Travel | The Pantheon and Spanish Steps
Day 2 in Rome. My last Travel Tuesday post highlighted some of the amazing architecture and history you can find in this magical city. Our second day was similarly filled with awe-inspiring locations, even if a bit smaller in scale.
We started this day a little later, because jet lag is a real thing. I forgot to mention in my first post that my husband, Jay, and I had opted for a hostel while in Rome to save money. Apparently, while planning our travel, we forgot that we're now "old" and, for us, hostels are now less party-hardy and more "Oh my god, I can't do this shit anymore". This living situation did not help with the exhaustion from travel and an adventurous first day.
I'm going to take you on a quick tangent, because sometimes side stories are the best ones to learn from when traveling. I was so out of it our first night that I ended up locking us out of our own storage locker in the hostel. Yep, ALL of our stuff (including my photo gear), locked away in a very secure metal bin that now also contained the keys for said lock with no way to retrieve them. After a moment of sheer panic (which is 100% amplified when it's 11pm at night but it feels like early morning, and you don't know what's up or down), I took an embarrassing walk to the front desk where the lovely lady there took out what felt like the most conspicuous pair of bolt cutters ever and walked me back to our room amongst many stares. Fortunately, she was able to free our things from my terrible mistake. She was also kind enough to give us a new lock for free, and handed me the now busted lock saying "Souvenir!" while I blushed harder than I ever have in my life.
Moral(s) of the story: If you're going to stay in a hostel in Rome, Yellow is a good choice, because they are kind and understanding beings. More importantly, NEVER lock your keys in your storage unit at a hostel; check that you have that shit on you before you close things up. Or, you know, don't stay at a hostel as a 30-something year old who can't handle staying up past 8pm, and therefore can't function properly after 9pm ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
ANYWAY, back to the main plot here. Being the sleepy, slightly disoriented pair we were, we decided to start the day with a very late breakfast. Fortunately for us, there was a well-rated place across the street from us called Trattoria Pizzeria La Tavernetta. Our friends, Nicole and Julian, met us there for what turned out to be really delicious food to get us going for the day.
After our little brunch, we headed out for The Pantheon. For this particular visit, we opted not to have a guide, so my knowledge will be limited to what we overheard and read at the time and, well, the internet.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple and now an in-use church. It has the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.[source] There's an oculus at the center of the ceiling that opens up to the sky, and creates this otherworldly light inside that is truly breath-taking. It was raining the day we visited, and this somehow made it even more magical.
Inside, as you walk around the perimeter, you'll find an altar, pews, and various historical and religious objects. Admittedly, I gleaned very little information about any of these, but they were all beautiful and added to the overall enchanting atmosphere.
If you ever get a chance to visit the Pantheon, sign the guest book! It's a little thing, but it sure felt special to have our names in that book with thousands of others from all over the world.
After we left the Pantheon, we stopped for another bite to eat and to plan what to do with the rest of our day. A few ideas had been thrown around, but we had largely left this day open. I highly recommend this when traveling: don't plan every moment. Especially if you are spending time in a city - you can have so many adventures just by walking around and finding things.
Like this column, which I honestly still have no information about, but was impressive nonetheless, and felt picture-worthy.
Ultimately, we knew the Spanish Steps were nearby (though not as close as originally thought), and the day was getting late. Sunset was bound to happen shortly after we got there, which seemed like it could be perfect. And it didn't disappoint.
Climbing those steps in that golden light was so worth all the miles walked that day*.
Making it to the very top of the Spanish Steps after all that walking: also 100% worth it. Because just look at that view.
All in all, our second day in Rome was a lot more relaxed, yet just as inspiring as the first. I look forward to sharing our third and last day in Rome with you next time, where we visit Vatican City.
*For my traveling photographer friends (because I spent weeks researching this before finally buying something): I highly recommend the Lowepro Pro Tactic 450 pack for traveling with your gear. It's small enough for carry-on, but big enough for one body and several lenses. Couldn't have done this trip without it.