We are back home from our trip to Rome and Paris, and finally rested and out from under the heap of laundry that inevitably follows any vacation. We're still finding our way back into our daily rhythm, but we're getting there.
We had a truly wonderful time. The children adjusted easily to the time difference. In fact, when we arrived in Rome, we told the children that we should all stay awake until evening so that we would better adjust to the time change. The kids followed this suggestion but Gabe and I "put our feet up" to relax and both promptly fell asleep. We didn't sleep for long, though, and woke a bit out of sorts. When I complimented the children and told them that Gabe and I were more grumpy than they were, Olivia kindly agreed.
For the rest of the week, we tromped all over, and the kids kept up with us. Whenever someone got tired, we stopped for a gelato. We figured we would indulge them all we wanted on vacation and leave that behind when we returned home. But it did get a bit ridiculous. Because the scoops often come with two or three flavors, one day we tried: meringue-hazelnut, banana sorbet, apple sorbet, honey, chocolate chip, caramel, chocolate, grapefruit ice cream, lemon ice cream, meringue-chocolate, tangerine, pistachio, melon, lemon sorbet, grapefruit sorbet, and zabaglione. Oink oink.
Olivia began raising her ice cream cones to the sky and saying "Viva Roma!" or "Viva Europa!" By the end of the trip, we all got into the act. Aside from the gelato, I just loved wandering around those ancient roads together as a family. One of my enduring memories of the trip will be walking over narrow cobblestone streets with a small hand in each of mine.
When asked for his highlights, Oscar summed it up: "Rome period."
I have compiled a summary of our favorites for the trip, a resource that may be helpful if you plan to travel to Rome with children yourself, although the most fun, of course, is to discover the city on your own. And beyond that I have attached lots of pictures of the trip. Think of it as an invitation to come over and watch an old-fashioned slide show. Except that you can walk away from the screen anytime and I'll never know.
Books we read for the trip:
Rome Antics by David Macauley
This is Rome by Miroslav Sasek
Detectives in Togas by Henry Winterfeld
The Enemies of Jupiter by Caroline Lawrence
Our favorite Guide books:
Rome Reconstructed - We bought this from a streetside vendor in Rome. They were available all over the city. (It's different from this one). It showed the sites as they are today with an overlay of what they looked like in ancient Rome.
We booked our apartment through: Bed & Breakfast Association of Rome
Our favorite things:
The wide variety of toilet flushers as well as the sinks with the pump on the floor (sorry, no photos of those).
Visiting old friends outside of Rome near Latina, seeing the water buffalo that make that fantastic mozzarella and strolling along the beach near Sabaudia. Spotting the Maga Circe (her face is visible as if she were lying on her back), Greek goddess most recently known to us from the Percy Jackson stories.
Our least favorite things:
Graffitti on ancient buildings, and "you cannot find one square foot without a cigarette butt" (Oscar)
Gelato at Giolitti
Gelato at Vitti
Gelato at San Crispino (probably our favorite)
Da Pasquale Pizzeria for square, not-so-traditional, but very delicious pizzas
Both of Forno Campo de Fiori's locations just opposite each other on the Campo de Fiori - the bakery for "ravioli," actually a sweet pastry filled with strawberry jam or chocolate and the pizzeria for excellent pizze bianche and rosse.
Cappuccino and hot chocolate lots of places, but especially from Caffe Sant' Eustachio behind the Pantheon. (And we're not the only ones. An excerpt from Mimi Sheraton's write up about Rome for the New York Times was tacked to the back of the espresso machine).
Ditirambo, just near the Campo, which had innovative appetizers and main dishes even for the vegetarians, as well as some classics such as cacio e pepe.
Acchiappofantasmi (in English, it's "Ghostbusters") for delicious pizza and fresh ricotta.
Il Margutta RistoArte, for innovative vegetarian dishes, although we were there for lunch which was an all-you-can eat buffet (and a bit pricey), which isn't really my thing.