When we arrived to the airport in #Rome, we headed out for a taxi. I’m a pretty savvy traveler and don’t usually fall for the taxi schemes. This time however, I fell right into the trap. I let the guy inside the door get a taxi for me instead of going outside to get a regular taxi. Jaden and I ended up in a sleek black Mercedes Benz (far from a regular taxi) and before I got in, I said to the guy, “You have a very nice car. Is this going to cost me my first born?” he assured me it wouldn’t and that there was a set price. Well, yes, it was a set price. About 30% higher than I was planning to spend! But since we were in there, I thought I’d enjoy the comfortable ride. Our driver was a great tour guide/historian as well so it ended up being okay…I guess.
We arrived to our @AirBnB location and were greeted by the host. He was incredibly nice and accommodating and made sure we had everything we needed. Our location was great! We’re a 10 minute walk from the Colosseum and close to shopping, food, and other monuments and points of interest. We settled into the apartment and I couldn’t wait to head out.
Since it was getting late, many things were closed. I wandered up and down streets seeing the great window displays and watching families and couples dine outside. I passed a few mini marts and was impressed with the produce I saw through the windows. I also saw lots of wine and couldn’t wait to get back to the mini mart to get a closer look.
I finally decided to stop for dinner and chose a tiny restaurant off the beat and path and went inside. There were 10 tables or less and they advertised air conditioning but I couldn’t tell there was any air conditioning. At nearly 10:00pm, it was hot as heck. I ordered steamed clams for a starter and seafood risotto for my main course. I was very confused about all the courses they offered on the menu because I really only needed one.
My clams arrived and my first bite was gritty. I thought, maybe I’ll give it another try. I had a few good bites and then grit again. Ugh. I was annoyed. I kept eating and thought that if I had grit one more time I was done. It didn’t take long for me to be done.
My main course arrived and I was excited about it because it looked pretty good. It was seafood risotto. The risotto was okay. There was lots of shellfish and again, I ran into the grit. So I ended up eating a few bites of risotto, the calamari and the one shrimp that was in the dish. I was pretty disappointed. As a small side note, since living in Doha, I’ve learned to ask for the check when done eating and don’t wait for them to just bring it like they do on other parts of the world. So I just asked for my check automatically. That’s a good thing because I learned that in Italy, they don’t automatically bring your check either. So just an FYI. They aren’t being rude or ignoring you. They assume you may want to order something else.
From there I went right next door to pick up food items for the apartment. I kept piling stuff on the counter and when I was done, I had breakfast food, wine, soda, cookies, water and a few other things. I was like, I can’t carry all this crap back. I must have said it aloud because the guy quickly offered an employee to help me. It was such a kind gesture and a surprising one. I let him help me a few blocks and took it from there. That was so nice and so unexpected. I got back to the apartment, put things away and called it a night.
Day 2 was a big day (photos). We had a Colosseum night tour set up through @City_Wonders (formally know as Dark Rome) and we were very excited about that. In the morning, we had breakfast at the apartment and then headed toward the #Colosseum just to see it in the day time. The place is incredible. Not even thinking about the rich history of the city, just looking at the structure itself is mind-blowing. It was incredibly hot out too so we didn’t stay very long. After that I went in and out of more stores and I found a #vintage store or two that I will have to check out before I leave. I met up with a friend who’s out traveling the world and we had lunch at Cotto Restaurant. The food was descent but their cheesecake was insanely good.
Day soon became night and we had quite the trek to the meeting point. We finally made it to Trajan’s Column and met our tour group. Our guide was “A crazy Italian woman” as she called herself and talked about Julius Caesar being her third husband. As you can imagine, the tour was quite entertaining. We started near a plaque about Michael Angelo and while we were standing there, Carla Fracci, an Italian ballerina walked by and our tour guide nearly choked up. She introduced Carla to the group and then went on to talk about how great of a dancer she is. I later learned that Carla is one a few dancers who have been named a Prima Ballerina. As she walked away, one could tell that she still carries the grace of a dancer and is still beautiful at her age.
The tour included several historical sites (Roman Forum, Palatine Hill, Altare Della Patria, Santa Maria d’Aracoeli, Piazza de Campidoglia, and of course the Colosseum) and we learned so much. Our guide talked about the layers of the city and how they have a hard time building new stuff because the excavators continuously uncover more artifacts and such. Once we made it to the Colosseum, it was so grandiose. It’s definitely something you have to see once in your lifetime. We got a tour of the underground as well. Some advantages of taking a tour in Rome are: 1. You get to skip lines, 2. The knowledge that you gain and the information the tour guides share is phenomenal. I’m not a big fan of tours because I really like to do my own thing but coming to Rome, there’s too much history to navigate things myself. I’m glad we did a tour for the Colosseum. It was about an hour too long though! It was hot as heck and it’s no good to sweet at nearly 11:00 at night!
Jaden and I couldn’t wait to get something to drink when we finished our tour. We stopped at a little juice bar, Pronto, just down the street from the Colosseum. We ordered a couple of juiced beverages and watched the crazy crowd just outside the establishment. There is a fountain just outside and people ordered and took their drinks out (they sell juice, smoothies, and alcohol, and food). So Jaden was quite entertained. It was fun.
After an exhausting day of travel and a hot and fun first day in Rome, we headed to the apartment because the next day was going to be an all day cooking class!
Living life…and it’s good.