Thurday, June 14th:
After almost a year of contemplation and consideration and six months of actual planning, we are off to Italy!
We packed everything from our packing list for our 3 week journey in 4 cases and 4 packs. Here are the before and after pictures of our packing cubes:
We took a page from our friends’ the Welshes and created our family travel rules last year. I’ll let you know how they work out after!
We planned to carry-on our luggage – yet again – but London had a different plan. They made us check Tipton’s bag -claimed it was too big for the flight, and we decided to check Lincoln’s bag because we had too many liquids in our TSA approved toiletry bags. I don’t know how anyone takes carry-on bags for a 3wk trip with toiletries from home and makes it through the London airport. Nor do I understand how we can make it through security in one place and not another on the same trip. This is strike 2 for us there on a trip via London. I’ll have to rethink flying through London despite the direct from Austin or rethink our toiletry situation, but we are grounded for the duration of this trip until our departure where we will check our luggage for the return trip. Just when I think I’ve got this travel thing figured out…
This is my 4th trip to Italy. Last time I was in Rome was with my good friend Jenny P in 2006. Prior to that was with my college friend, Stephanie in 1997 and my first trip to Italy was with my mom between my junior and senior year in high school in 1993. Each trip has been so different from the last and this one will be the first with my family. This is also the first trip with easily accessible internet – mostly anyway. I am still on the rooftop bar writing this blog because the access in our room is spotty. This is the first time with a smartphone that I could actually use without an absurd fee. I have a travel book and maps and haven’t looked at them much because so much is at your fingertips now. Rome is still the same – mostly anyway. There are way more people everywhere!
Our flight over was uneventful – thankfully! The kids and Bryan slept. Perfect. The layover was not too bad despite the London shuffle. We hired an airport pick up and made it to the hotel around 5pm. The 9 Hotel Cesari is perfectly situated in the heart of downtown equidistant to the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon.
We made it to the hotel and took a brief moment to refresh before heading out to dinner. The hotel recommended Taverna Antonina and it did not disappoint.
1st Italian DinnerFrom left to right – Carbonara, Squid & Seafood Ravioli, Meatballs & Gnocchi with mushrooms and the cutest kids ever. So, please take a moment to recognize we are eating gluten! This is the first time in 8 years I have intentionally eaten gluten. So far I feel ok. I am taking gluten digestive enzymes as is Lincoln. He almost lost his mind when I told him we could eat anything we wanted anywhere without making sure it was gluten free because the grains here are different. We’ll keep close tabs on it see how things progress. I have had bread, pasta and gelato cones. It’s pretty great. Again, so far!
Oh and hey, here is an ancient ruin just as we rounded the corner to our hotel. Just in the middle of a square. Just up the street. Like it’s no big deal to have something that is 2000 years old right in front of you.
After dinner we had our first of many gelatos of the trip. We’ve got a fantastic gelatoria, Venchi, at the end of our block. There is a wall of cascading chocolate behind the gelato counter!
We made a quick walk to the Trevi fountain after gelato and listened to a collection of street performers: a magnificent violist, a band playing covers of Dire Straits and Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin plus a street artist spray painting Colosseum scenes from sunrise to sunset. Loads of people packed the streets, eating gelato, smoking and enjoying the amazing weather.
Bryan and I dropped the kids in the room to shower and crash. Lincoln was barely mobile after gelato, so it was clearly time for him to hit the sack. We were fairly exhausted too, but couldn’t resist the call of the rooftop bar for a quick glass of wine before collapsing.
I don’t think you can see it, but in the distance there is a tiny sickle moon in the distance. We listened to what we thought were people laughing hysterically only to discover it was a flock of some strange birds sitting on the adjacent rooftop. That was our cue. Bedtime calling.
Next Up…Colosseum and Vatican.