Rome wasn’t built in a day but we were shocked at how little time it took to create some of the amazing structures in Rome- the Colosseum was built in only 8 years and is still standing! The city really is one giant museum and we could spend years here and still not have time to take in all the amazing stories.
JET LAG: We learned that when you’re traveling from the west coast with 3 kids it’s important to take into consideration jet lag for everyone. We all ended up on different sleep cycles but the nice thing was that some of us got alone time together for an early morning cappuccino or a late night gelato hanging out in Piazza Navona. I specifically didn’t pre-book many tours since I wasn’t sure how this would go. Plus, my youngest son suffers from debilitating migraines which seem to be exacerbated by being dehydrated, overheated or standing in long lines for lengthy periods of time.
BAGGAGE: We lost a couple bags along the way so our son and daughter spent a couple days without luggage. They were troopers. The only issue was that we didn’t have the appropriate clothes to visit St. Peter’s Basilica which requires you have your knees and shoulders covered, but the tour company When In Rome was very understanding and allowed us to move our tour to the next day – our tour guide Luigi was so kind and knowledgeable!
We learned that when you are told in Italy that your VRBO apartment is on the 3rd floor, they really mean the US 4th floor. They count the ground floor as zero. Oh, and I learned not to insert a key into an apartment door unless I’ve knocked first. We are all still laughing about my expression when the woman on the 2nd (or is it 3rd?) floor opened the door and scolded me.
IT REALLY IS HOT IN AUGUST: We already knew this but believe me, it’s hot in Rome in August. Growing up on the east coast of the US and having spent weekends in Palm Desert, I thought I knew hot. In Italy it’s in the 90’s with humidity so it’s a bit tough to bear. None of the restaurants seem to have air conditioning. We figured the Vatican of all places would have it, but no dice. The only room was the Gallery of Tapestries which was extraordinary. When we got to the Sistine Chapel my eight year old son asked “How could Leonardo DiCaprio paint All of this without air conditioning?” I think he meant Michelangelo.
If you are booking a room in Rome in summer through vrbo or any other site, note that clicking “air conditioning” as a feature may not give you what you expect. Our apartment had a great location and room, however, the air conditioning was a few small machines that could never give us the relief we needed. We ended up in a Marriott. God bless the Marriott.
I highly suggest getting a “front of the line pass” for any of the tours and booking a tour that includes headsets so you can hear your tour guide. There are many tours going on beside you so it may difficult to hear if you don’t have the headset.
Also, it’s important to bring a water bottle that you can refill at one of the many water fountains around the city.
COMMUNICATING: My daughter was pleasantly surprised at how communicating with Italians was easier than she expected. Knowing the important pleasantries (please, thank you, hello, goodbye) can get you pretty far and many Italian words are already in our lexicon. Learning some Spanish helped the kids because there are many similarities and many Italians know enough English to meet us halfway. The people were very friendly!
Unlike California there are a lot of smokers. I was surprised to see vending machines integrated into the metal doors of a closed shop.
The BIDET. This is genius. With all of the other things and ideas the U.S. have adopted from Europe why would we stop here? We still haven’t mastered it’s use, and a few of our family members are afraid of it.
My daughter learned that the Lemon Soda is sour.
Of course this scene from Anchor Man had to be quoted and explained!
We are getting on the road to Pompeii today…