I won’t lie to you guys, our first day in Rome was far from relaxing. From the chaotic organisation of our travel to the hotel to getting lost heading to (and even more lost heading from) the Baths of Caracalla, I can’t say our first impression was the best one.
I’ll mostly put it down to the horrific weather we had – from the second we set foot on Roman soil, the heavens had opened to drown our holiday spirit. I’ll add in a teaspoon or two of the stress of travelling to that mix as a disclaimer as to why our trip to Caracalla could have been better!
The Baths of Caracalla, or Terme di Caracalla is an entirely open-air tourist attraction, as you might expect. It’s not the place to go when it’s pouring down with rain and you’ve been up since 3am UK time. Just putting that out there, in case you feel like giving it a go. Save this one for a sunny day where you’re well-rested. Oh, and definitely plan how you’re going to travel back if like us your hotel is quite far away.
Caracalla is located just outside of central Rome as far as we could tell, so after attempting to walk there and ending up pretty lost, we ended up getting a taxi. The taxi driver revelled in laughing when I tried to explain where we needed to go, and ended up pointing at the name of the place on the Rome app I’d downloaded (highly recommended by the way).
The attraction itself is pretty simple to navigate, and if you’re interested in Roman architecture, it’s a must. However, there isn’t all that much signage to explain what you are seeing, so it’s worth brushing up on its history or getting the audio guide accompaniment.
It was still fascinating to look around despite the heavy downpour and lack of context!
Ahead of our trip to Rome, we pre-booked tickets to Caracalla online as we weren’t sure how busy it would get. To be honest, it’s so out of the way that even in the height of summer I doubt you’d struggle to get in. On the first Sunday of every month, it’s free entry instead of the usual 10 Euros which was a bit frustrating as if we’d have known we’d have gone on the Sunday!
After looking around, we decided to attempt to walk back to the hotel, but with the heavy downpour and confusion, after a few minutes walking, we headed back to the Baths to ask the staff to order us a taxi.
Our stress levels were pretty high (getting lost in a foreign country is not exactly my favourite thing to do in the rain), and the staff were frustratingly useless. They gave us a number which we couldn’t get through to and said they were ‘unable’ to make the call themselves. Sigh.
Fast forward around 3 hours later, we had walked back to the hotel and were soaked through and pretty miserable. Liam felt like he was getting a cold, and my body had pretty much given up. We hadn’t eaten since around 8am on the plane, and so we weren’t in the mood to travel far for dinner.
We ended up eating at the hotel restaurant which was really disappointing food that I barely touched due to feeling so drained from the walk back. It’s a real shame that the food was a let down as the staff were so friendly and I hope we didn’t offend them.
Needless to say after the whole ordeal I slept well that night!
I promise our trip does get better – I think it’s important to be honest about our experience (hopefully someone may learn from our mistakes!), and I’ll be sharing the rest of what we got up to in a few upcoming posts so stay tuned 🙂