Rome daytrip – must do by night

Rome, a city that does not require much explanation…

Some practical things:

  • From airport Ciampino to the center you can find direct shuttle busses. If you’re with a group, it’s a good idea that someone queues to get a ticket, and the other ones go directly to the bus terminal since it can become real chaos there! The departure times can vary, in the end it does not really matter from which company you buy a ticket from, since they will lie about these times anyhow.
  • In the city, there are 2 main subway lines. You can buy a ticket from local newspaper stands for 1,5 euro. With that ticket you can travel for 100min.
  • To get back to the airport, for example fiumicino, you can take an (expensive) train or cheap direct shuttle bus for around  7 euro. The busses all leave around the bus terminal (depending on the company on another side)

In Rome, you will find that like in most big European cities, people will try to sell you everything and hang around bus stations and big landmarks.

The ‘big’ selling item was the ‘selfie stick’, a pole with a mount for your smartphone… very popular last year in Asia, and now dominating Europe.

For dayvisits, many people buy one of the combi tickets. However, when talking to people I noticed many of them actually have to do a longer queue as the ones buying a direct ticket. A example ticketprice for the colloseum is 16 euro / adult (same for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel combi)

The colloseum is an amazing architecture, using an audioguide makes doing a self-tour interesting. There is also some explanation on the walls, but it can be convenient when you can walk around the circle in the meanwhile.

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Another highlight is the Sistine Chapel. You can get into the Vatican till 4pm (it closes at 6pm, so there is always enough time). The queue to get into the Vatican can become large, however do not believe the people trying to sell you ‘fast pass tickets’ since these are highly overrated in price.

Before getting into the Sistine Chapel, you can wander around the wonderfull galleries and museums of the Vatican. It’s incredible what they have all collected over the years.


In the Sistine Chapel, it’s forbidden to take pictures. The reason is a commercial deal made during the restorations. But of course, there is always a way as you can see below 🙂

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Most people pay a visit during the day, but for photographers it’s a paradise by night!

A very interesting (night) itinary is found on TripAdvisor, the Rome City Guide.  This tour takes about 2 hours.

  • Piazza San Pietro
  • Castel Sant Angelo
  • Ponte Sant Angelo
  • Piazza Navona
  • Piazza della Rotonda / Pantheon
  • Fontana di Trevi
  • Piazza Venzia
  • Campidoglio
  • Fori di Triano
  • Colosseum
  • Forum Romanum

Pictures taken from these places can be found below, except for Fontana di Trevi (was closed for construction)




Singapore – Arrival

Just arrived in Singapore around 11pm local time,

Right after customs (free visum), it’s a good idea to get some liquor as the taxes in the city are extremly high! To give some examples, here you can get absolute vodka for 26 singaporese dollar or bombay gin sapphire  (1l) for 25 dollar. A real bargain for here! There are of course some limits to avoid abuse, for example you cannot arrive from Malaysia (to avoid smuggling). Without realizing I exceeded the amount because of all the duvels and kriek I’m carrying as presents… but they didn’t notice any of it 😉


My first impression was the kindness of all the people here! Including no hassling of taxi drivers or travel agencies.

There are several ways to quickly get to the city center. You can take a shuttle bus for around 6 dollar or just take a subway for 2,50. The last subway connection is around 11:16pm. The shuttle bus agents are even very honest by stating that the subway is cheaper if you ask :). The (very modern) connecting network is very good from what I can tell right now.

Before boarding the subway, I had issues at the ticket machine using 50 dollar bills, a random stranger offered to give me help and payed for me (which made me feel very uncomfortable, he even refused to accept some Belgian chocolate!). It just confirms that first impression 🙂

On the subway, I got to talk to a retired couple (they looked very young! But it’s Asia right…). Apparantly this week the first minister died at the age of 91. He was the godfather of what is singapore today, the full week Singapore will be mourning.

Another fun fact: people often don’t have car, since it can easily cost 40.000 dollar a year (depening on the CO2 emission). Buying a car will cost you at least another 40k for a simple model.

2 more full days to come!


My 11 basic travel tips

To kick-off this blog, I would like to share several basic travel tips based on my personal experience from the past. I’ve wrote these down as they came to my mind, another list might follow in the future. I hope it can inspire you!

  1. Make a checklist and pack at least 1 day before. That way you can sleep over it 🙂 It will make you feel comfortable that you have everything you need, and if not you can still buy it. Buying stuff for most things can also be done at the country of destination. You can also make a template out of your checklist, so it can be re-used for other travels.
  2. Make copies of all your documents, and keep those copies separated. Same goes for your cash & plastic money, spread & hide it. Money for example you can put under your shoe soles. About making copies, it’s not a bad thing to give all your accounts & passwords to someone you trust… just in case. Personally I’ve distributed everything in my family, and they need to contact each-other to match all the information.
  3. Get guidebooks, apps, etc… when still at home, download some specific apps for the cities / countries you’re going to visit. It can help you plan during your transportations and dead moments. Also, it can be wise to ‘cache’ for example google maps of that region, it helped me a lot in the past to find addresses. Keep in mind: some (physical) guidebooks you cannot get where you are travelling, and they can become bulky. When using apps, your battery drains. So think about getting a battery pack (compensates for the bulky weight of a book). I personally love Lonely Planet & TripAdvisor.
  4. Earn miles! Keep your (physical) boarding passes to be sure, or make a picture of them as soon as you receive them. Earning miles can help you to get free flight segments (at a fixed number of miles) and for example free extra luggage, and if you fly frequently enough, upgrades :). There are multiple alliances, and you should choose a specific mileage program for multiple airlines. Personally I have Miles & More (Lufthansa, Star Alliance), Flying Blue (Air France, Skyteam), Executive Club (British Airways, OneWorld) and Etihad Guest.
  5. Do couchsurfing (! One of my highest recommendations. Don’t be mistaken, it’s not about accommodation, it’s a full experience. It will enrich your travels & mindset. Be kind to your hosts, bring them for example a gift from your country. For this reason, there is no age limit on surfing. This also benefits a lot if you’re travelling alone. You can also find couchsurfing events in the big cities, where you’ll find a mix of locals and travelers.
  6. Find out if you have (old) friends abroad. Maybe a bit strange since travelling is mostly about new experiences, but if a friend now lives abroad (short or long while) it’s good to stay connected and there is no better way to just pay them a visit! They might understand the best the cultural differences if you’re from the same country and offer specific help if highly needed.
  7. Just as with your own country, you can find many discounts on sites as groupon. This is particularly interesting now as a traveler since it offers serious discount accommodations, events and amusement tickets.
  8. Getting advice from locals. Just be careful who you ask: know that for some information providers, when asking for information, some people will only refer to those places they have partnership with. This way they can get commission or referral fees (or something else in return). It doesn’t hurt to double check things before booking. When getting advice before your travel, an obvious idea is to get to know whom from your friends did part of your itinerary (just don’t forget to do so in time).
  9. Almost every big city has ‘free tours’. These tours operate on voluntary basis and on tips. It’s often not just any classic tour, depending on the city you’ll hear not so common anecdotes, things that came in the local newspaper, etc… Be kind to your guide 🙂
  10. Before flying, think about the airport screening. It can be more comfortable to avoid wearing lots of things such a watch, belt and shoes with metal. I put these things in my backpack before arriving at the screening.
  11. Enjoy and be open minded! Don’t plan everything as it will only limit you. Be kind to people and the world will be beautiful!
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