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If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram then you’ll know that I recently travelled to Rome. I honestly had the best time and I managed to fit a helluva lot in 3 days! Check out my travel diary for more pictures and what I got up to, but I wanted to write up this post because there are a few things I wished I’d known before travelling there.

P.S. Sorry in advance if some of them sound quite obvious!

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1. Do be wary of traffic. There is a sh*tload of traffic, like any other city in Europe, but it’s just something to be wary of because the Italians don’t really care much for traffic lights! We always just waited for the locals to cross the roads, and sort of ran across the road with them!

18789719_10155087903126357_1377867196_o2. Don’t buy water. Rome has water fountains all over the city and the water is so cold and actually really tasty, so don’t waste your money on water bottles! I did plenty of research and there is nothing wrong with the water so you won’t die – don’t worry! Also the big fountains are called ‘nasinis’ which translates to ‘big noses’ – how cute!

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3. Do travel on foot. Before heading to Rome, we did research on whether it was best to do a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, but we decided to walk around the city and let me just confirm that Rome is definitely a city best seen on foot. We walked around 25,000 steps everyday that we were there and it was just amazing stumbling across little roads that were so typically Italian, or discovering cute coffee shops or gelaterias. I wore my Converse but I would definitely recommend you pack your comfiest shoes/trainers/sandals!

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4. Don’t forget your ID. I know many people leave their passports in their hotel rooms for safety reasons, but I took my driving licence with me because you can get discounts off certain places if you can prove that you’re under 25 and living in the EU. Whilst we’re still in the EU, we might as well use the benefits! I know you can definitely use discounts for the Colosseum, and some museums as well, so try not to forget it!

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5. Do be respectful. If you do research before visiting Rome, which you probably will, you’ll know that you will have to take a cardigan or scarf with you when you visit certain places, such as the Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica, but there are also other churches that have beautiful interiors, and you’d feel pretty annoyed with yourself if you were refused entry. The general rule is ‘no knees, no shoulders, no midriff’ so just bear it in mind. The rule also applies to men, just in case you thought Italy was being sexist!

The other major rule is the no photography rule at the Sistine Chapel. You are warned plenty of times not to take pictures there and to be honest, the interior is so mesmerising that I didn’t even think of reaching for my camera!

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6. Don’t be attracted to restaurants near the big attractions. I know that when you get hungry you will most likely look for the nearest place and that’s totally understandable, but you will end up paying more. We always carried around granola bars and fruit so that we could snack if we got hungry whilst we were queuing or around the touristy areas, and then waited for lunch/dinner until we got further away from those areas.

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7. Do learn basic Italian. I do try and do this everywhere I visit, I find that it’s such a great thing to do because it makes life easier if you are able to order coffee and ask for directions. It’s also quite respectful and brings you closer to the culture. I found that it helped me so much, especially when solo travelling.

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Have you travelled to Rome before? Would you agree with my do’s & don’ts?

As you will have known from my previous blog post, I recently visited the beautiful San Francisco with my family. I say recently, it was more like a month ago and I still haven’t gotten around to uploading this blog post (shoot me now, worst blogger in the world!!!)


Even though we were only there for less than a week, it was one of the best trips I have ever had and I knew that I had to blog about it.

*N.B: Sorry in advance for some of the pics are a bit blurry – those pics were taken on my phone when my camera died.

Day One:

The flight to San Francisco was super long, and it was made longer by the fact that the time difference meant that I stayed up and watched films, and therefore was super tired by the time we landed which was 11pm UK time and 2pm SF time.. Big mistake!!!

So due to the time difference and the fact that we were super tired, we checked into our hotel, the Orchard Garden Hotel (super cute, located right next to Chinatown and within walking distance to pretty much everything you need!), changed our clothes and freshened up, then we went in search of some dinner.

Day Two:

After grabbing breakfast from a cute cafe across the road, we decided to spend the day exploring. I love being in charge on holiday and I made notes on the map that I was given from the hotel reception and immediately decided to see the famous Fisherman’s Wharf. As we headed out of the hotel, we walked the ten minutes to the closest Cable-Car stop.

We explored the area and as it was a beautiful sunny day, it was really enjoyable. We ate lunch at a place called the Fisherman’s Grotto, but I regret not trying the soup in the bread bowl! Walking down the pathways, you can see beautiful views of the infamous Alcatraz Island and clear blue waters.

After lunch, we continued down towards Pier 39 and watched a few live shows from street dancers. We slowly found our way to the Giardelli’s ice-cream parlour, which was amazing!

 






















Day Three:

If any of you guys have been to San Francisco or read up on it, you’ll know that there are certain things that you just have to do, and visiting Alcatraz Island was number one on my list!

Possibly my favourite day out of all the days of my trip! For anyone who knows me, criminals and prisons have always fascinated me since as long as I can remember. Once we had decided our destination was San Francisco, I had already decided that we had to visit the infamous Alcatraz Island, which if you haven’t heard about, was a prison island in the middle of the ocean, for prisoners who continuously were in trouble at other prisons. There was a famous quote, that if you ‘break the rules and you go to prison. You break the prison rules and you go to Alcatraz.’

So, we tried to get tickets to Alcatraz Island before we even left for San Francisco, but unfortunately they were all sold out and I was genuinely so upset. I did some research online and found that the ticket office have an extra 50 or so tickets that they reserve for walk-ups. I was so happy after reading that, and so we decided to wake up early and queue up.

We woke up at 5am (on holiday right, who even does that?!), left the hotel at 5.15 and arrived at the Island for 5.30am. It was ridiculous because we were the third group of people in the queue and the man operating the queue told us that we were definitely getting tickets!!! However, the box office didn’t open until 7.30am so I would recommend buying your tickets in advance because the chill of San Francisco, mixed with getting up so super early on holiday, could have been avoided. Although, we did save some money, as tickets were cheaper than they would’ve been online!

The actual island is so cool, there is a main walking tour, which is operated by headphones and is super interesting, as actual prisoners from the island are featured on there and they speak about their time on the island. There was also an ex-prisoner from the island who had written a book about his time on the island which was cool, and there were loads of exhibitions of the attempted escapes. I don’t want to give everything away because it’s a once in a lifetime experience, and if you’re like me, and you love prisons and criminals, you will have the best day ever!

 

Day Four:

The most famous attraction of San Francisco has got to be the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge. We took public transport towards the bridge, as we love using public and local transport wherever we go instead of taxi’s, because not only is it a lot more inexpensive, it is also a lot easier and actually feels like you’re integrating more with the locals.

We really wanted to cycle across the bridge but there are certain times that you can do that, so we had to stick to walking. It was a fairly long walk, and it took us about 30 minutes to walk one way, as we were taking photos and posing lol, and then on the way back it took us around 15-20 minutes.

I can’t even tell you the view that we were greeted with; it was surreal.

We also wanted to cycle through Golden Gate Park and check out the view from the Peak, but my Mum wasn’t feeling well so after the Golden Gate Bridge, we ended up going back to the hotel and just chilling out before dinner. It also turned out to be a good thing anyways, because there was too much fog on that part of the city, so our photos from the view from the Peak would’ve been foggy anyways!

 

 

Day Five:

Our last full day in San Francisco made me so sad, but when I was doing my research I found that Mrs Doubtfire was filmed in San Francisco and you can visit the house that the movie was filmed in. So we set out on public transport and then walked for about 15 minutes down the most American-y houses you’ve ever seen.

Seeing Mrs Doubtfire’s house was so amazing, it looked nearly the same as the movie (which we watched as soon as we came home, obvs), and there were stones outside the house with ‘RIP ROBIN WILLIAMS’ written on them *sob*.

After that we had lunch at a diner, and then we went to visit another famous attraction nicknamed ‘Crooked Street’, which is actually located on Lombard Street. It’s super cute but must be ridiculously hard to get out of because there are constantly cars coming down the road!

Aaaaaaand, that’s it! I hope you guys enjoyed this blog post, it was one of my favourite places to visit and I’m sure I’ll go back at some point in the future 🙂

If you have any questions, or you’ve been there before or if you’re going soon and want some recommendations, then leave me a comment below!

As always, thank-you for reading!

 

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