Buon Giorno! As of Tuesday, we’ve officially been married for two months and I thought it was about high time that I post some photos from our honeymoon. Since I obviously can’t show you wedding photos yet (I have about 1/2 of them in my possession) I thought maybe these would tide everyone over. I’m kind of sad that I didn’t write this post immediately after returning to the states, while everything was fresh in my memory, but it was Christmas and then New Year’s and then we moved and Derek got a new job.. it’s been crazy! So here we are. And just to warn you this is a very long post. So if you’re more of a just-give-me-the-pretty-photos-and-quit-yapping kind of person then you can just breeze through all of my chatter, but if you want the whole story then sit back, grab a cappuccino and a croissant and enjoy :)
DAY ONE – DAY TWO
The first two days were spent flying from San Antonio > Chicago > London > Rome. Yes that was the most direct flight available. Oh and we were delayed 3 hours in Chicago which caused us to miss our connecting flight in London so we were on standby for another 2 hours there (after getting yelled at but a super patient airport person for missing our flight). We also had lots of fun with airport security.. but that’s another story we can only have over drinks sometime. Welcome to London! So needless to say we were pretty tired when we arrived in Rome that next evening.
Our hotel was really very charming. It was an old building right on Via del Corso that had super teeny windy stairs all the way up to a rooftop garden (which we didn’t get to enjoy because it was pretty cold out). And all of the rooms were very modern. I’m sad I don’t have a photo of the bed because it had the biggest button tufted headboard I’ve ever seen. It was very reasonably priced so if you’re ever in the area you should definitely consider it.
This was the view from our balcony. Rome at Christmastime is just magical.
Our first real day in Rome was very drizzly and cold. Luckily I had packed my Hunters for this occasion, which proved to be extremely comfortable for a full day of hiking around the city. I had no idea what we were going to do first and Derek was being sneaky all morning saying “just follow me”. So we grabbed some breakfast with our broken Italian (which accidentally ended up being potato pizza.. yes it’s just as carby as it sounds) and I just followed Derek’s lead. The next thing I knew he told me to look up, and there it was in the middle of the freaking city. The Pantheon. Oh hello you.
Then we headed over to the Trevi Fountain to throw a coin in and eat some gelato. I was very surprised that its just in a crowded little piazza surrounded by buildings. I had always pictured it kind of off on it’s own somewhere more open.
When we returned to our hotel that afternoon to regroup the hotel staff had surprised us with champagne!
That evening we had dinner at Piazza de Popollo and were stared at the entire time by the couple next to us as if they had never sat next to other people before. Needless to say we didn’t eat there again.
This day was dedicated to the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. We walked our little legs off that day, but it was well worth the hike. We forwent all of the arranged tours because they honestly would have just bored us considered we lived and breathed this architecture for 4 years in college. So we decided to explore on our own, at our own pace.
That evening we stumbled upon what is now our favorite restaurant. We were near Campo de Fiori so we stopped at the first place that sounded good. They had pesto gnocchi on their menu so I was sold. We became instant friends with our waitress who would humor our Italian and want to hear all about our day. We ate there every night from then on. She would bring us lots of wine, aperitivi, desserts, and lemon-cello on the house just to keep us there. It was so wonderful to have a place of comfort like that in a city where you feel so foreign to everything. So if you’re going to Rome anytime soon you must eat at Magnolia and ask for Veronika. We’re even friends with her on Facebook now :) Also. Best pesto gnocchi I’ve ever had in my LIFE.
We headed off to explore Via Borghese after eating some breakfast on (and getting kicked off of) the Spanish Steps. Via Borghese ended up being closed on Tuesdays so we decided to just explore the grounds instead. No Bernini for us :( We actually stumbled on the Zoo while we were there. We were so tempted to visit it, but it looked a little small and cost about 25 euro each, so we passed.
After an extremely long day of walking around we came back to the hotel to rest and regroup before dinner at our favorite place.
Every evening was pretty much spent like this..
By the time we got home from dinner everyday it was about 4pm in the states so we would post our pictures, checkin with family on Facebook so that everyone knew we were alive, have a cappuccino and watch reruns of Sex and The City (because it was the only thing on in English.
We were kind of getting a little cabin fever in Rome so we spontaneously decided to take the Eurostar to Florence for the day. Best decision EVER. I kind of wish we would have planned to spend more time there originally, but there is always next time! We got there in about 1.5 hours which wasn’t bad at all, and there was free wi-fi on the train. Win!
This s probably my favorite photo from the trip. I mean is this real life? And a Christmas tree? Perfection.
When we got back to Rome that evening we were starving. We asked the front desk of our hotel if they had any sweets and she prepared us a plate of christmas bread and tortes, and of course due cappuccini on the house.
That morning we had a slow start, I think we were still pretty worn out from walking all over Florence so we had breakfast in bed. And by breakfast I mean cookies. I so wish I could find those in the states! We didn’t have any plans for the day so we decided to wander around a do a little shopping, it was a nice breather from our more hectic days of crazy sightseeing.
That night I was starving at like 10pm so we scoured the area for a bar that was still open, to grab a slice of pizza. Then we wandered around the empty streets to look at the beautiful shop windows while I ate.
And ran into a thousand santas on roller blades. Amazing! We still don’t know what they were up to but they were out there all night. Maybe a santa-themed pub crawl?
This was our last full day in Rome, and we definitely went out with a bang and saved the Vatican for last. I had been looking forward to this day the most. Being a huge art history nerd I was SO excited to see so many of the pieces I drooled over in school up close in real life. I cried a lot. It was so surreal, and really nerdy. Also, this happened to be 12-21-12 (the end of the world) so we figured the Vatican was probably the safest place to be if anything went down ;)
How cute are the guards’ uniforms? Fun fact: did you know that these uniforms along with the carabinieri (police) were designed by Armani? Fancy pants.
We spent our last night at our favorite restaurant. Veronika said they had a basement in case the world was going to end and that we could all hangout there together haha. She confessed that the Italians were just as worried about it happening as anyone else.
Sorry all of our food shots have a red tint on them, but we were always sitting next to heaters.
Our flight was at 7am which meant we had to wake up at 4am to meet our driver out front to take us to the airport. Scariest car ride EVER. I’m pretty sure I saw our driver doze off a couple of times and he ran every red light and drove all over the road. My plan was to not sleep that night so that I could sleep on the plane. Genius right? Not when your plain is full of screaming babies and obnoxious Spaniards who are shouting the whole time. It’s kind of the worst feeling ever to wake up from what you thought was a long nap to see the map on the screens say you still have 8 hours left. Yikes. And two more planes to catch! Thanks to the time change though our flight really only took one day (rather than two) and we flew from Rome > Spain > Dallas > San Antonio
Check out Madri’s airport. Stunning.
We were tired and sad to end our honeymoon, and just wanted to get home.
THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT ROME:
- Everyone knows you aren’t Italian as soon as you walk up to them
- No one wears anything but black from head to toe in winter (my red and yellow pants stood out like a sore thumb)
- I can understand numbers more than anything else in Italian (which I guess is good for shopping/eating!)
- There are gypsies and there are peddlers. Gypsies are homeless and try to make you feel really bad for them and ask for/steal your money. Honestly gypsies were a cakewalk compared to the peddlers. Peddlers are usually from the Middle East and will try to sell you any cheesy gimmick, glow sticks, dancing cats, pashminas, umbrellas, gooey balls, postcards, ANYTHING for 1 euro. They annoyed me the most because they made a beautiful city feel like a cheesy theme park or tourist trap. And they would come right up to you while you’re eating dinner and stare at you with their dancing cats until you either yell at them or pay them. Very annoying.
- Being in a city during it’s off peak tourist season was kind of lovely. We were able to see how the locals really lived. They all have dogs, and all of their dogs have sweaters or jackets. No lie. I think we only saw like two naked dogs. So funny!
- If you are a woman traveling with a man, your passport probably won’t get stamped. EVER. This made me sad, I have absolutely no legal proof I entered other countries, but Derek got stamped every time.
- American stores are SO expensive. At Gap $50 jeans were 70 euro which is about $105 crazy.
- There is a whole other realm of peddlers who only come out at night and sell fake designer handbags. They will lay out their trash bags with all of their goods on top and will have someone on lookout at every corner, and as soon as the carabinieri come by they will vanish into the night. It was really interesting to watch!
- Despite the peddlers and gypsies, I never once felt threatened or uneasy the entire time we were there. Everywhere felt very safe.
- Twelve year olds smoke.
- They have condom vending machines on every corner.
- Bar = fast restaurant
- Cafe = bar
- Trattoria = sit down restaurant
- Alimentari = grocery store
- Farmacia = medicine, alcohol, cigarettes
- There aren’t traffic rules. You can run lights, drive down any lane, drive through piazzas, if you’re a scooter you can drive on the sidewalk and if you get in a wreck you just keep driving. NBD.
Just looking at all of these photos again makes me miss being there so much. It was such a whirlwind of events to get married, be surrounded by family, and then boom! be in a foreign city with your new husband.