Rome–Our Fourth and Final Destination

Well, here we are friends. We’ve arrived, at last, at our fourth and final destination of our little European adventure from a few weeks ago–Rome.

Now, you know my love of Rome. The ancient architecture. The amazing artists. The un-replicatable (is that a word?) food. It’s all just amazing. But you know something that’s kind of even more amazing than all that? Sharing a place that you really love with someone you love.

Awwwww–aren’t I so sweet? No but really, guys–I was beyond excited to visit Rome with Chris and to see if he would fall as in love with it as I did.

And the verdict? Well of course he did!

So let’s go…back to Rome… Continue reading

Me, Dragging My Feet …

Hi friends,

Sorry it’s taking me so long to wrap up our little European adventure–you know how I feel about writing my last post about a vacation. It just makes it so real that it’s over (not that being home for the past week hasn’t made it real, as well).

Anyway, I’ve been a bit busy, but I promise, promise, promise to get to my fourth and final post–Rome! Sweet Rome!–written some time this week.
Until then, look at this pretty, pretty picture while you wait …

Who couldn’t love Rome? I mean, really …

Home Swapping Sites on our Horizon

Hi friends!

So it’s t-minus two days before Chris and I jet off on our little European adventure…I am sososo excited!

Although, we did hit a minor bump in the European road yesterday when Chris emailed me to say that our pre-booked hotel in Rome had unceremoniously unbooked us. Apparently something with Chris’s payment information was incorrect, and he had missed the warning email.

Oops.

So there we were, three days before leaving without a place to stay in Rome.

Chris quickly booked a back-up hotel for us, but it wasn’t in an area of Rome that I thought would be central to all the lovely things we have planned. As I was searching hotels.com for something more adequate, a coworker of mine mentioned using home swap sites, like HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb.

I’ll be honest–I’ve never actually used one of these sites before. I know plenty of people who have, and they’ve always been more than happy with the results, so I figured, why not give it a try! After about a half hour searching on Airbnb, I found a cute little studio apartment for rent in an area of Rome that seemed lovely, and that had received tons of good reviews on the site.

So…we booked it! This, my friends, will be our first forray into the world of booking through home swap sites.

Who knows, if all goes well, it might be our new norm.

Do any of you guys use sites like HomeAway, VRBO and Airbnb? Have you generally liked what you’ve found? Do you prefer one site over the others?

Bis bald, friends!

In the News: Is Ancient Rome a Thing of the Past?

What would Rome be without the ancient ruins?

As a person who has just recently arrived back in the United States after a trip abroad to the fantastic, magical ancient city of Rome, this recent article in the New York Times really struck a nerve with me.

“As Rome Modernizes, Its past Quietly Crumbles,” the article boldly pronounces in its title. Excuse me? What now? I was just there, I thought when I first saw this. I never want Rome’s past to quietly crumble. There are still far too many people out there who have yet to make the trek to this place that is unlike any other, still so many people who have yet to be changed by said trip, like I was.

According to the piece, collapses this past spring at ancient sites have caused archaeologists to warn about other “imminent calamities” that threaten Rome’s architectural birthright.

Unfortunately disasters like that— the natural degradation of architecture that has lasted for hundreds of years—seems unavoidable, if we are to keep these structures untouched by modern ways of preservation.

But there’s also the little problem of certain people who feel that Rome would be best served with upgrades, like modern art museums, and spruces to make the city appear more “presentable” for a potential bid as the site for the 2020 Olympics.

It’s all a bit much to comprehend. In my own humble opinion (you know, as a traveler, and not someone who has any more specific ties to Rome than that), Rome is perfect as is—sans modern museums and spruces. I love the fact that there is hardly a subway system in place in Rome for the simple fact that the Romans want to preserve their underground integrity and the “city” that lay beneath the streets. What a novel idea.

All I can say, really, is that if Rome is to advance towards a more modern age, I’m certainly happy that I had a chance to see it in all its current splendor.

Installment Five: A Fine Firenze

I’ve avoided writing this last post for longer than necessary, mostly because I was sad to have to truly bring the trip to an end, (and a little bit because I’ve been crazy busy.)

But if you can put up with me for one last Italian time and think back to two Sundays ago, Steph and I were about to spend our last full day in Italy before heading home…

On the train home from Florence to Rome Steph and I fought over who got to take pictures out of our tiny window

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Installment Four: An Unplanned Day 2 in Rome

Last Friday Steph and I started our day off with a blank slate.

Or, it was a blank slate in the fact that we didn’t have a tour planned or meals that would be fed to us at their specifically designated times. Other than that I had my map, and my list of suggested places to eat from my co-worker, and my own list of all the places we hadn’t hit yet on our tour from the previous day that I had decided we absolutely had to see before we left.

So I suppose it wasn’t totally blank.

Happiness is a new, gorgeous city with nothing but a map, yum food and all the time in the world.

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Installment Three: When in Rome, day 1

A little Italian countryside on the train from Rome to Florence

Last Thursday, at around 11 p.m., Steph and I had made it to our final European destination—romantic, wonderful, beautiful Rome, and as tired (and sweaty and dirty) as we were, we were really excited to be there.

So remember that backpack that I mentioned back in Paris? The one that had all the travel documents in it? It also had detailed directions of which train to take from the airport into Rome, and walking directions from the Termini to our hotel, hotel Le Petit, which was only about an alleged 7 minute walk.

But the thing was, had our flight left on time, we were supposed to have arrived in Rome around 7:30 instead of 11 p.m., which would have made it a bit less sketchy for us to fumble our way around a foreign country, and find our way from the train station to our hotel (I can now tell you, having lived through this trip already, that it’s laughable how close our hotel was to the train station. Make a right, walk five minutes, make another right and you literally walk right into the train station. But at 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, after picking up our luggage, we had no way of knowing how easy it would be).

So as we entered the main part of the airport (no customs, no luggage check, no passport stamp. What’s up, Italy?!), I started to wonder if taking the train was really the best idea, still (despite my detailed notes….thanks to you, Chris!).

Turns out, I didn’t have a lot of time to think about it before we were approached.

“Need a ride?” a man with a thick Italian accent approach myself and my sister.

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