Unfortunately we only had 2 days to spend in Rome, so we were determined to get in as many activites as possible! My friend, Abby Hall, recommended a bed & breakfast to us that we ended up just loving! We stayed at Gulliver's Lodge, which was just a short walk from the train station. The owner was so sweet and provided us with maps, restaurant recommendations, and more! Our first tourist site of the day: The Vatican.
Since it was late October, the Vatican wasn't too busy and we didn't have to wait in line at all! Here we got super touristy and downloaded some Rick Steve's audio tours! This ended up being an excellent decision since we weren't doing any guided tours. We learned so much more than we ever would have picked up on our own. It was especially helpful in the Sistine Chapel, which was my favorite part of the Vatican. It was also amazing to see the Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica! Inside, we also saw some interesting glass tombs with dead, preserved popes... right before we ate no less...cool & creepy all at the same time! We finished up our audio tour and made our way out, mission acomplished. Thanks for the fun & witty facts Rick Steves!
After lots of walking, we were more than ready for a big meal! We went to this small restaurant close to our B & B that the owner recommended. It was my favorite meal of the whole trip! The place wasn't expensive so we each ordered a 4 course meal, mmm. Antipasti, tortellini soup, fettucine carbanara, & tiramisu...and every bite was amazing! The 2 liter carafe of wine wasn't as incredible...but for 10 Euro I loved it! Just when things couldn't get better, we informed that the restaurant's credit card machine is broken and they are only accepting cash...we had none. Talk about awkward! So Conor goes on a long trek to find a cash machine while I wait in the restaurant alone...and all the wine was gone! They was some rioting in Rome a few days before we arrived, so the only ATM close by that he could find was completely bashed in and not working. Conor returned with no money and tried to explain that we would have to bring it to them tomorrow. The owner was pretty nice about the whole thing, although quite distrought that his machine wasn't working, and let us leave with our tab unpaid. But of course we returned the next day to pay our debt, for which he was very grateful!
The next day we planned on going to the Colosseum and the Forum, but unfortunately the Colosseum was closed for the day. Such a big bummer, I was really looking forward to it. Instead we spent more time with Rick Steves in the Forum. I absolutely loved our time there; the sun was shining and there was so much to see! We found a great vantage point inside the Forum to get a good look at the Colosseum as well. There we listened to more of Mr. Steves' wonderful facts and tried to imagine what it looked like inside. After all the hours we logged listening to Rick, I realize now that I find his voice quite soothing. He could probably put me to sleep!
We continued our sightseeing into the evening as we walked to dinner. Our stop at the Pantheon was perfect timing as it wasn't too crowded. Conor's brother Kyle lived in Rome for three months and had some awesome suggestions! Dinner was at a pizza place called Baffetto's, and it was the best pizza I had while in Italy! Wish I could have some right now... Even though we arrived soon after the restaurant opened, the place was already packed. There is absolutely no place to wait inside, so instead a line forms around the block. We braved the chilly temperatures while waiting for a table. Thirty minutes later, we were seated right next to the pizza oven: a perfect spot to watch all the action! Our wine was served in an old flower pitcher which was massive! While waiting for our pizza, we listened to the head pizza maker yell orders at the others in his, what can only be described as, "Godfather"-esk voice. Pretty authentic, we knew we were in the right place! We also had the privilege of watching Baffetto himself in action. Baffetto is the cutest old man ever, with huge glasses and a sweet platinum white mustache, who was indirectly running the whole show. Even though the place was packed, they left a whole table open for him to sip his wine and occasionally bark out orders to his employees if he saw them slacking. The whole experience was awesome!
Kyle's next suggestion was right across the street, so we walked our full bellies just a few steps and we were at the Abbey Theater, an Irish pub. Apparently they have them everywhere! No complaints here, I'll take a cider (shocker). We had a few drinks while chatting with some friends that Kyle had made during his time in Rome. Our third stop, in the best corner of Italy, was to the Frigidarium: the absolute best gelato in all of Italy! I had a scoop of banana and a scoop of coconut and couldn't have been happier. I have dreams of this gelato still! This is a must stop the next time you're in Rome.
Later we took a night walk through Rome and saw the Trevi Fountain. The site was spectacular at night, absolutely beautiful. It was a very romantic spot, other than the many teenagers roaming around who were probably up to no good! Before we left, I made a wish...and if you've been keeping track with us on Facebook, you'll know it came true! Baby K is on the way! :-)
After visiting the Spanish steps, we headed back to our room for about 4 hours of sleep before our flight to Paris. Two days was not nearly enough time in Rome; next time, I'll be sure to extend our time there! Next blog is Paris, and then we will be done with Europe. I was not a huge fan of Paris, so maybe I'll be able to convince Conor to blog this time...