Sep 6, 2015

Lutz Do Italy: Roma

Rome was hot. I'll probably mention at least ten thousand times that I was really pregnant on this trip, so, consider yourself warned.  Anyway, Rome was hot.  It made me appreciate the fact that my first pregnancy took place in a Kansas winter and my second in a Scottish summer (using the term "summer" loosely here).  But before we reached our swealtering destination, we first took our budget flight from Edinburgh to Rome (sike!) to Pescara, then back to Rome.  The flight would have been great: Eleanor fell asleep during takeoff and we reached Rome ten minutes early.  The plane was less than twenty feet from touching the ground when the pilot took us back up....and up...and up. Apparently there were high winds creating turbulence close to the ground and preventing us from landing.  We had to fly all the way to the nearest airport, located in Pescara.  We weren't allowed off the plane because the small airport didn't have customs/immigration, so we hung out in our cramped seats for several hours. Eleanor was wide awake by then, smearing chocolate from the only snack we had in our carry-on all over her increasingly sweaty mother, then attempted repeatedly to lunge herself from our laps toward the narrow aisles and to her freedom.  Finally, the pilot announced that the winds had died down in Rome and we departed for our original destination.  We were originally supposed to arrive around 10 am and planned to spend the afternoon sight-seeing, but after one delayed flight, two long bus rides, and one massive toddler meltdown, we didn't reach our AirBnB until 5 and decided to go to call it a day. We walked to a nearby osteria (restaurant) for dinner, then went home and crashed.  Every night we swore we'd wake up early the next morning to make the most of our daylight...but we pretty much always failed.  We slept in and took our sweet time getting out the door. And you know what? It was great.    

Edinburgh -->Rome

Aforementioned meltdown. Just keepin it real.
Roman Forum-- fascinating!

We downloaded Rick Steves' walking audio tours on our phones for several of the major tourist attractions in Italy.  He's a total cheeseball, and we had to constantly go "one...two...three...PAUSE!" so we'd be at the same spot in the tour as each other, but I do think it was a good move.  The tours were really interesting, and there were sooo many people all over the place, I just think reading out loud from a guide book while walking and pushing the stroller through crowds would have been a major hassle for us.  

Arc de Triomphe

If you visit Rome, and are near the Colosseum, do yourself a favor and find Zizzi Pizza. Get an entire box, maybe two, of the anchovy and zucchini flower on its perfectly thin crust. Your taste buds will explode and beg you for more.  

Church on Sunday was beautiful. We had to walk to the ward building, and were sweating buckets when we got there, but everyone was so friendly and welcoming.  Sunday school and sacrament meeting were obviously in Italian, but we were given headsets to listen to a missionary translate the meetings into English.  Neal and I made cringe-inducing attempts to sing the hymns in Italian.  


Spanish steps

Lunch!  I accidentally ordered tuna fish sandwiches an embarrassing number of times-if there weren't English translations on the menu, I'd just point to a panini that looked good, and groan when I'd open it after we'd left the cafe. I'm not picky, but I don't love tuna. Definitely not enough to order it four times in ten days. Thankfully, Eleanor Arden is even less picky than her mother and shared the fishy burden. 

Eleanor was downright scary about gelato. There was no casual-roaming-the-streets-of-Italy-while-savoring-gelato for us. As soon as we had a cone, she would frantically demand "more! more!" and cry loudly between we'd feed it to her as fast as we could in order to prevent passer-bys from staring. So a cone would last approx. sixty seconds until we could prove to Eleanor's satisfaction that there was NONE LEFT.  We eventually started taking turns discretely eating our ice cream far behind the stroller, one of us out of our daughter's sight, while the other pushed her ahead and pointed out dogs and birds to keep her distracted. I have zero problems with all the judging you're doing of us and our kid right now.  

Vatican City
Did a tour of the Vatican Museums--which we were told was a MUST--and it was kind of a nightmare. Long story short: we paid too much money for tickets to skip the three hour line and to follow a lightning-fast tour guide who we couldn't even hear because we were caught in the wall-to-wall crowd with our stroller. It totally turned us off of museums for the rest of our trip.  Which is a shame in some ways--I mean, we went to Florence and didn't see the David!--but we saved a lot of money and spared ourselves the headache.  And now we just have a legit excuse to return someday, sans toddler. ;)

We did love the Sistine Chapel.  Pretty remarkable.  You aren't supposed speak above a whisper inside the chapel, and there was a priest who would bellow "SILENZIO!" every few minutes to the hundreds of people crammed in there like sardines.  And when I say bellow, I mean bellow. It was both terrifying and awesome.

Bread + Pasta every night made for an exceptionally happy Eleanor (happier than she looks here, promise)
 Our favorite evening in Rome was spent in Trastevere, a trendy neighborhood full of shops and restaurants. It felt far away from all the crowds and we were able to enjoy a delicious desinare while listening to the hustle and bustle of locals preparing their own meals with their windows open.

We could have spent two weeks in Rome, but four days felt like the perfect length with our little rascal.  So with a promise to return someday, we bid our AirBnB host goodbye and hopped a train to the Cinque Terre.

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