I’m back from summer vacay! To say the trip was fun is an understatement! So many great memories and laughs! I’m coming home with ~2,500 pictures!
I didn’t expect much from this trip because Europe has always been one of those vacations that consists of a lot of walking, sight-seeing, and not too much food because it’s so expensive. I’m a beach girl. Yes to the walking and sight-seeing, but now that I make money, we ate ourselves silly! Next go around, I want to bring a pedometer to measure walking distance. I’m estimating 3-5 miles a day, which I hope walked off all the bread, butter, and pasta we ate.
For the next two weeks, I will be posting about my Eurotrip. Today I’ll feature Rome. Following that will be Florence, Venice, Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, and London. I’ll show the sights we visited, and some tips that helped get us through the trip. The activities we did is not a definitive list. These are the things we had time for, but each city has so much more to offer. Keep in mind we had 2-3 days in each city, which isn’t enough time to explore everything!
One big tip: Check out Airbnb and VRBO to book apartments for Europe. I suggest apartments because it’s more cost efficient and convenient. We cooked breakfast to start the days and cooked dinners in every city so that we could get a feel for the local groceries/markets and taste the food. That’s a big saver in money, especially in our case for 6 people. We all brought small suitcases that could be used for carry-ons so a laundry machine was to our advantage.
So Roma! We arrived in Rome on 5/19 in the evening. We basically checked into our apartment and then found a place to dinner. We were so amazed at all the street views. It’s your typical movie set with colored buildings, open window panels/panes, and cobblestone streets. Everything looked like a poster!
The next day was a big one. We walked to the Colosseum first thing in the morning. This thing is massive! It’s the largest amphitheatre in the world and was built in 80 AD. The Colosseum ticket also gets you into the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as well.
Then we headed over to the Pantheon. This building had me awestruck. It was built in 126 AD. and is one of the best preserved buildings in from Ancient Rome. Just beautiful. The center is an open dome with streams of sunlight lighting up the interior. To think that this was built without technology and all by hand… just utterly amazing.
My mom’s favorite sight was the Trevi Fountain. It’s the largest fountain in Rome and one of the most famous fountains in the world. Tradition has it that if you throw a coin into the fountain, right hand over left shoulder with your back against the fountain, it will ensure a return trip back to Rome; second coin for romance, third coin for marriage. Believe what you want!
More importantly, we were able to rest our feet and eat gelato at the fountain!
Our last stop was the Spanish steps. This is the widest set of steps in Europe and a great place to sit and just people watch.
After the first day, I showered, laid my head down onto the pillow, and immediately fell asleep. No dreams. Just zzz’s.
Our last day in Rome, we were blessed by Papa Francesco! We had previously reserved papal audience tickets to see the Pope. Pretty funny watching people throw their kids at the pope for a kiss! We also toured the Vatican museum and saw the Sistine Chapel, which houses the famous Creation of Adam by Michelangelo, among other Renaissance painters. Wow!
For dinner we bought groceries at Mercato Trionfale – entrees included cioppino, steak, and pan-fried mackerel. Dinner for under 50 euros for a party of 6. Perfecto!
At night we went out for dessert and came across Piazza Navona. There are many street vendors that sell a hodge podge of stuff. We ended up purchasing these plastic helicopter toys that can fly up to over 10 stories high. We played with them until late into the night. Sometimes I think we’re five, and that’s okay in my book!
Rome was the highlight of the trip if you’re measuring the city according to sight-seeing. There’s so much history!
Another useful tip: Circle all the sight-seeing spots you want to visit on a map (or for you techie people, pin each spot on Google Maps). This helps to plan out the day and figure out which sites to visit sequentially according to proximity. It’s how we were able to go to 6 sites on one day!
Have you been to Rome? If so, what did you do? Which are your favorite tourist activities? If you haven’t been, what’s the most intriguing?
Stay tuned for my Florence post,
Typically I post by midnight on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. As you can see, I’m a bit late with this post. Due to my work schedule, I’ll be posting when I get a chance. I will continue to do my best to stay on schedule! Thanks for following along.