Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rome: Day 1

This year for Thanksgiving, we decided to go to Rome. We had our traditional meal the Saturday before, and headed south for this awesome holiday. There is an airlines over here called German Wings, and on their site you can do what's called a "blind booking". On the internet, you give the dates you want to depart and return and it lists 5 cities that it will randomly pick for you to go for only 50 EURO round trip! We decided to give it a whirl and where thrilled to get Rome! The other choices were London, Lisbon, Berlin, or Barcelona {which would have been cool too}. We found a hotel with a free shuttle from the airport on, and off we went. It was spontaneously wonderful! We didn't get robbed and came home with all 3 children {yes, I was nervous the whole time that one of my kids would get kidnapped.} Mimi and Papa are still in town, so they came along too. All in all, Rome is fun, a bit dirty, but really cool. Our family actually enjoyed Tuscany more because although we enjoy the cities, we LOVE nature and the land/ocean more. Still, so glad we went.

The Colosseum: Of course we had to see this iconic Roman ruin. The kids were enthralled at this "really old sports stadium". We really enjoyed being a part of the old Rome and imagining life 200 years ago.

The Pantheon: Rome's "best-preserved" building, a temple built to all the gods. I loved this building when I came 10 years ago in college, and I loved it all over again. I'm in awe at this building and how they could build something so amazing without modern technology. We didn't stay in there long because there is no talking aloud, and super boy decided he liked to here his voice echo in there.

A few {not so ancient} things on our walk through Rome: G's souvenir was a snow globe with a red Vespa. She was excited to find this scooter that looked like her snow globe! Of course we enjoyed gelato, twice. G & S had fun watching newly poured tar...yup. We found a GIANT jar of Nutella {too bad we packed light, or we might have come home with one, yum!} The leaves were just beginning to turn for the fall. It was much warmer there. It felt PERFECT!! One of the days it was 70. We love the street entertainers. We saw many of them! I thought the invisible man was unique. I also had to snap a pic of everyone looking at the map trying to figure out where we needed to go next. This happened a lot because we walked everywhere and tried to figure out where we were! Also, there is a picture of me with an Italian painter that I bought a watercolor from. I got one in Florence to figure out where to hang them.

Other ancient sites on our walk: Temple of the Forum Boarium, Marcello Theater, & Portico of Octavia built by the Emporer Augustus in 23 BC {WOW!} We found this by accident, just weaving in and out of the streets of Rome {so glad we walked and didn't take a bus!}

Santa Maria in Cosmedin & Bocca della Verita {the Mouth of Truth}: As we walked around Rome we wanted to find the mouth of truth so we could stick our hand in. The legend says that if you stick your hand in and it shuts, then you are a liar...well, we didn't need to pay 5 EURO and wait in a 30 min line for the mouth of truth to tell it what it thought of us!

Roman Forum & Arch of Constantine: The Roman Forum, believed to have been here since 5th century BC, is really amazing to see, we just walked right by it on our way by the Colosseum. We also headed toward the Arch of Constantine. We just kept pinching ourselves that we were really there. Again, my kids love dropping coins in the street entertainers buckets to see what they will do.

Pigeons: Everywhere we went, the kids loved chasing the pigeons, especially super boy. Sometimes in the day we'd just stop and let them run around and have fun.

Trajan's Forum & Market: Started in 107AD, this ancient section of Rome was one of many sites to see. Researchers believe this area to be the first "shopping mall". My kidlets were in awe at how "old" this place was. You can see how much S loves the stroller and Mimi buying a necklace from a street vendor...all part of the Roman experience.

Each morning we'd start out with a fabulous breakfast. G is sitting in a "royal" chair, we took pictures of our view from our breakfast table, and J & Mimi enjoyed fruit, croissants, quiche, sausage, bacon, and other yummy bakery treats. Our hotel, Atlante Star {which I found on b/c every 10 nights we stay, we get a night free}, was 4 star hotel, Europen standard. It was nice, but not one you want to hang out in all day. It was a bit on the tiny side, like most European hotels. The location couldn't be beat though. We were just a few blocks from Vatican city.

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