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Friday, July 19, 2013

When in Rome....

Rome, truly a spectacular place. I honestly couldn't believe I was there. It was like I had to pinch myself. You study about these places, but to actually be there is something else."It's real!" I kept saying that in my head because I was in awe of everything. I was like a little kid in Disneyland for the first time. Everything seemed magical.

We booked the flight and hotel a night before. We for whatever reason thought it was like a hop and a skip away so we were taken by surprise to know that it would be best to fly. So we just decided what the heck...it's one of our last weekends here. So we went. We were NOT at all prepared, no plan, nothing....not the best way to do things. Nevertheless we had a blast and enjoyed every moment. Even when we were lost confused, and sweaty (which was 90%) of the time we loved it. 

Rome is the place to go. That simple. There is so much history, the people are nice, and the food is delicious. It's not cheap, but if you are going to splurge on sight seeing, this is the place to do it. There is so much to see. We did learn a lot as far as what to do next time when we do a trip like this and here is a few of the things you should know if you wanna come to this lovely place.
  • Invest in a map- We bought a laminated map for 3 euros and it was seriously our life saver. So many tiny little streets to go through that it's very easy to get lost and the map is a great guide if you are like us and don't have a GPS.
  • Don't be afraid to walk- We got there at night so we didn't really get to see how the city was, so we bought a ticket for those hop on hop off buses thinking that it would help get from one place to another faster, that seemed to be a good idea, but we soon realized everything is relatively close. Also you waste time waiting for the bus, and sometimes there isn't any room left and have to wait for the next. We got on the bus twice, so not worth it if you don't mind walking.
  •  Public transportation is your best friend (kinda)- We were super lucky to get a hotel that had the bus stop right outside that took you to the city center, but because we were so unprepared we had no idea that you couldn't pay with cash. We noticed no one else was so we were like "ok free ride".....not so much. We later learned there are  in random locations(machines) where you can by your tickets or passes. We bought a pass and the next time we got on the bus they were checking for tickets. We got lucky, but if we didn't have a ticket, but would have been slapped with a big fat fine. To be safe, if you know you are going to use the bus or metro purchase your pass at the airport and that way you don't have to track where to later.                                           *Bus and Metro use the same kind of pass. The train (like to take to the airport) uses the same pass as the Bus and Metro only for certain routes, for most it is a different ticket you have to purchase, something we had to learn.
  • Map your route- As amazing and magical this little lady (Rome) is she is not very organized or "sign friendly". For example when you are on the bus, you better notice around when your stop is because if you don't you will probably miss it. The drivers don't stop unless someone is at a stop or you request a stop (as do all), but there are no signs that tell you what stop is next so it's tricky if you don't know the area. David was good at studying the map we bought and noticed the streets we should be on, so it helped to figure out where the stop should be.                                                                                                                                          
  • Don't be afraid to ask- People were super nice! Most people either spoke English or Spanish so we were able to get by. It also helps to have a cute baby, that just makes them extra nice.
  • Tour guides- We were limited on time, and we went on a Saturday, so you could imagine the lines to everything were ridiculous, so we had to cough up some money to cut in line. Overall though it was totally worth it. We especially liked our tour guide Jason from When in Rome when we went to the Vatican City. It's not only nice not to have to wait in the huge line but you get to learn things you wouldn't going in just by yourself.   
  • Vatican City-  This is especially for the ladies. If you want to go into the Sistine Chapel (duh you do) and St. Peter's Church, you need to have your knees and shoulders covered. A lot of ladies took shawls, and if you happen to forget there are about a million people outside the city selling them. Just an FYI. Luckily my dress hit my knees so I was good. Also if you want to send a post card from there (which I think is pretty cool) take addresses....I didn't have any so I was disappointed. It's it's own city and country so pretty unique to  get a post card from there.
  • EAT EAT EAT- Seriously I wish I had more time (and money) to just eat. Maybe it's because I've been deprived here in Switzerland to have a decent "home cooked" meal that I loved the food here so much. Also gelato is SO delicious. Don't be deceived though by  the crappy gelato though. Make sure you find the good ones! You can kind of tell by the place. I don't know how to explain it, but I'm sure when you see it you will be able to tell. Some places have very few flavors....those are the ones that probably aren't so good. If you have to pay a little more it is worth it, trust me.    
  • Water- It was SO hot when we were there, we were drinking water like no other. Paying 2 euros for a small bottle was not being so kind to our budget, but our tour guide told us that the water was clean and best of all cold from the fountains. From then on every time we saw a water fountain we were refilling our bottles.  These fountains are not hard to spot. Just don't think I'm talking about the Trevi fountain, these are just like small hoses.  So buy or take a water bottle and enjoy all the free water.
I feel so lucky to have been able to go to such a wonderful place, and I think next time I'll be more prepared. Even though it was crazy and last minute it was worth it! Til next time Rome, arrivederci!


Gelato is pretty much the best thing...here's baby David's "Gelato Face"

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