Gotta stick in another Audrey Hepburn pun while I can, amiright? 😉
“Face down,” she says.
What a nice change. For once someone asks me to face down instead of stand on my tippy-toes and look up. I sidle up to the scanner, presumably to get a mugshot or my eyeball scanned.
“Face down,” she says again, impatiently, gesturing over to the phone in my hand with my e-ticket.
Oh… good thing I didn’t dip my head over the scanner. I casually slide my phone over the scanner like that’s what I was planning to do all along, because I totally was.
The plane is taking awhile to take off from Philly to New York, where I have a six hour layover. I sink my head into the headrest, drop my eyelids, and have a little rest as the wheels start rolling.
But when I open them again, I see that the plane is getting dangerously close to land. The flight attendant is saying something over the intercom, but it’s so muffled that I can’t make out what she’s saying. Are we making an emergency landing? What? is? happening?? Oh dear.
Ah so apparently I’ve slept through the whole flight. This is New York.
After finally watching Deadpool, finally watching Zootopia, watching an episode of CSI: Cyber, taking a nap, and skipping the airplane food for the chow mein and orange chicken I packed from Panda Express at JFK, I’ve made it to Rome.
The apartment is just as wonderful as advertised on the Airbnb website. “WAIT!” I call out to my family. “I need to take pictures of the apartment before we mess it up.” We’ve already added a homemade touch to the living room with our bags strewn over the sofas and snacks lying on the coffee table. I pile everything into a corner of the room, out of frame.
Our view out a window…
Our neighbours to the right…
Our neighbour to the left…
Because we’ve just arrived, we keep today low key. After recuperating at the Airbnb, we pick up our Roma Passes from the visitor center beside our dear old neighbour, the Colosseum. The Roma Pass is “a tourist card which allows, at the price of €38.50 and for 72 hours from its first validation, to freely use all urban public transport and free entrance to 2 museums and/or archaeological sites among those included in the pass, in addition to other benefits,” such as not having to wait in the normal lines (and instead going through the Roma Pass lines that are hardly any wait, if any). Totally worth the money if you use it, especially if it means I don’t need to stand in the heat waiting in line.
I love the subways. They’re wide, spacious, air conditioned, and most if not all of them are graffitied upon.
Whatchu lookin’ at.
The plaza down the Spanish Steps is filled with people and horses.
Caffè Leonardo has the cutest interior, and yes, this is an interior. We order four cheese pasta, seafood pasta, seafood risotto, and prosciutto pizza, because when in Italy, you gotta have pasta and pizza. We also order a platter of cheeses with honey, because eating cheese is sophisticated.
Before we say goodnight and cosy up in our Airbnb, we head to the Carrefour across the street to do our favourite thing: grocery shopping! Dad picks up a bag of Lupacchiotti Gentilini and we make fun of him for buying dog food, but upon closer inspection we realise that they really are biscuits for humans, and we proceed to devour them for him.
When you wake up, it’s only proper to be a good citizen and bid your neighbour good morning. Good morning neighbour!
From the Colosseum, we spy the Arco di Costantino and the Basilica di Santa Francesca Romana.
For lunch, we have more pasta at Gran Cafe Rossi Martini. Like most cafes I’ve passed by, the restaurant is accompanied by a quintessentially European sidewalk cafe, complete with misting fans to make the outdoor heat a little more bearable and perhaps even more cool and refreshing than what you get from the indoor seating.
Mom wants to sit inside to protect our skin from the sun though, so I make do with the atmospherically dim and photographically inconvenient indoor lighting, although… the sun beats so harshly outside, I’m not sure my photography would have fared much better sitting outside anyway.
Stuffed with food, we go back out to brave the heat and check out the Roman Forums.
Are you DONE taking pictures yet?!
Sorry kid. Here’s some gelato to make it up to you. There’s gelato everywhere, and it’s extra tempting in this summer heat despite the fact that it probably only dehydrates us. But when distressed, you can bet that I won’t be thinking about the merits of delayed gratification. Extra dark chocolate is my go-to flavour; it’s closer to black than brown and so, so beautiful.
Fontana di Trevi, aka the Lizzie McGuire fountain!
Family: *walking down the street* *turns back and finds Audrey gone* Where’s Audrey? Did we lose her?!
Alas, I’ve been held up at another random building taking another photo of windows and doors.
If you follow me on Snapchat, you know that I had a lot of fun at Vatican City. As my brother says: “Is nothing sacred?!”
We found the a/c.
Vatican City is apartment goals. That ceiling. Those windows. +curtains. That glow.
There’s been a lot of walking and the brothers are pooped, but Dad convinces everyone to visit Saint Peter’s Basilica for the Pokemon.
By the time we get to the Pantheon, it’s already closing so we don’t get to go in, but across the street we find Miscellanea and try as many pastries as we can and some more to go.
Our Airbnb host recommended Pizzeria Li Rioni A Santiquattro for pizza, so I get an egg, mushroom, sausage, and olive white pizza there.
Before you leave Rome, don’t forget to get a few souvenirs to remember this city by.
The evening closes with a showing of Viaggio nell’antica Roma, a light show at the Forum of Augustus and Forum of Caesar, complete with a history told through headsets available in Italian, English, French, Russian, Spanish, German, Chinese, and Japanese.
Audrey’s Declassified Italy Survival Guide: Going on a gelato run for other people is not a good idea.
After scooping two cones for Mom and me, the ice cream man says “6 euros.” We tell him that we’re getting five (for the rest of the family), but he doesn’t comprehend, so we say nevermind and just tell him our next choice of flavours.
“Ah, 5,” he says, finally getting it. “I only see 2 of you so I did not understand.”
By the time we get back to our Airbnb just up the street, gelato is running down my hands.
tl;dr– My family and I were your quintessential tourists, making our way through Rome with our Roma Passes and hitting the tourist locations. Everyone’s gotta do it once!