Hello from my warm couch in Columbus!
Italy. I have very mixed feelings about traveling to Rome, Italy over Thanksgiving Break. Seeing the beautiful history, roaming the streets and shopping in the plazas- it was almost like a dream. However, I also I observed lost people, hurt and hardships. Yes, I know I have traveled to developing countries and I have seen pain. It was different in Rome though. The hardship appeared intentional and forced. I am still trying to grasp my understanding of what we experienced in Rome. I believe it is going to take some time to try to understand. I believe though that I have not spent enough time in big cities to know that stealing, yelling obscenities and rudeness is just as apparent in the States as it was in Italy. I have never been to New York City or Houston. Anyways, I am continuing to debrief my feelings. I want to have the desire to visit again – next time I will just be more prepared. Just remember, the Mary-Kate and Ashley movies, When in Rome, doesn’t show all of the reality.
Alright, so the magical moments. Vatican City for me was insane. Standing in front of St. Peter’s Basilica and the roundabout was something I never imagined I would experienced. I truly felt I was a part of history. I was not impressed with the Sistine Chapel, though. There were people clearly breaking the rules and taking pictures and talking loudly. Then, the security guards were having to talk and tell people to stop. Selfish people were ruining the spiritual experience I feel the Sistine Chapel deserves. It angered me it was a madhouse inside when it was a house of prayer and worship.
Patrick informed us the Colosseum was very similar to the Hunger Games. People forced to fight for their life, the capital cheering for a winner and status mattered. Visualizing what is would have been like to be in the crowd gave me chills.
We traveled through the Roman Forum, The Pantheon, the Spanish steps, Castel Sant’Angelo and Palatine Hill.
Trevi Fountain was my highlight of the trip. This is ironic because it was cold and even rainy some days. We stood outside and threw our coin over our shoulder, wishing we would return to Italy, and talked for about an hour about religion on the steps. People watching is prime around Trevi Fountain as well. My favorite family was a dad who was snuggling up to his 10-ish year old son. The love I witnessed between the two is something I can’t wait to see between Patrick and our children. Many times you do not see an older boy cuddled with his dad. It showed how strong and loving their bond is. Of course, we did fill in conversation bubbles for some people to entertain ourselves. Make sure to relax at Trevi Fountain and soak you experience in. Watch the slideshows below to see some pictures.
We ate at a variety of different restaurants. We learned the difference between Ristorante, Trattoria and Osteria. A Ristorante is more of an elegant, full-service restaurant. A Trattoria is more of a casual restaurant where the prices are medium and you typically won’t have a hostess seat you. An Osteria would be like a bar in the States. It is a gathering place where drinks are served and sometimes basic food. Once you learn the meaning of these types, you know what you are getting yourself into, food wise. I definitely preferred the food more in ristorantes. It was better quality and rich in taste. One tip is avoid eating around touristy areas. The food is made too quickly and not local. We had some disgusting pizza one day by the Colosseum.
We stayed at Check-Inn Bed and Breakfast a little bit out-of-town. It was amazingly large, clean and nice. There were six of us- 2 per room and each room had its’ own bathroom. Those who have traveled abroad know this is luxury, especially when it is a good price. We had cappuccino brought to us every morning with croissants and cookies. Although the food was not homemade, we didn’t mind.
One thing I assumed Rome would have more of was wine, cheese and bread everywhere. However, I learned I digested much more cheese and bread in Paris. Rome definitely had the gelato though! Seriously, we ate gelato twice a day.
Patrick’s wallet was taken straight from his front pocket on our last day in Rome. We were getting on the metro and we all had our stuff. He was heading to the airport and we were heading to adventure out a little more before our flight. Three young teens tried causing a commotion and pushing him around. In a split second he most likely had to release his hand from his pocket and there it went. Before we could realize it, the metro doors were closing in slow motion. My heart sank all the way down to my gut. The girls stood outside the metro staring at us. I am not sure if it was a cry for help or an attitude of we know we can’t get caught because we are young. After much research, we learned they were most likely gypsies raised in a community where this act is normal. My friend Kim’s phone almost got take from her coat pocket the night before. Fortunately, she was able realize it and push him away. It is crazy how often it happens and how good they are at their “job”.
Overall, I enjoyed Italy during the weekday when it was not as busy. When traveling back to Italy I want to avoid all touristy places and see a true Italian life. It was a real experience and I am very fortunate to have seen the history that I did with my hubs and friends. It was a great way to spend Thanksgiving and truly see all the things I have to be thankful for.