Rusty here. Our apartment was right in the middle of the beginning of the more residential area of Rome. Just east of the Colosseum and a fair ways east of the old downtown area. Our apartment was far better than our Paris apartment, but it was quite strange. It was one corridor with a 90 degree angle with a bunch of rooms drawn off it, 4 bedrooms, a tiny kitchen through another door, and two bathrooms (which we were happy to have two bathrooms now for the 9 of us). And I was happy to have my own room with Tara (although blake snuck in it one night with a headache and I slept in Halle’s bed). First things first, our apartment was right over a Gelato place. We all ate Biscotti and Pistachio (Blake’s favorite kind now) gelato and then went for a walk up the street. Well we tried to and then Blake did something mean to Tara so me and the kids went back to the house to get ready for bed while Tara and family went and got a peak of the Colosseum at night.
And then we crashed on our hard mattresses with windows open and fans running straight on us. Luckily I think we are all so tired at night that it hardly matters the sleeping conditions.
I was still not feeling 100%, I would still feel just a little light headed and my digestion isn’t working 100%. Probably the antibiotic. But it was always the worst in the morning. I had a shower and then we were off to the craziness of Rome. Public transportation to downtown wasn’t the most convenient from our apartment, we would have to buy a bus ticket and we didn’t’ know how to do that, so we started walking to old downtown for some breakfast. It was HOT, and it was CROWDED, and it was CRAZY!!! Crazier than Paris. There were people everywhere. Everything was beautiful but so old. It really did feel like everywhere you went you were in an ancient city. And when you would turn the corner, there you would see some massive basilica or museum or something of the kind. I loved it, but I was overwhelmed that morning. The kids were hungry, there was no food, it was hot. There were people everywhere. Everyone was trying to sell you something. It was A LOT. We found a place for breakfast. Overpriced, not that tasty, but they had some eggs and toast and the grossest margarita pizzas I’ve ever seen, but it filled our stomachs and the kids drank gatorade and so we were filling a little better. We walked to the Pantheon. Awesome. We had to wait a bit to go inside, in a giant line that wrapped around the square but luckily it moved fast. There was a guy playing pretty awesome violin that was worth listening to.
From there we walked to Trevi Fountain which was again awesome but overrun and hot. We tried to come back again at night to see if it would be less crowded, but it wasn’t. Wall to wall people. But as the largest barouge fountain, it was beautiful and again just amazing to see these things around every corner.
There is a legend that if you throw a coin in Trevi Fountain you are sure to come back to Rome. Blake wanted to throw a coin in, but we didn’t have any! A nice lady lent him a coin to throw in the fountain.
We walked to the Spanish steps. We drank water from the fountain because everyone else was. Then we googled to make sure it was safe to drink! Blake and I climbed the steps and then we went and explored a church at the top while we waited for everyone.
From there a short walk to the Pincio Promenade lookout which was the beginning of the Villa Borghese, the biggest park in Rome.
This was probably our favorite part of all. Tara had said there were golf carts you could rent. I saw lots of 4 person bikes you could rent, but no golf carts. Sure enough we walked down the hill past the bikes and other vendors and there was a giant golf cart, like the kind you would see at the airport or a sporting event, one with like 5 rows, and sure enough it was for rent and the price was right for 9 people! (He said 50 Euros for an hour, but later ended up charing me just 40). It was the limo of Golf Carts! So we cruised golf cart style around the park. This was probably one of our favorite things we did. It was a great way to see the park – the breeze was cool and it was shaded, and the kids had a blast hanging out.
We drove up past the famous art gallery, down past the zoo (down the wrong way of a one way road!) down past statues and lacrosse pitches, and then back up to the overlook where you could see all of rome. From there we parked just in the middle of the dirt and a bubble man started making zillions of bubbles. First Blake went frolicking in the bubbles, then Josh joined him, and then even Halle wanted to be enveloped in bubbles. This is one of my favorite memories of Rome, us sitting on top of the hill inside a golf cart as the kids danced among a zillion bubbles with violin players serenading us in the background. Everyone was cool and happy and at peace. And the funniest part was the people kept coming up to us and asking for rides! I would say something about speaking only English and they would walk off. The joke was that I could have operated as a taxi for the last 20 minutes and made enough money to pay for the golf cart. Finally it was time to take one more loop around the park – stop to admire a statue – and then get the golf cart back in time. What a blast.
From there Halle really really wanted to see this church that had a bone crypt. The boys didn’t care so we split up. Tara taking back the boys in a taxi so they could have some relaxation time. Ralph went with them, his feet were hurting, and Susan came with us. Halle led the way from the park down through a much quieter part of Rome, just east of the park, and to the church where we went through the Ossuary crypt and saw the bones of many many friers. There were probably 6 crypts in all, and all of them arranged Catacomb style except that some of the skeletons had more “meat” on them and they were posed wearing garb of fryers! All of it made a quite creepy appearance and I think Halle was pleasantly creeped out. We were glad we saw it.
From there, a walk to the roman forum with a stop at a grocery store to grab Salami and Bread, a bag of cookies, and sprite. And a bag of popcorn for Halle. It was exactly what we were needing because we were feeling much better after that. Off to the forum. We found an entrance, but even though it was free day, they wouldn’t let us in so we had to go around and get “free tickets”, but luckily we could go inside at that entrance. It was getting near the end of the day (like 6) and was blessedly uncrowded as we wandered amongst the forum and the columns and then climbed the super hot Palatine hill and looked out over the forum. It was pretty neat to walk and be where the ancient civilization was. But Halle and I were getting pretty tired at this point. Halle is a trooper, that is all there is to it. She is an awesome hearty traveler. Going sometimes 30k steps a day, and all in her white knockoff “sponge Birkenstocks”. She enjoys the experiences and the excitement of the unknown. From there we went home and picked up some pizza (we would not fail!) that ended up being gross (We didn’t really find any great pizza in Rome). But we took the pizza home to the kids and then the adults headed off by light rail for the trendy neighborhood of Trastevere, over the river and south of the old city center, where we would snag some dinner. This was really fun. We ate at a place called Gratzie and Gratziella, and we sat at a long table by the fire (which wasn’t lit thankfully) and ate delicious food of noodles and pizza and some sliced beef and potatoes for me because I had just had a sandwich and thought I really needed some protein in my life. They sampled us some wine before and were shocked when we refused and Natalie tasted it for us. The bruschetta was excellent and we even sampled the Tiramisu – just one for 6 of us. It was really good tiramisu. Tara wishes we would have had more.
We got home and josh and halle were asleep but we couldn’t find Blake! He wasn’t in his bed and we about had a heart attack before we found him in the bathroom. Poor guy wasn’t feeling very good. He slept in our bed that night.