So my husband and I have been back from Rome for a couple of days. What a dream vacation it was! I was happy to be home, but each hour that passes, I start to think about what we would be doing if we were in Rome right now. The city stole my heart. I love Charleston and old cities, so it came as no surprise that I loved Rome. Here is a recap of the first half of our amazing Euro trip.
Day One (Thursday)
Let's preface this with, we were able to afford this amazing vacation thanks to Scott's Cheap Flights. Part of the deal was, we had to fly in and out of Atlanta. Our flight left Atlanta to Charlotte at 11 am, so we traveled Wednesday night and spent a lovely evening with my Aunt Kim and Uncle John in Augusta (about halfway between Atlanta and Charleston). We woke up early Thursday morning and hit the road.
On the Tuesday prior to the trip, I came down with an AWFUL stomach bug. One that made me think twice about getting on airplane for nine hours. Anyways, traveling on Wednesday was rough and Thursday my stomach was still in knots (partially due to the anticipation of traveling ahead, and the fact I hadn't eaten anything of substance in 48 hours). Our flight left Atlanta and we landed in Charlotte. We had a 6 plus hour layover in Charlotte and were scheduled to take the overnight flight to Rome. The hours passed slowly. We ate (and drank, which was a horrible idea considering my stomach condition). We FINALLY boarded the flight, where a full on panic attack ensued. My stomach was still messed up and knowing I had 9 hours in the air made matters worse. A half a Xanax later, I was fine. The flight was long with little bits of rest between. My stomach hurt so bad, that I couldn't get comfortable. We finally landed in Rome early Friday morning. By this point, we were both delirious from travel.
Day Two (Friday, First Day in Rome)
We landed in Rome at 10 am (their time). Our arrangements to getting to our AirBnB fell through, and we were so tired that we got duped by a "taxi" person and ended up spending 90 euros to get to our AirBnB. We checked into the AirBnB and IMMEDIATELY passed out. We slept for a good 5-6 hours before deciding to venture out. Of course, we felt gross. We hadn't showered in over a day due to travel. I was still a bit under the weather with my stomach. We decide to try out the shower in the AirBnB. The shower was tiny. My 5'2" self barely fit. Anyways, we didn't realize that the liner had to be completely in the shower or it would flood the apartment. So with the liner in the shower, you had maybe 6 inches of room in the shower. The shower operated off of a gas heater. Zach took his shower, I waited a few minutes, tried to take one and there was no hot water. After an hour, I finally braved a cold shower and we headed out to find food.
We wandered around the neighborhood we were staying (Trastavere) and found a cool little pizza place. Had a few slices. I had heard about this amazing rooftop bar (Les Etoiles on top of Hotel Atlante Star) so we got an Uber and headed there.
That Friday was very chilly and rainy. We arrived at the rooftop bar and were greeted by an amazing server/hostess or who gave us a grand tour. The views of St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican were amazing from there! We explored for a bit, then sat down and had a drink. What I really, really loved about this bar is they gave you a plush blanket (in addition to heaters) to keep you warm. We enjoyed our drinks, and due to the cold, decided to call it day. We next walked over to this restaurant that was highly rated by our server. The restaurant, Ai Villini, was a cute, very typical Roman place. Zach ordered Oxtail and loved it, I just had spaghetti. The pasta was fresh (but I still had very little appetite, so we ate and called it a night).
Day Three (Saturday)
Saturday was the day we decided to dedicate to the Vatican. We knew the lines would be long (and didn't have a chance to purchase Skip the Line tickets before they sold out), so we headed out early. We got to St. Peter's Square at the Vatican pretty early. The line was wrapped completely around the square. We had heard horror stories as to how long it would take to get in, but since the Vatican was the only thing on our agenda for the day, we decided to wait it out. We got in line. I was still not feeling 100%, but knew I was getting better. The line went surprisingly fast. We finally got inside St. Peter's Basilica and it was breathtaking. We didn't do a tour, but instead took it in ourselves. It was crazy to look up at the Dome and know how much history was literally painted on the walls!
After taking in the Basilica, we set out to conquer something we were really excited to do, climb the Dome! It is roughly 500 steps to the top. We again waited in line for a few minutes, and got our tickets. Since I still was a little weak (I hadn't eaten a full meal in days), we decided to take the elevator for the first portion of the climb. That knocked out 200 of the 500 steps. We got off the elevator and our journey started. The steps initially weren't bad. They were wide, very manageable. Very soon, the steps narrowed and became a spiral. Poor Zach, and his broad shoulders had a hard time fitting. After a good bit of climbing, we made it to the top of the Dome. We had a full 360 view of the Vatican. The views again were mesmerizing. Literally worth the nauseatingly spiral staircases.
With a stop at the gift shop on the way down (because a trip to the Vatican wouldn't be complete with a post card and rosary), we made our way back out to St. Peter's Square. We stopped for a bite to eat at a place just outside the Vatican. It was okay, definitely could tell it was tourist trap. We decided to call it a day and go back to our AirBnb for a nap before dinner.
Our Uber driver told us about this lively area in Trastavere (the area where we were staying). We decided to get out and walk and see what we discovered. We set out on our journey. The aimless walks in Rome are truly what I will remember most. I can't remember a time in life where I've had better conversation with my husband. We walked and we talked. We eventually made it to the centralized area of Trastavere. Unexpectedly, I noticed a lot of commotion down an alleyway and decided to check it out. The alley led to a labyrinth of streets filled with restaurants, shops, and bars all leading to a large square. We found a cool spot, Gino51 and sat down. Our waiter was a nice, funny Italian man. We ordered a bottle of Pinot Grigio and an app and watched the people walk by. One bottle led to another and we enjoyed dinner of pizza and pasta. We capped off dinner with some gelato, and then meandered our way to a wine bar and ordered another drink and some of the best tiramisu the world has ever known (calories don't count on vacation, right?!).
To give you a backstory on this tiramisu, we sat down at this little wine bar. It was chilly out, so we sat inside. The place was packed. My husband orders this tiramisu. Some of the biggest fights my husband and I get into are due to me being somewhat of a picky eater. Knowing it would drive him crazy, I dug in. He anxiously awaited my response. I instantly blurt out, "it tastes like shit!". He was horrified. Of course, I was joking, and he saw that when I went back in and devoured the rest of the tiramisu. After dessert, we drunkenly stumbled out to get an AirBnb and go home.
Here are some pictures from the first part of our trip. Stay tuned for part two. Full of bobble-head popes and day drinking around Rome.
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.