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Romeing Tours Review – Vatican City

Our Vatican City Romeing Tours Review. Make sure you check them out next time you are in Rome because the sandwich alone is worth it!

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St Peters Basilica, Romeing Tours

What do Zac Effron, the Pope, women pretending to be men and ancient history all have in common? Not a lot you might reply. Unless of course you had just been on a Romeing Tour through the streets of Rome and inside the holiest of holy’s, the Vatican City. This is our Romeing ours review of the Vatican City.

Due to our total ignorance and lack of historical knowledge of the Vatican City we decided that we really should take a tour to appreciate the wonders of the smallest country in the world. It’s even located within the city limits of Rome. Don’t bother with your passport though as you won’t be getting a stamp on your way in.

St Peters Basilica, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: St Peters Basilica

Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours has been around for over 10 years and has been designed for budget backpackers in mind. The Vatican City tour is only 20 Euros and is pretty damn good value for a tour advertised as lasting 4/5 hours. Ours took over 6 hours so be prepared for a long day.

Travel Tip: The heat really sucks it out of you in summer so bring plenty of water and sunblock as you will need it.

There is quite a bit of walking but it’s done at a very slow pace with lots of breaks. My first question (of course) was “what about lunch?!” But do not fear as they take you to an “insanely bad-ass” sandwich shop along the way. And we can vouch for how bad-ass they really were!

A-ma-zing.

Best Rome Sandwiches, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: Worth it just for the badass sandwich

Romeing Tours Vatican City Tour

To keep your attention, the guides weave a masterful tale of intrigue, history, humour and pop culture to create a really upbeat and humorous account of the history of the Vatican City. I am sure they have all been trained as comedians and I actually haven’t laughed that much in so long!

This was actually awesome as a lot of the jokes made references to people or characters I know. Justin Bebier, Katniss Everdeen and of course the Twilight characters were all mentioned. As I am a total book nerd I loved it!

Our tour started with our Canadian guide, Justin, embarking on an overview of how the Vatican City came about. As well as some really interesting information on Rome’s history in general. Usually I zone out after about ten minutes of constant information overload that usually accompanies tours.

This time I found myself listening intently to Justin’s comical and interesting speeches. In fact I think I was laughing the loudest at his jokes much to Cole’s embarrassment.

After a couple of hours of one of the better history lesson I have had it was on to the Vatican City itself. Unfortunately as mentioned, Romeing Tours is not one of the selected tour groups who get to skip the lines, so we had to wait for about 20 minutes which sucked.

Note: You will have to buy your own tickets to the Vatican and wait in line.

Rome Pictures, Rome Photos, Vatican Photos, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: Inside the Vatican

The Vatican Museum was ridiculously busy and it was at this point that I really appreciated having a guide. Justin was able to point out the key items, arguably his favourites but no complaints, in the museum and give some background history on all of them. So many of which revolve around the world renowned Michelangelo.

To me this is far more preferable than walking aimlessly through the museum not knowing what the pieces are. And instead of looking like other tour group sheep with ridiculous headsets and an umbrella to follow, we looked semi-normal.

One of the downsides of the tour for us was that you are actually only in the Vatican for just under half the tour. Walking through the ancient halls of the Vatican Museum with so many historical artefacts surrounding you really is an enlightening moment. We would have loved to explore more of the artworks and statues for a few hours as it all felt a little rushed.

Romeing Tours Vatican Museum, Romeing Tours Review

Romeing Tours Review: The Vatican Museum

However, in argument to myself, I don’t think we could actually handle any more time amongst the sweaty chaotic crowds within the Vatican Museum walls.

Basically the entire tour builds towards the grand finale inside the Sistine Chapel. Looking up at Michelangelo’s fresco painting on the ceiling is a bit hard to believe. Even for non-arty types like ourselves, it is bloody impressive.

The tour finished outside St Peters Basilica overlooking the main square. This is perfect as you are then free to wander through the Basilica at your leisure and also go back into the Vatican museum if you wish. By then it was too late for us and 6 hours had worn us out. Plus that incredibly “bad-ass” sandwich was long gone and we were starving.

Romeing Tours Review Overall

Overall it was a really interesting and informative tour and I particularly loved the humorous slant. We definitely learnt a bucket load of new information which we wouldn’t have learnt through an audio guide.

The only negative to keep in mind is that the tour is really long. While it actually flew by it was draining and as like our tour it can be longer than anticipated. So don’t make any plans for a few hours after the tour in case it runs over.

We definitely recommend the Romeing the Vatican Tour to everyone not just backpackers and we actually wished we had time to take part in their other tours which include a walking tour all over Rome and a Romeing in the Dark tour.

Travel Tip: Everyone needs to wear appropriate clothing inside the Vatican which they are very strict about. That means both shoulders and knees covered.

Disclaimer: We were provided with a free tour of Vatican City by Romeing Tours, although as always our Romeing Tours review and thoughts are our own and are never influenced by others.

Adela is one half of the New Zealand Adventure Couple who have been travelling since 2009. She loves the outdoors and has a real passion for Snowboarding, Mountain Biking and Surfing (apart from being scared of sharks). She loves food and writes all our food posts. Consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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31 Comments

31 Comments

  1. Ayngelina

    June 24, 2012 at 5:05 PM

    I never went to the Vatican because I didn’t want to wait in line.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      Fair enough because we heard terrible stories of queues for hours. Fortunately this wasn’t the case for us 🙂

  2. Keane

    June 24, 2012 at 5:15 PM

    Awesome! What was the name of the sandwich shop? There was a place near the piazza that I tried three times to go to, but it was always closed!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:03 PM

      That sucks it was always closed! They operate some funny hours sometimes. The sandwich shop was called Duecento Gradi and near the corner of Via Vespasiano and Bastioni di Michelangelo. Definitely worth a visit 🙂

  3. Laurence

    June 24, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    I’ve always enjoyed visiting Rome and the Vatican City. I’ve never taken a guide though, and it sounds like a really worthwhile investment – particularly at that price!

  4. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    June 24, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    An engaging, funny, sandwich-filled 6 hour tour of Vatican City for 20 euros? Awesome!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      Worth it just for the sandwich alone 🙂 Well worth the tour though as we learnt so much more which we wouldn’t have if we did it alone.

  5. Turtle

    June 25, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    Sounds like a great way to do it. I think you always get so much more out of the experience if you have a guide who can give you the context of what you’re seeing.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      The guide was brilliant. Even though he wasn’t a native Roman he knew all his stuff. Well worth it.

  6. Jeremy Branham

    June 25, 2012 at 3:45 PM

    It’s been many years since I’ve been to the Vatican. When I was there, it was late May so the lines weren’t horrible. However, I would have liked a history lesson of the area but the guided tour of the museum took too long. I think I was just tired that day. Glad the tour was interesting and entertaining. That’s way to combat the heat and crowds.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 25, 2012 at 4:11 PM

      We despised all the other tour groups as they constantly got in our way haha. They probably thought the same about us! Nothing like being exhausted while travelling to quickly change your perception of a place you visit.

  7. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    June 25, 2012 at 5:06 PM

    This sounds really great, I definitely want to do at least one tour of Rome – so much to learn. The sandwich looks great. Hopefully the tour company can figure out some sort of queue jumping agreement though, because that would make the tour incredibly attractive!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 26, 2012 at 2:23 PM

      Hands down best sandwich in Rome. And if they sorted out the queue then they would be sorted! The guide reckoned that was one of the worst waits though and it was only 20 mins.

  8. Caz Makepeace

    June 26, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Sounds like a great tour and a really decent price. I enjoyed visiting the Vatican independently but would have loved a tour to learn more

    • Cole Burmester

      June 26, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      We wish we had a chance to explore the Vatican by ourselves for an hour but were completely buggered by the end of it.

  9. T.W. Anderson @ Marginal Boundaries

    June 26, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    I was there in 2009 and felt it was an over-touristified joke. Seeing some of the art was nice, and it was certainly a piece of history, but the €10 bottles of water and the packed-liked-sardines-into-a-can for 6 hours combined with the heat and the jostling and the tourists = I enjoyed the rest of Rome *far* more than I did the Vatican.

    That being said…seeing the ancient works of art and paintings did make the tour worth it for me, but it was certainly a once-in-a-lifetime thing. You couldn’t pay me enough to want to go through those 6 hours of hellish sweating and heat and various body odors from thousands of sweating tourists ever again.

  10. Bret@ Green Global Travel

    June 27, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    The only time I’ve ever been to Vatican City, I was performing there for Pope John Paul II. Ergo, no tour for me. But it sounds like guys had fun!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 30, 2012 at 8:06 AM

      You performed for the Pope? Now that is one story I want to hear 🙂

  11. Ali

    June 29, 2012 at 4:03 PM

    Sounds like a good tour. The last time I was there was 1999, so I’m definitely due for a return visit. I think I’ll avoid the height of summer heat though!

    • Cole Burmester

      June 30, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      We have been here for 3 weeks and I thought I would get used to the heat but it is unbearable in the middle of the day!

  12. Christy @ Technosyncratic

    June 29, 2012 at 8:03 PM

    Wow, that price is SO CHEAP for a six hour tour! And it sounds funny and engaging, which shouldn’t be unique for walking tours but somehow still is… We need to head back to Italy so we can check this out.

    • Cole Burmester

      June 30, 2012 at 8:25 AM

      Its a bargain and a half! We have found some incredibly boring tours when travelling through Europe so this was perfect for us as it was anything but boring.

  13. D.J. - The World of Deej

    July 1, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Sounds like an awesome day and a great tour!

    • Cole Burmester

      July 2, 2012 at 4:17 PM

      Probably the best walking tour we have been on in Europe so far which says a lot!

  14. Nomadic Samuel

    July 2, 2012 at 1:01 PM

    This is kind of off topic but I can’t stop thinking about the sandwich! It’s been ages since I’ve had something that looks that good 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      July 2, 2012 at 4:23 PM

      Haha totally not off topic and would recommend you go on the tour just for the sandwich Sam 🙂

  15. Rome(ing) Tours

    July 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Thanks guys for coming along on the tour and we are glad you enjoyed it. Come back anytime. Just a quick note, we hardly ever stand in line over the course of the year, and you guys unfortunately had to join on a particularly busy day.

    • Cole Burmester

      July 3, 2012 at 6:59 PM

      It was unfortunate timing but that’s the way it is sometimes. Hopefully we will join you in another week or so on another tour when we are back in Rome for 2 days. And thanks again guys!

  16. Mary @ Green Global Travel

    August 18, 2012 at 5:08 PM

    After Bret’s very personal experience of singing for Pope John Paul II in the Vatican as part of the Atlanta Boy Choir, I don’t think we’ll ever go back. That’s too perfect of a memory to mess with!

    • Cole Burmester

      August 19, 2012 at 9:58 AM

      That would be a pretty special moment I imagine! I always worry about returning to places we have been as you know it just won’t be the same as previous trips.

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Europe

Amsterdam Food Guide

If you think of Amsterdam you don’t think of food. However if you try the food here in our Amsterdam food guide you might get lucky.

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Amsterdam Food Waffles

We are total foodies and our travelling has allowed our passion for food to grow considerably (not to mention our waist lines)!  We love trying new food when we visit foreign countries and always make a huge effort to eat the local cuisine. Check out some of the food we ate below in our cheap and delicious Amsterdam Food Guide.

Amsterdam Food Waffles

We had heard from a number of people that the Amsterdam food was nothing to rave about. To be honest food was not really our main interest in visiting but then again neither was an Amsterdam Peep show and we ended up enjoying that!

However we were pleasantly surprised. I think the people whom we had talked to had it wrong. Sure Holland doesn’t really have a local cuisine but once we got over this fact we realised there is still some damn good food to be had from the various Amsterdam Restaurants.

Amsterdam Food

The best meal we had was actually next door to the Red Light district in Chinatown. Crossing the canal to the east away from the neon lights your nostrils are attacked and your mouth begins salivating from the delicious smells wafting along the narrow cobbled streets.

As we walked into Bird Thai restaurant the enticing aroma hit us instantly leaving us drooling in anticipation. It was definitely up there with some of the best Thai food we have had. We went for the classic Green curry, fried rice and duck combo.

The Green curry was so flavoursome with the richness of the coconut milk blending perfectly with the traditional spices.  The duck was cooked to perfection and for the first few minutes of the meal all you could hear was the crunching of the crispy outside layer as we devoured the duck in minutes. Needless to say the fried rice was a taste explosion too!

Cheap and delicious Amsterdam food is easy to come by. With hangovers and munchies affecting your hunger it is no surprise that there are an abundance of Fast Food chains and takeaways in Amsterdam. In fact it was actually more the way that the fast food was served that surprised us as you could buy it out of massive vending machines at Febo!

Amsterdam Food Febo

Hidden workers stand behind the vending machines churning out burgers, fries and sausage rolls so all you has to do is insert a Euro and “hey presto” you have a hot meal in your hungry hands.

Then there were the frites stores which seemed to be on every corner. The first thing you noticed about these was the tantalising smell. There is nothing like the smell of chips straight out of the fryer and covered in salt to get you tummy rumbling. Served in a triangle cardboard carton and covered in mayo which meant that that you couldn’t reach the chips at the bottom without covering your greedy fingers in sauce. Just a tad annoying!

But there is nothing like hot chips to warm you up on a cold day.

Finally, while hot chocolates are not typically food I feel they still deserve a mention especially because the usually come paired with waffles! Ahhhh the perfect breakfast.

Amsterdam Hot Chocolate

We loved nipping into a cafe or bar like Cafe Bar Eddy in Amsterdam to warm ourselves up with a hot chocolate. It literally tasted like they had melted chocolate down and added cream. Heaven in a cup. And the choice of waffles was daunting as you could have whatever you wanted. Fruit, chocolate, syrups, cream or all of the above!

If you are heading here then don’t expect to find an array of traditional Amsterdam food. Instead treat yourself to a hot chocolate and waffle for breakfast, grab a quick bite from a vending machine and sample some of the different cuisines found near the Red Light District.

If you stick to this Amsterdam food guide then your taste buds will have a great holiday too!

If you have visited before then what did you think of Amsterdam food?

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Europe

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Check out our guide for the first timer in Amsterdam visiting a coffeeshop.

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How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Before getting started I just want to clarify that we are not drug users. We don’t condone using illegal drugs. And we are not telling you to go and smoke weed in Amsterdam. BUT, our goal of this travel blog is to help advise, educate and provide travel tips for ALL situations. So if you are headed to Amsterdam then we hope our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam will help you out.

And check out this smoker friendly accommodation for your next trip.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam Coffeeshop

When you tell people that you are visiting Amsterdam then they immediately think of one thing and one thing only. Weed. Dope. Herb. Buds. Spliff. Whacky Tobbacky. Pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. 

Call it what you will but just know that the biggest name for it is “ILLEGAL”.

Yes it is actually illegal to smoke weed in Amsterdam. But for now the Netherlands government do tolerate smoking in designated “coffeeshops”. This is slowly changing as the Government tries to moderate the tourism drug trade and in 2013 there will be new laws which we won’t go in to now as they are continuously changing.

In the meantime if you obey the rules, are not a moron and use our guide to smoking weed in Amsterdam then you are going to be fine.

Smoke weed in Amsterdam

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t smoke weed in Amsterdam in public such as on the streets. There are over 300 designated coffee shops where you are tolerated to smoke weed. These places are regulated and everything is done in the open.

Don’t get confused and try to smoke in a koffiehuis (coffee house) which sells coffee and light meals or a café that is a casual restaurant and/or bar.

The coffeeshops are super easy to spot with marijuana leaves in the windows and Bob Marley paintings on the doors. Not to mention the smell wafting through the cold breeze. There will also be the usual tourists that have stupidly over-indulged and are glassy eyed.

We visited one of the five Bulldog coffeeshops when we were in Amsterdam and had no complaints. We even enjoyed a delicious hot chocolate while we were there!

Bulldog Coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Buying weed in Amsterdam

As long as you are over 18 then you will be allowed to buy up to 5 grams of weed in the regulated coffeeshops. Plus you have the added security knowing that your marijuana is not going to be laced with anything else if you are attempting to buy it off someone on the street. And who knows, they might be setting you up to get busted.

We were (and are) total amateurs and had no idea what to do once we actually stepped foot in the coffeeshop. But quickly sussed it out. There will generally be a “dealer bar” with full menu’s and everything for you to choose. So if you are an expert you will probably know what to order! Prices will of course vary by quantity (grams, bags, individual joints) and quality.

For a beginner ask lots of questions. Don’t be shy like we were. Ask the staff what they recommend and what effects each type has. They will know then that you are a newbie and will guide you. Just know that they are very accustomed to tourists who don’t know exactly how to go about the whole process.

What we found out is that it is actually perfectly fine for you to visit other coffeeshops and smoke weed that you have already purchased somewhere else. However, it is considered rude not to at least buy a hot chocolate or coffee if you do this. Coffeeshops do also have some of the best coffee in Amsterdam.

How to smoke weed in Amsterdam

Don’t be an idiot

Number 1 rule: Don’t smoke too much weed in Amsterdam! Even if you are a pot loving hippie from a commune you are probably going to find the marijuana really strong in Amsterdam. Just take it slow.

If you are enjoying a drink as well then again take it easy with the booze. All the coffeshops won’t sell you beer as well as cannabis.

EAT! Don’t go drinking and smoking on an empty stomach as cannabis lowers your blood sugar level and this can turn a fun day into a disaster if you haven’t eaten recently. Check out our Amsterdam Food Guide for some quick eating tips here.

A final word of warning, please watch out for the spacecake! Eating cannabis will knock you on your ass and is much stronger than when smoked.

Finally, enjoy yourselves and for goodness sake obey the rules, laws and customs while you are smoking weed in Amsterdam.

If you have an addiction to drugs then reach out and seek some help.

Check out these Weed Products for your next travel adventure.

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Europe

Four Jandals Visits an Amsterdam Peep Show

Have you ever wanted to visit an Amsterdam peep show? We had the chance to go and embraced it with open arms. Check out our experience here

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Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

An Amsterdam peep show is a must, just like visiting the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Okay slightly different. But you have got to go!

And if you have ever wanted to visit Amsterdam then more than likely you are going to be interested in checking out a peep show in the red light district. It might be worthwhile checking out this Amsterdam’s Red Light District – The ultimate guide.

Amsterdam Moulin Rouge Red Light District

There is something about the red light district that draws the punters and tourists alike in. Maybe it is the bright red neon lights that illuminate the darkened alleyways that pull them in like moths to a flame. Or the bars and coffee shops that let a certain smell waft lazily across the glistening canals.

Or maybe it is just the fact that sex really does sell.

When we visited Amsterdam with a couple of friends we actually spent what I now consider an embarrassingly long time in that same area. The fact is that we seriously could not get enough.

Not like that of course!

We just couldn’t believe that everyone is so open and carefree about what is for all intents and purposes, window shopping for sex. The number of guys knocking on windows and being ushered behind the curtains of every room were staggering.

However, we were not enticed ourselves to fork over $50 euros but were intrigued enough to want to check out an Amsterdam peep show. I just want to clarify here that it was actually Adela that was the most keen. I just didn’t want to let her down so went along with it…

Amsterdam Red Light District

http://www.flickr.com/photos/shaynekaye/4792525797

Visiting the Amsterdam peep show

Much to our surprise, there is only one Amsterdam peep show left in the whole city back in 2012!

The very originally named “Sex Palace” is situated on the banks of one of the main canals in the heart of the red light district on Oudezijds Achterburgwal street. Walking under the neon flashing lights into the entrance way your senses are assaulted by sights, sounds and disturbingly smell.

All around the walls are posters and screens showing ladies in various states of undress and positions. A white board lists the movies that you can rent out for your viewing pleasure in one of the many private booths. But we were only there for one thing:

The circular structure sitting slightly to the left of the entrance with a dozen small doors along it’s walls. 

Each of those small doors lead into equally small rooms no larger than a traditional UK phone box. A small covered viewing window blocks your view forward.

The money box clinging to the wall to operate the viewing window only accepts coins. But don’t worry if you only have notes as they handily have a large coin machine dishing out $2 euro coins for ease of watching.

Once you close the door and chuck in your money, the viewing window pops open for 2 minutes and allows you to view the large, slowly-rotating stage on which a scantily-dressed woman displays herself. With her flexibility she could have represented any country in the upcoming Olympics!

Amsterdam peep show Sex Palace

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattmangum/2301545978

I was cracking up laughing the entire time I was in there because you can actually just make out the rest of the “audience” in the opposite booths. I even got a little wave and smile as the girl slowly revolved past my window.

The Amsterdam peep show was a little bit creepy. But even though we were there late on a Saturday night the booths were doing a roaring trade. Obviously nearly everyone else, from the hens parties to the couples, were there for the same reason as us. To check out one or two rounds before heading back into the night giggling like school girls at a sleepover at what we had just done.

The shifty eyed single men on the other hand skulked away to their respective viewing windows again and again with pockets full of coins.

If you ever get the chance then we actually do highly recommend taking the plunge and visiting an Amsterdam peep show. Just make sure that you are always respectful of the women in the shows and the ones on the streets!

Have you ever been to an Amsterdam Peep Show or Sex show? Tell us about your experience below.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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