Friday, August 17, 2012

Seventy Miles in Rome

So at the beginning of summer, in July, I met my sister, her husband and her kid in Rome. This was the beginning of what would be basically two months of travel for me and her kid, Madi. What better place to start than Rome?

 We stayed in a cute (albeit tiny and poorly air-conditioned) flat near the Vatican. We ate plenty of good food (though also some not so awesome food) and we drank lots of Aperol spritzes. 

We also walked more than 70 miles in four days. 

Riverside sunset

I am so not joking. That's not an exaggeration in the least bit. My sister was wearing a pedometer for a charity thing she's doing with her company. We seriously walked 70 miles in four days.

Now this isn't that unusual. I typically walk about eight to 10 miles a day anyway, but it also happened to be the hottest week in Rome all summer. It was in the high 30s and low 40s (Centigrade). That's frickin' hot man!

I arrived in Rome the day before my family. I spent the day walking about and trying to reorient myself with the city. I had been to Rome nine years before, but I was only 16 or 17 and was part of a school tour group. But I know my way around a map and I managed to find most of the major sites that day. 

Trevi Fontain

That evening I waited at our flat for my family to show up and just about attacked them all when they got out of the car. Despite the fact that we Skype fairly regularly so I do get to see their faces, there's nothing like a big, fat hug when you haven't seen someone in over a year.

Rome started out the summer right and we've pretty much stuck to vacationing the same way ever since. Walk, eat, walk, drink, walk, eat and drink, walk, walk, walk. All the while take a million pictures. 

Quick tips for Rome: 

Walking really is the best way to get around once you're in the sight-seeing areas. Unless you can figure out the bus systems I suppose.

Inside the Colosseum

Get a Roma Pass. All across Europe most major cities have some sort of traveler city pass which covers a whole lot of stuff. Usually it'll include the public transport, entry to major cites, discounts to some museums and even shopping discounts. It depends on the city and the length of time you'll be there, but in Rome it's totally worth it if for nothing else than that you get to completely skip the line at the Colosseum.

Aperitivo at Freni e Frizioni

Aperitivo is amazing. It's essentially what we Americans would call happy hour (but god forbid you say that to an Italian). You pay for a cocktail and get a free buffet. It's supposed to be a pre-dinner affair but often ends up replacing dinner altogether and flows right into a night out. 

Hanging out atop Villa Borghese

Gianicolo Hill and Villa Borghese provide great views and I wonderful way to get up out of the traffic and bustling city.

Watching the UEFA Chamionship game (Italy vs. Spain)
at Circo Massimo per our flat owner's suggestion. Awesome.

Rent a flat to stay in. Don't bother with hotels. They're expensive anyway. And with a flat, if you choose well, the owner will have lots of good tips for you on how to enjoy the town like a local.

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