Sharing all the fun details of our honeymoon may take as long as the honeymoon did! In the hopes that I’m not too overwhelming, I plan on sharing this in parts: 1. Rome, 2. Florence, Tuscan countryside, Venice, 3. French countryside, and 4. Paris. (Further note: as I wrote out Rome, it got really long. So look for 4 themes spread out over who knows how many actual posts.) I’ll owe you an Italian tomato and a French baguette if you make it with me to the end!
Our flights to Europe were pretty uneventful. We had three flights, but all were on time. We slept some on the plane and had no problem taking the train right to our apartment’s neighborhood. We were only a couple blocks from the station, but this was probably our quietest place to sleep during the trip.
The apartment was located in the Trastevere neighborhood. We were on the eighth floor with just a tiny elevator to get upstairs. It had a combined living and bedroom like a hotel would, but also a decent-sized kitchen. The bathroom was fine, but the shower was tiny. There was a little patio that was great for breakfast and hanging laundry.
After we dropped off our stuff at the apartment, we walked to the Coliseum. We were much further south than originally thought, so the walk was long. Our first mistake of the trip involved lunch. We had waited too long, so we were both starving (and it was starting to rain.) We ended up at a place that looked cute upon initial review, but after we sat, we noticed all the cheesy American details (playlist included Mary J. Blige and Elvis.) The food wasn’t that bad, but we were embarrassed. While sitting there, we were further conned by a local selling umbrellas. We spent 3 euro on a semi-broken umbrella, but it was better than nothing as it started to pour as we left lunch. After a quick stop for gelato (every day in Italy!), we ran back in the rain to nap and rest the wet feet.
For dinner that night we went to a place recommended by our Italy book called Fretti de Travestere. It was perfect! I tasted the best tomatoes of my life (ah, er, until the next day…) and we both had our first espressos (not bad with a packet of sugar). We took a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood and just beat a wicked thunderstorm home. Sat on our porch watching the weather and talking…A perfect first day!
The next morning we took a tram and a bus to get to the Vatican City area. We got a Roma Pass, which included transportation, but nobody validated their tickets. I think we could have traveled for free. We followed a couple of tours from our “24 Walks in Rome” book. It was amazing how many tourists would be on one block and then there would be no one on the next.
The best 30 euro of this day went to pre-purchasing our Vatican tickets. The line to get in was at least 2 hours long, but we walked right up. The tour itself was interesting, but, to me, sad. So much of the art had been gathered by the church through unscrupulous ways. Selling just a couple of pieces would feed a hungry family for months. In my opinion, the Sistine Chapel showed a mean God; there was so much darkness in the allegories. The art of that space itself was impressive, but underwhelming as most of the rooms and halls on the tour (and everywhere in Europe) had intricately painted ceilings. If you have been, what was your opinion of the Sistine Chapel?
That afternoon included the Borgese park, the Spanish steps, and the Trevi fountain. We dodged the North African men selling crap (today’s crap: roses… they would offer as a gift to the lady and then chase the man down for money…) and even a gypsy mom and child begging for money. After a lot more walking (and old stuff), we hobbled to the tram stop and made our way home.
Stay tuned for more on Rome in a couple of days!