After many years of dreaming, I finally got to book my ultimate trip: a week to Rome. Since high school, the idea of going to Rome has always called to me. I loved the idea of tiny streets, sidewalk cafés, and thousands of years of history. Last October, we finally booked my dream trip–great hotel, sight-seeing in the Vatican, the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Pompeii…I dreamt of great food, cappuccinos, wine, and gelato.
Almost as soon as I realized we were pregnant, I also became aware of the fact that I would be missing out on some of the fun things I was looking forward to–mostly the wine and cappuccinos. But I didn’t really think about it past that, for which I am grateful. About two weeks before we left, I started to get really nervous about the trip. Although the pregnancy has been relatively smooth, I was slightly concerned to be going so far. While I’ve maintained exercising through yoga and shortish (2-3 mile) walks, I knew that a lot of walking would be required in Rome and the various tours. I was starting to think that perhaps going to Rome while pregnant was not going to be the best idea.
While I’m very glad that we went, our trip was not exactly the rosy picture that our Facebook photos portray. I figured I’d synthesize our trip through photos while I still remember some of the details.
This photo was not included on Facebook for obvious reasons; I look horrible. We left St. Louis on Wednesday morning. The flight into Newark was pretty bumpy towards the end. I think the combo of the very bumpy descent, plus the stress of traveling while pregnant got the best of me. I spent most of our 4 hour layover and 9.5 hour overnight flight in the bathroom feeling miserable. During our layover in Newark we both really started debating if traveling all the way to Rome was a good idea for both me and the baby. In the end, I knew I would kick myself if we postponed the trip (not only would we lose some of the money, but I didn’t want to be a pansy about traveling). By the time we actually got to Rome, I was starting to feel better, but I was absolutely exhausted. Since we arrived to the hotel around 10 a.m. Thursday, our room was not ready yet. Although most tourists drop their bags and go out exploring, I fell asleep on a couch in the lobby. Luckily, whoever was in our room before us checked out early that morning, and they were able to ready our room within 45 minutes. We spent the rest of the day Thursday napping and watching CNN. This picture was taken after I woke up from one of my naps. That night we went out for pizza at a local restaurant that was recommended by hotel staff. It was quite yummy, although my tummy was still barely handling food.
Otherwise known as crazy tour day. We had a busy, busy day. We saw the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Colonna, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona, and the Vatican in the morning. While walking between the Pantheon and Piazza Navona, I began overheating and had to sit for about 5 minutes. Once I had some water and took a break, I began to feel better. I felt great by the time we got onto the bus and headed towards the Vatican. Seeing St. Peter’s Basilica was amazing. I told M that it was almost akin to a pilgrimage to Mecca. It was fantastic to be able to be in the religious epicenter for the Catholic Church. I got chills just being there. In addition to the history and the art within the Basilica, it was just absolutely gorgeous. I really enjoyed it.
We then headed off to lunch with two other American couples. It was there that I learned a typical meal in Rome consisted of bread, a first course of pasta (which I devoured), and a surprise second course of meat, and dessert. Since I had eaten all of my pasta, I had no room for the second course. Ah well, lesson learned. 🙂
In the afternoon was our tour of the Roman Forum, St. Peter in Chains church, and the Colosseum. Although we didn’t get to walk through the Forum like I was hoping, it was still really cool to see the ruins. We then spent a good hour or so within the Colosseum. Our tour guide gave us WAY too much history, and M and I decided to break off the tour a little bit to do our own picture taking, and to let me sit.
By the time our tours were over, we were both tired. We decided to do dinner “early” (7:15 p.m.). We, and another group of tourists were the first ones in the restaurant. For dinner we went to the restaurant on the street behind us. I ordered some gnocchi that were the best I have ever eaten in my life. We then tried out the gelato place that was around the corner. I knew within my first lick that we would be going back…oh so yummy!
After all of the touring on Friday, we decided to have a lazy Saturday that consisted of a late breakfast (9:30 a.m.) and slowly getting ready to go out. We meandered to the Spanish Steps, which was about a mile away. We at lunch at the famed Babbington’s Tea Rooms, walked back to the hotel, and napped for a bit. We then had dinner (pizza) across the street from our Hotel at a restaurant named Henry Cow.
We spent most of Sunday traveling to, and touring Naples and Pompeii. This perhaps was the one tour that I was looking forward to the most. I was SUPER excited to get to visit Pompeii. Although the weather was kind of dreary (cloudy, misty rain), I really enjoyed getting to see the countryside. Naples was not all that exciting. Although I’m sure it’s pretty on a sunny day, it really didn’t do much for M or I while we were there. However, the weather did not dampen my enthusiasm for Pompeii. Although our tour guide was kind of
annoying (he had some weird noise he would make at the end of each sentence), M and I stayed behind most of our tour group to take our own pictures and do some of our own exploring.
M got some great shots! Overall, Pompeii was definitely one of the highlights of our trip!
Since we got back so late, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant, which was on the roof, overlooking the city.
We had a very nice, relaxing Monday after having to get up at 5:45 a.m. the previous day. So, we slept in, had a later breakfast, and waited for the rain to clear. We spent the day milling about, and explored Termini Station and the Spanish Steps for some souvenirs. We quickly came to the conclusion that everything was either ridiculously chintzy, or something along the lines of Prada or Dolce and Gabbana (which we can’t afford). Slightly saddened, we headed back towards the hotel to grab a quick pizza dinner at a hole-in-the-wall pizza place across the street from us. We got a lot of ridiculously good pizza for less than 5 Euro! Monday evening was rounded out by a Nighttime Tour of Rome. Of course, that’s when it decided to rain again. But not only did it rain, we had a nice, gentle Italian thunderstorm.
M got this great shot as we were on top of a hill in Trastevere, overlooking the city. To the left is the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. I love how the lightning just lit up the sky. Although the night was rainy and thunderstormy, Rome at night was still gorgeous.
A majority of our last day in Rome was sadly spent inside of our hotel. The rain from the evening before continued as a downpour for most of Tuesday. We ventured out midday for lunch at Trimani, a local winebar. Afterward, we looked for a couple of bottles of wine in their shop to bring back. We trudged back to the hotel in the deluge to dry off and change clothes. Several hours later, we decided that the rain just wasn’t going to lighten up, and I really wanted to throw coins into the Trevi Fountain (which legend has it will ensure a return trip to Rome). So, we put on our semi-dry clothes and trekked to the Fountain. Luckily, the rain slowed to a trickle while we were there, and we got to fight the other tourists for a spot at the Fountain. Our return trip ensured, we went back to the hotel to get ready for our last dinner in Rome. We asked where a great place to go was, and we ended up at Hostaria di Vincenzo, a local place made popular by its seafood, of all things. Both M and I avoided the seafood, but had some fantastic pastas. We also headed back one last time to our favorite gelato place around the corner from our hotel.
Overall, I’m really glad we went. But to be honest, by Tuesday we were both looking forward to going back home. Although I definitely suggest a trip to Rome, a week dedicated just to Rome may be too much. I would definitely like to go back and see more of the country. And I definitely want to go back and eat more of the food!!