Our April 28th flight to Rome was uneventful. Unless you count the fact that I was so excited and anxious that I couldn’t sleep at all. I’m usually fairly decent at sleeping on planes. At least compared to most people. I’m 5’ 2”, so I have a little more mobility in my seat than some, and I’ve been known to fall asleep sitting up when I’m not traveling as well; my body can just shut down anywhere when I’m past my fatigue threshhold. So I wasn’t originally thinking that might be a problem. I’m not sure if it was the check-in lady’s joke or just that we were off to get married, but I started watching a movie and just couldn’t calm my brain down enough to fall asleep. I think I got an hour or two, tops. And as someone who has not once ever pulled an all-nighter, this would prove to be problematic.
Our flight arrived around 8:30am local time. I had researched that we could take a taxi into the city for the fixed price of 40 Euros. Before we left the airport we were approached by someone from a shuttle company who offered to take us for 75 Euros, which we declined. Once outside, we were approached again. This time I asked him if it was a cab, and he said yes. I asked how much, and he said “fixed rate.” Sounded right, so we followed him to the car. Which turned out to NOT be a taxi. I asked once more how much, and this time he said “75 Euros.” Ugh. But at that point, he’d already loaded our bags into the trunk, and we couldn’t see a taxi line anywhere. We were tired and ready to see Rome, so Kevin decided to just take the car. The guy didn’t give me any bad vibes or anything, so away we went. He got us there safely and quickly, and so we just decided to let it go.
Our Italian lodging for the night was at I Gatti di Roma, a very sweet Bed and Breakfast of two rooms, run by a lady named Maria Antoinetta. She gave us Italian espresso, which Kevin loved and I thought much too bitter, and asked us what time we’d like our breakfast the following day.
Then we were off to sightsee. We had only given ourselves one extra day between our flight arriving and our ship departing from nearby Civitavecchia (definitely a regret of mine), so we needed to cram in as much as we could. We started with the Vatican, and hit issues almost immediately. Something was going on that day, although we never figured out what. But we hit crowds and barricades before even entering the vicinity of St. Peter’s Square. We were stuck for a good 20 minutes, held by the barricades. Eventually our part of the crowd started sneaking themselves closer to the entrance, and those in charge trying to keep everyone back seemed to have given up trying. We followed the crowds. However, once at the entrance, they were announcing that absolutely no one else would be allowed in the rest of the day. I just barely got a photo of the massive crowd inside before we gave up and left. What a bummer and a waste of time.
But we bought some authentic Italian gelato at a nearby stand, so I don’t think we stayed upset too long. Then we headed towards the Colosseum. We bought combo tickets for the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, and wandered around this amazing historical setting. It would be the first of several opportunities during this trip for us to be awe-stricken over how ancient our surroundings were. Truly humbling.
But along with the awe, we were also starting to feel pretty jetlagged and weird. I wrote in my trip journal that I felt “loopy,” and that’s a pretty apt description. So we decided to rest our feet and get some nourishment before hitting the Colosseum itself. We stopped just down the street at Antico Caffe Castellino for some much-needed water and PASTA! Kevin had spaghetti carbonara with egg, bacon, and peas, and I had mozzarella gnocchi. Delightful! The Italian tirimisu for dessert was lovely, and quite different from American tirimisu – it was lighter and less sugary.
Feeling a bit better from lunch, we decided it was finally time to see the amazing Colosseum. Of course, the lack of sleep portion of our jetlag had not yet been remedied, so we started feeling “off” again almost as soon as we started walking.
I wish so badly now I’d been able to sleep during that flight, because I would have been able to better appreciate the wonder that is the Colosseum.
I did take photos, but it was hard for me to think very much as I was wandering around the complex. It was the strangest feeling; I felt sort of dizzy and out of it, and I ended up at the giftshop somehow and didn’t remember how I’d gotten there. Not something I’d ever experienced before. I wasn’t even coherent enough to be worried about how I was feeling (which I normally would be – I’m a slight hypochondriac).
I’m pretty sure I told Kevin we should head back for a nap, or else I might collapse, and he agreed. Getting back to the Bed and Breakfast felt like the longest journey of my life on super sore feet, but we somehow made it.
With the intention of visiting the Trevi Fountain and Spanish Steps in the late afternoon, we set our travel alarm for two hours later and fell asleep before even taking off our shoes. And woke up at 8:00 at night! I don’t know if we hit the AM button instead, or if we didn’t even set the alarm at all, but we woke up MUCH later than we’d planned, and we were still pretty exhausted. So we decided to go eat some dinner and then call it a night.
We stopped at I Butteri down the street for pizza. We decided to try something new and ordered a bufalo mozzarella ball appetizer! It was pretty odd – just a big ball of fresh, watery cheese. It was pretty tasty, though. Kevin had provolone and prosciutto pizza, and I had tomato and basil pizza that didn’t have sauce, but was wonderful all the same.
Then back to the B&B to finish catching up on our sleep in preparation for the next day and embarking on our first cruise.