I can’t believe how long it’s been since I did this. It’s been one crazy summer for me and boy has it just flown right in! The first three weeks of my summer was spent in the UK mainly celebrating my younger brother’s wedding. It was an absolutely amazing time but an extremely busy one also and the days just sort of blended into one another with us all busy running around for all the wedding events. I didn’t really get a chance to do normal things like sit in my PJs with my sister watching endless TV or lay down with my head in my mummy’s lap. That one I’m really gutted about to be perfectly honest.
All in all it was an amazing three weeks with my husband joining me for the final week of my trip. After the wedding events were over we had one day to recover (it really wasn’t enough time whatsoever) before it was time to head off for a week’s holiday in Italy on the way back to Dubai.
Now, our summer holiday plan was something we had started working on months ago and the idea of going straight after the wedding was something we hummed and hawed about for weeks before we booked up. Sadly, Atteeq only gets a limited number of holidays from work a year and he had already used up the majority of this year’s holidays for two sibling weddings between us so we didn’t have many options in terms of the timing of our summer holiday. So, when we booked our flights to Glasgow we booked via KLM (they were actually a really good airline) which meant we stopped in Amsterdam on the way to Glasgow for a couple of hours but on the way back we changed the stopover to 8 days ahead instead. This actually cost the exact same as the two hour stopover and it meant that we were able to get very reasonable flights (also with KLM) from Amsterdam to Rome. Planning the trip in this way meant that rather than going back to Dubai and then going to Italy (much more expensive) we did the hour long flight from Glasgow to Amsterdam and then boarded another flight for Rome which was about 3 hours or so. This meant our flights to Italy and back to Amsterdam only cost us around 150GBP. The flights to Dubai and back were already booked anyway so because of this we saved a bit of money and booked better quality hotels for the entire trip.
Having said this, I must say I don’t know if I would do another holiday on the way back to Dubai again for two reasons. Firstly, we were absolutely shattered from the wedding period and at that point felt like we would have much rather have had another week with family. Secondly, when we got to Rome we were so homesick (this always happens after we leave family) for the first day or two and just in general felt a little down after the high that was Armaan and Saarah’s wedding! Nevertheless, by like day 3 we were absolutely loving our holiday and were glad that we did it.
Why have I just written such a long paragraph on the logistics of our flight bookings and timings? Well, a lot of people don’t seem to realise that if you book a flight that is a stopover flight anyway then you can extend the stopover for a week or even two weeks to explore there or onwards even. For example, the Emirates flight to Islamabad and Lahore from Glasgow isn’t a direct flight and stops off in Dubai anyway so say you wanted to fly into the Maldives (only 3 hours from Dubai) on the way back from a trip to Pakistan you could extend your stopover to a week instead of the usual few hours and book a flight from Dubai to Maldives or wherever else you wanted. It ends up working out very well financially, however, be aware these types of stopover holidays are a bit of a pain when you have a lot of luggage etc. and are kind of tiring but while you’re young you can do all these things eh! I know some people reading this might think this is common sense but a lot of girls were really surprised at the whole stopping in Amsterdam and going to Italy from there so thought I would share this little money saving tip. Would I do it again? I would definitely but instead of on the way back to Dubai I would do it on the way Glasgow or London so that at the end of the week long holiday we have our whole family to look forward to. This time that just wasn’t possible because of the dates of the wedding.
Right, how about I get to the actual Italy part? So, we decided that we would break up our week long trip in Italy in three parts with three nights in Rome, one night in Florence and two nights in Venice. We started off in Rome then took trains to Florence and Venice with a final flight from Venice back to Amsterdam to then head off to Dubai. This worked the best geographically because each place was between and hour and a half to two hours away from each other by train. More on the trains in my next post!
Where did we stay in Rome?
We used Booking.com for all of the hotels that we booked and honestly I really can’t fault them. I’ve been using them for years and there’s no other website I’d use for booking hotels to be honest! For Rome, we booked Hotel Degli Artisti which was just a short walk away from the Spanish Steps.
Some positives to note about this hotel:
-Super bright and airy, very modern and new with a nice lift. I say this because many hotels in Rome have very old, rickety and tiny lifts that you do not want to be in.
-The hotel had 3 pin socket points! A small point but very handy if you forget your two pin plugs. Don’t forget them though because our other two hotels were the European plugs and it was a constant battle between charging phones and wanting to plug in straighteners, the camera charger…you get the drift.
-The location was just everything. Most of the main sights are walking distance other than the Colosseum and the Vatican but there is a metro stop just a short walk away. The local Sephora is maybe a 4 minute walk away. You’re welcome.
-There’s an amazing rooftop that we sat on our second evening with a great view.
The breakfast is pretty basic and seems even more basic when you compare it to the breakfasts in the UAE with live omelette stations and what have you. Expect some fruit, some random pieces of bread and some cereal. That’s your lot! If your hotel doesn’t include breakfast then it might be an idea to just eat breakfast out before you begin your day. We added it on thinking it would be useful eating in the hotel each day and then starting the day but in hindsight I can’t remember how much extra we paid for the breakfast but it was so not worth it! It was the same in all of the hotels that we stayed in even though they were 5* so we realised it was just the standard in Italy.
On our first evening we just explored as we got into Rome around 6pm, had some dinner and went to bed so we would be bright eyed and bushy tailed for the next day. We were still cream crackered from the wedding so had a good number of zzzzzzz’s that night!
A massive FYI by the way!
According to Italian law you are not allowed an iron in your hotel room. LIKE WHAT?! We thought reception were joking at first when we asked them to give us an iron and were told sorry we aren’t allowed to give you one because it’s the law. So, if like me you are OCD about wearing ironed clothes then please take your own small iron with you if you’re heading to Italy because it was a pain having to give things in and then waiting for them to be ironed by the hotel staff. I ended up using my GHD’s the majority of the time to iron my tops and stuff. Desperate times! I also ended up not wearing a lot of the outfits I had bought for this holiday because they were so creased that the GHD was no good and I’d realise I wanted to wear the super creased item in the evening when the ironing facilities weren’t available. Euch.
We spent most of the day visiting the Colosseum which is arguably one of the most famous attractions in Roma! After this you can walk over to the Palatino Hill and the Roman Forum where you will see landmarks such as the Arch of Constantine and also a bird’s eye view of the Colosseum from the top of the hill. We spent most of the day in this area. You could do more but we were super tired and ended up going back to the hotel to relax, shower and head out again for our two year wedding anniversary dinner! J Yes, we spent our two year wedding anniversary in Rome and it was amazing! Pictures coming up soon, I promise. This blog post is so long…Rome is absolutely heaving in the summer, is VERY hot and the queues for the Colosseum were insanely long. My advice is go for opening time but even then the lines are so long. Thankfully I had a special QR code through Booking.com which meant I could go to a much smaller queue and get tickets there using my special QR code. You can also book your tickets online before you head. My advice is if you’re going to the Colosseum and the Vatican then definitely book in advance. The Colosseum you will get into if you haven’t booked but prepare to stand in the scorching heat for hours on end. The Vatican genuinely gets booked up in advance and we tried booking the night before and couldn’t get anything so we ended up missing that out this trip. You can of course go with a tour guide but prepare to pay A LOT more if you go for this option.
Right, enough chatter! I think I have covered most of the main practical things I wanted to cover about heading to Rome.
LOVE this from ASOS! http://www.asos.com/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=7033547
They only seem to have a size 10 left girls!
Shoes – Charles & Keith
Watch – Daniel Wellington
I mentioned on Instagram how I have been buying midi dresses from the Asos Tall section and they literally end up being ankle length on me which is perfect if you’re wanting longer dresses without the hassle of having to wear tights. Such a simple idea but wish I had thought of it sooner!
Top – Boohoo
Jeans – Forever 21
Slides – A random shop from Deira (total Miu Miu rip offs but quite good ones I’d say!)
Bag – Tory Burch
Choker – AldoThe street vendors selling roses at the Spanish Steps do totally hound you and it can get a little annoying but of course when the husband said yeah okay I will take one I was beyond delighted and chose a white one since it matched my outfit better.We watched the sun set on the Spanish Steps which is absolutely amazing and just sat on the steps for a good hour people watching. I’d really recommend this! We finished off with dinner and then went for a walk to the Trevi Fountain which again is a must and I think we went there nearly every day because again it was walking distance!
Be prepared for A LOT of walking in Rome. Wear sensible shoes! The roads and streets are cobbled and there is just endless walking everywhere so your feet do end up wrecked. I had sensible shoes on most of the day but changed for photos. I was also carrying a floral backpack most of the day which didn’t go with my outfit whatsoever but it was handy for my camera etc. and again I just took it off for photos. I’m a pro style blogger/traveller now I tell you!
I’m going to keep this short and sweet and show you my outfit. We literally went to 6 different landmarks on this day using our trusty map including the Pantheon and the Vittoriano building. I know I haven’t gone into detail about every single thing that we did but genuinely you will get a map in your hotel reception which will have 3 day itineraries all planned out on there for you. It’s one of those cities you can just get lost in and can decide each morning what you want to see next but just be prepared by booking the Colosseum and the Vatican tours in advance as I said previously. The rest you can figure out yourself because that’s the whole fun of Rome!
Day 3 outfit:Top – Asos Maternity (yes I buy things from Maternity by just going down a size when they are super cheap like this top which was like 4 quid?!…I am on it with the Asos tips tonight I tell you!)
LOVE this from ASOS! http://www.asos.com/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=7123772
Sorry, this one seems to be out of stock 😞
Trousers – Zara
Shoes – Primark
Watch – Daniel WellingtonOverall, Rome was absolutely amazing and definitely our favourite city out of the three that we went to! We definitely would have liked more time there. I would recommend between 4-5 days in Rome as there is enough to see. It’s very busy this time of year so maybe choose a time that isn’t so busy. One other thing to note is that halal food is very difficult to come across in Rome and is virtually non-existent other than dodgy kebab shops. No halal fine dining Italian places sadly but the food in Italy is AMAZING. The best pasta and pizza you will ever eat but you would expect that in Italy. Wouldn’t you?
Arrivederci for now ladies! In my next post I will talk about getting the train from Rome to Florence and how you can cover Florence in one day.
Hope you enjoyed this one!
P.S. it’s my sister Madiha’s birthday today so so wish her a happy birthday and tell her I sent you!