are many things to see and do in historic Rome.

PICTURESQUE - There are many things to see and do in historic Rome.

Continuing on a European adventure

Endless opportunities to explore all kinds of both modern and historical sites

  • Sep. 29, 2016 2:00 p.m.

BY SUSAN WALKER

If you have been following along with the last two editions, you will recall that Don and I had a chance to sail on the beautiful Celebrity Reflection from Athens to Istanbul in June.

Our disembarkation from Istanbul was surprisingly smooth and we were soon greeted by our tour guide who escorted us to our lovely hotel before we headed out for a walk to the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar.

Our tour guide directed us into the Blue Mosque where I was required to wear a robe that covered me from my shoulders right down to my feet. From the Blue Mosque we walked across the square to the Hagia Sophia where the history in this one building was incredible.

A year ago the line up to go in and see this spectacular building would have taken us a couple of hours. However, in the light of what had been happening with tourism, we were able to walk right in and spend all the time we wanted touring this magnificent building. From here we continued down to the Grand Bazaar while our tour guide filled us in on what it was like to live in Turkey especially Istanbul and the changes he had seen with the new government. Our guide took us to one of the oldest Turkey coffee shops and showed us the proper way to drink Turkey coffee while at the same time in a soft voice told us more of what was really happening in Turkey. Having a private guide really gives you the insight of what life is like. He recommended we book a private guide to the Topkapi Palace for the next day, which he arranged for us and made sure we had his card in case we needed him for everything.

Our next day was on our own and we had time before our tour of the Topkapi Palace to jump on the hop on hop off bus so we could see the rest of this amazing city. The route took us over the bridge to Asia which is still Istanbul and then it turns around and comes back to Europe. Along this route we stopped off at the Egyptian Spice Market and once again immersed ourselves into the sights, sounds of this amazing city.

The next morning, we had another tour guide pick us up and with the driver drove us to the airport. Our guide escorted us all the way to our check in and once we were confirmed with boarding pass in hand he bid us farewell. From here we were flying Turkish Airlines for our next four days in Rome.

After a quick flight to Rome we once again were met by a private driver to take us to our hotel in Rome. Our hotel was in the same piazza as the Pantheon. When we checked into our room we were delighted to open our window and look right down into the Piazza and have the Pantheon right in front of us.

From this hotel we had about a 10 minute walk to the Colosseum and with our front of the line pass, we were able to walk right into the Colosseum. If you are not going on a tour group, this is certainly the way to not waste your time standing in line.

Our next morning, we were happy to find out that we were the only ones on our walking tour of Rome. We saw all the highlights The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain ending at the Piazza Navona. After a quick lunch we met up and had another skip the line pass of the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel. The rest of our days were spent on our own time and due to our location of our hotel we walked to all kinds of amazing piazzas and found lots of great wine places to sit and enjoy the scenery.

The next day was my highlight to finally see Pompeii and to show Don the Amalfi Coast. As with most of our tours we were fortunate to be by ourselves with our own guide. Pompeii was very interesting and while it did not live up to what I was expecting it is certainly great to mark another destination off the bucket list. From there we drove the Amalfi Coast and I found it as spectacular the second time as I had the first.

Our final day we decided to leave it free so we could experience Rome on our own and once again we purchased a hop on hop off pass. We ended our day at

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer down to 73 active cases of COVID-19, lowest since early March

The Central zone has 253 active cases of the virus

The Sylvan Lake Gulls show off the home jerseys (white) and their way jerseys at the Gulls Media Day on June 17, before the season opener. Following the media day, the team took to the field for their first practise. (Photo by Megan Roth/Sylvan Lake News)
Sylvan Lake Gulls ready to throw first pitch as construction continues

The Gulls inaugural season kicks off June 18 with a game against the Edmonton Prospects

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases attributed to the highly contagious Delta variant grew in Canada this week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s public health agency reports spike in confirmed cases of Delta variant

More than 2,000 cases of the variant confirmed across all 10 provinces and in one territory

The federal government says it wants to ban most flavoured vaping products in a bid to reduce their appeal to youth. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Craig Mitchelldyer
Health Canada proposes ban on most vaping flavours it says appeal to youth

If implemented, the regulations would restrict all e-cigarette flavours except tobacco, mint and menthol

The Montreal Police logo is seen in Montreal on Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Some Quebec politicians are calling for an investigation after a video was released that appears to show a Montreal police officer with his leg on a young Black man’s neck during an arrest. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Probe called for after video appearing to show Montreal officer’s knee on Black youth’s neck

Politicians call for investigation after clip evokes memories of George Floyd incident

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read