Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Second Time Around In Rome

The Colosseum
We enjoy going to a place twice because you learn from the first time the things that make the second time better. Rome wasn't built in a day and you cannot see it in a day either.


Last time we stayed in a hostel and staying in the apartment was much better. The hostel was cheaper but way less comfortable. When you travel in Rome you need a place to relax, stretch out, and enjoy your personal space (at a premium in Roma) at the end of the day.

The hostel slept 6 and thankfully the other five were family members so that was comforting. Not everyone there could say the same. I cannot imagine sleeping in with five strangers! The apartment slept six also with two bedrooms and a pull out in the living room. The apartment also had a kitchen, dining area and two bathroom in the mix and you didn't have to go down the hall. There are no cheap places to stay in Rome, even the hostel was pricey, so spend a little more and have a place you can enjoy and where you can relax.

Living room and adjoining dining area

Kitchen=Saving $

Queen beds much better than bunks! No brainer!

The hostel was not centrally located and we had to bus to the center of things each day. Staying there to begin with, in the apartment, made a lot of sense. Note: European standards can be a lot different than what you are use to in the US. What I wish I had brought..(new bar of soap that was for our family's use only) so I didn't have to shower with shampoo.

Transporting Yourself Around:
Palentine Hill near the Colosseum

Rome is huge. Rome has cobblestone everywhere. It is uneven and hard on your feet and legs. Last time we walked ourselves into exhaustion. This time we got a "Hop on Hop Off" bus pass. It is a double-decker touring bus and made for travelers. They give you a map and you can get off at any stop, at any time and stay as long as you want and then hop back on. The bus goes in a big circle and you can find your way around without speaking Italian (woohoo!). That is worth it's weight in gold. You do have to be prepared to relax between places as the traffic can be pretty slow paced during some parts of a day, but at least you are not too exhausted to enjoy the day. So five stars go to the "hop on hop off" plan.

The boys always find something fun to do.

Ross and his pigeon fascination!

Length of your Stay:

You could spend a life time becoming familiar with Rome but you should plan on no less than 3 days. Don't try to see everything, it won't happen and you'll be frustrated. Wear black (it is practical here where things can be dirty to sit on, laundry is a hassle, etc.) and buy a colorful scarf (the locals love to see you supporting their economy) to add color to your clothing and wear comfy, really comfy shoes. The look on the faces of the women who decide to wear heels is self-explanatory. And the white tennis shoes are a dead give away that you are a touring target American.

How to Save Money:

Bring everything you need as buying toiletries, etc. is expensive when you could buy fun jewelry and bags instead~just sayin'. Eat out occasionally but do some fun picnicking in famous places. The local shops have great bread, cheese and other things that make a nice lunch. Plan ahead.

Lunch at the Colosseum

In restaurants check your tab, they usually include the tip and so you do not need to leave another one and they actually consider it to be rude?? Anyway, it their way and save Euro!


Caroline Craven said...

Wow, you guys are seeing so much - love the Vatican pictures. It makes me want to go to Italy (or anywhere for that fact). Continue to have a wonderful time and congrats to Jim's mom for keeping the pace with you guys!

LA Adams said...

Ok, I'm sold! I'd love to go! What great descriptions, you are really a great writer.