Rome–Our Fourth and Final Destination

Well, here we are friends. We’ve arrived, at last, at our fourth and final destination of our little European adventure from a few weeks ago–Rome.

Now, you know my love of Rome. The ancient architecture. The amazing artists. The un-replicatable (is that a word?) food. It’s all just amazing. But you know something that’s kind of even more amazing than all that? Sharing a place that you really love with someone you love.

Awwwww–aren’t I so sweet? No but really, guys–I was beyond excited to visit Rome with Chris and to see if he would fall as in love with it as I did.

And the verdict? Well of course he did!

So let’s go…back to Rome…

After catching the noon train from Venice, Chris and I arrived in Rome in the early afternoon, eager to see if our cute little apartment that we rented from airbnb in the Trastevere section of the town would be as charming as it looked online.

And can I just say, it absolutely was…

Our adorable little kitchen that Sarah, the owner, had stocked with coffee and other goodies.
The apartment was tiny, but really it was perfect for the two of us.
We had to sleep on a pull-out couch, but we really didn’t mind. It was pretty comfy.

After taking a bit to settle in the apartment (Sarah, the owner, was so sweet to answer all the questions we had about transportation when she met us to give us the keys), we headed out into our neighborhood to do a little exploring, to visit the rooftop bar at Hotel Raphael (which you may or may not remember from my trip with Steph a few years ago) and to find a nice place to eat dinner.

If you can, I’d highly recommend checking out the rooftop bar at Hotel Raphael at dusk. When Steph and I went it was early afternoon, and while that was amazing, there’s nothing like watching the sun set over the amazing city of Rome.

Too bad my camera died halfway through our drinks.

Oh well, moving on. We spent, hmmmm, I’d say about $75, if I’m remembering correctly, on four drinks at this bar, but let me tell you, it was worth every one of Chris’s pennies.

(Ya see what I did there?)

Anyway, moving on, we found a cute little restaurant that was about one street away from ours to eat dinner, called Trattoria De Gli Amici, and the food was great, but they seemed to forget about us for a little while there, and they offered us the dessert menu before our main meal came. I don’t usually like to give restaurants bad reviews, but maybe if you’re in town you don’t necessarily make this spot top of your list.

We called it a night relatively early on Thursday night because we would be getting up crazy early the next morning to join our tour to the Vatican and the Colosseum.

Now I know, I’ve already gone through tons of Vatican and Colosseum photos in this post so I’ll spare you, except for these two in particular:

We saw a wedding in St. Peter’s Basilica! Can you even imagine!
Does this face look familiar? We had the SAME tour guide for the Colosseum that Steph and I had for the Vatican THREE YEARS AGO! Absolutely adorbes.

After the tour we decided to do a bit of a trek on our own:

Of course I HAD to get a gelato…

Then for dinner that night, we headed to a bar (aptly called “Bar”), before eating. Chris did a little TripAdvisor action and found an awesome little restaurant, again in our ‘hood, that was totally delicious. If you visit Hostaria La Botticella, don’t be thrown off by the quiet solitude of the street, because everyone really is very friendly, and the food is totally delicious:

The next day we had a couple of places that I knew I wanted Chris to see, and other than that we had a free day to traipse about and do whatever we wanted:

The Pantheon
More gelato…yummmm.
The Trevi Fountain.

After the Spanish Steps, we wandered down a couple of side streets and ended up grabbing some beers at a little cafe.

After a while we began chatting with the family at the table next to us–a mom (who used to be a model, or at least that’s what they told us), her son and another older man, who may or may not have been the boy’s father, it was hard to tell. Anyway, we began talking, and they told us about this awesome park they had just visited that wasn’t too far away, where you could actually rent motorized bikes and drive through it.

Of course that sold Chris.

So we grabbed a quick slice of pizza and headed to the Villa Borghese, a gorgeous and enormous park that provided us with a full hour of bike-riding fun for only about 12 euro. The walk to the park is actually up a huge, steep hill, too, which provided us with expansive and breathtaking views of the city:

As it turned out, my side of the bike didn’t really do anything. It didn’t steer. My peddling was pretty useless. So essentially I got to lay back and get chauffeured around for an hour while taking in the views of the gorgeous park.

It really was a win-win situation.

The only word of caution I would offer is to say that it’s very easy to get lost in this huge park–so take the time to notice your surroundings as you explore, otherwise you may never find your way back to the bike drop-off.

After we had had our fill of bike fun, we took our time wandering back through the city to find our hotel.

Back at our apartment before heading out to our last dinner in Rome, I made an effort to contact a cousin of mine who I had met during my trip to Italy the month before to visit my family. First I wrote Nino on Facebook (oh, the joys of Facebook), and then called the number he supplied me with (again, through Facebook). When no one answered, and no voicemail came on, I wrote him on FB to tell him that I had tried calling, as well as to give him the number to our flat. Eventually he ended up writing me back to say he was sorry, he was a bit hung over from celebrating a friend’s birthday the night before, and that he didn’t think he’d be going out that night.

Of course, at around midnight when Chris and I were about to crash before waking up at 5 a.m. to catch our train to the airport, Nino called. “Cheryl?”

Now, Chris says that I immediately put on my Italian accent when speaking with Nino, but I, of course, deny it.

“You can come out now, I’m near where you are,” my cousin informed me.

Now perhaps, friends, if I were a different person, I would have rallied and gone out, even if just for a little while, to see Rome at night through the eyes of my cousin. I am not that person, though, my friends, and instead I promised Nino that I’d catch him on the next go-round.

Besides, on our way out to dinner that night Chris had made friends with a couple of kids who were “working” at a local bar:

These kids were probably no more than 17- or 18-years-old, and they were fascinated with us (well, mostly Chris). They talked about mopeds and working and living in Italy and how all their friends would be heading over to the bar at around 11 o’clock to party. (Mind you, when we showed up at around 8:30 it took them a while to find the stuff to make Chris’s drink, which prompted one of the youngin’s to tell us they weren’t “ready for the night” yet. Guess we’re those old people who show up to a bar early. Oops.)

It was all I could do to keep Chris from heading back out to the bar to hang out with the kids after I went to sleep that night.

Anyway, it was the perfect evening to top off our perfect trip. As I always say, I hate writing about the final leg of a trip because that means it’s actually over, but at least I waited this time, and it was nice to get the chance to relive those last couple of days in Rome.

So that’s it, friends! Our European 2012 adventure in a nutshell! Next weekend we’re heading to Harrisonburg, Virginia with my sister and her boyfriend, a friend of hers and her boyfriend and my cousin and her boyfriend for JMU Homecoming. I’m so excited! We’ve rented an awesome little cabin in the woods with a hot tub on the porch, a game room and a big grill. I just love, love, love Virginia in the fall! So look for those photos to come soon, my friends.

But until then…

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