Caio from Italia!!
I am literally typing this post in Italy. My sister and brother-in-law are stationed in northern Italy, so Isaac and I came to visit them during Christmas/New Years. I thought I would give a little recap of our first few days here.
Let me just say, we have seen so much, experienced a ton, and eaten a lot of good food--there is no way to condense this trip and do it justice. But for your sake, I'll try to just hit the highlights and not go into too much detail.
Before leaving my mom warned me that there would be frustrating moments traveling in a foreign country. Boy was she right!! But we have been able to just laugh off our mishaps and newbie mistakes. Our trip isn't perfect, but those little incidents have added color to our story :-).
We flew out of Tulsa at 1:30 pm Friday afternoon and arrived in Italy at 1:50 pm Saturday. Wowzers, that trip. We were absolutely exhausted when we landed in Frankfort, Germany, but thankfully we had a four hour layover, so we got to sprawl out on some benches and take a nap. When we arrived in Italy, the sweetest little boy welcomed us out of the terminal (my nephew)!
That night we got settled in at my sister's apartment and walked around their town a little. It was so pretty, decorated with Christmas lights and little street vendors. We all shared two fritellas, a fried bread topped with sugar or Nutella that reminded me of sopapillas. Sssooo good.
The next morning was Christmas, so we woke up late, ate breakfast, and then opened stockings. We then went for a long walk to the top of a hill nearby. It was gorgeous and an incredibly good workout!! Ha.
We got back and headed to their neighbor's house for appertivos, appetizers, and a legit Italian Christmas experience. The family below Kate invited us over and I am SO glad we went. They spoke very little English and we spoke essentially no Italian, but they were so friendly and hospitable (my hand was never free of food or drink!). It was so neat to experience their culture in this way. That night my sister made us the most incredible stuffed gnocchi. Think ravioli stuffing but in gnocchi instead of pasta.
Monday, Isaac and I headed to Rome via the train.
We got there a little after noon and headed to our air bnb. First hiccup. It took us quite a while to find our place and then once we got there we had to wait an hour for our room to be cleaned. It was further away than we expected, and not in a very nice part of town. Isaac and I headed out to find some lunch but there was very little open around our place. We ended up just getting food at a place called yes! Food. SO sketch. They had vegetarian meals, burgers, and fried chicken. Oh my word, what were we thinking?? Isaac got a burger he said tasted like a high school cafeteria burger and I got a spinach burger. When our food came out I cracked up.
Mine actually wasn't too bad!! But it's definitely not what you expect when you go to Italy. Since we got a late start to our day, we really didn't end up getting to see much, so we walked around and just explored. And we did a LOT of walking. That night we found dinner in the Jewish ghetto and split an appetizer of falafel and hummus, fried mozzarella, and fried veggie sticks (those were my favorite!!). We then split a salmon and pesto gnocchi and then a pizza. So. Much. Food. I thought they ate small portions? We learned for our next meal. After dinner we just walked home (about an hour walk away) and stopped by various shops on our way.
Tuesday we woke up and headed to the train station to get breakfast and hit the tram. We struggled to find a place to eat (and actually didn't get anything) and to get on the tram. We eventually figured out where to go and headed to the Vatican City (about 2 miles from the train station, which was a mile from our airbnb). We then looked for breakfast and eventually found a neat little cafe where we sat down and I ordered a large cappuccino. You guys, always look at prices before you order. My cappuccino was 8 Euros!! I'm not kidding. When we saw the menus prices, we got a pastry to go (because it was 5 euros cheaper if we got it to go) and headed out to St. Peter's basilica.
Saint Peter's basilica was absolutely stunning. The square itself was incredible. Pictures We did Rick Steve's walking tour and absolutely loved it. Afterwards, we headed to the train station to get lunch at a spot where they had all kinds of little restaurants.
We hit the tram again (there was so much to see and so little time) and headed to the colosseum to do a walking tour. Italy has such rich history!!
After the colosseum, we did a walking tour throughout the "heart of Rome." This was one of my favorite things. We got to see small markets, less well-known spots, and experience a few of the iconic spots as well--the Pantheon, Trevi fountain, and Spanish steps. Yes, we walked up all the steps (and I counted) :-). We also stopped and got gelato on the way, which was absolutely delicious!! I got Oreo and Isaac got Nutella.
After the tour, we walked around and found a place for dinner. We learned from the night before and just ordered a cheese plate and some pasta with carbonara <3. We headed back to the train station for another cappuccino. I'm telling you, I'm drinking a lot of espresso (and eating a lot of carbs)!! It's just so cheap to get a cappuccino ($2 or less) and it's basically expected--I like the way Italians think. ;-)
So there's a recap of our first few days. I'll catch you up to speed on Florence and Austria later on this week!!
Tell me, what have you been up to over the holidays?