RSS

A Roman Holiday (part 1)

07 Jul

I am exhausted. And a bit bankrupt. Okay, quite a bit.

But my heart is soaring. Because we have just returned from another trip of a lifetime. It was a bit of a whirlwind trip, but it was fantastic.

I’ve just returned from Italy. From a trip with my girls. A very special trip with my girls. We had pasta and pizza every day, and ended it off with gelato (yes, every day).

I won’t be able to share everything in one post as, for starters, I took too many pictures and experienced so much, that I will break it down into the cities we visited.

So, here we go!!

Friday, 27 June 2014

Knowing that we had a very long trip ahead of us, we all went to bed early on Thursday evening. It has been a stressful week, trying to finish off work and with last minute scares as the South African government changed the regulations for travelling with underage kids at the last minute. (The fact that Anya and I tried to squeeze in as many movies about Italy as possible, didn’t help…) But, our bags were (mostly) packed and I just had to organise a few last minute things and then we were ready for our transfer to the airport at 10:30am.

But, of course, with all the excitement, I didn’t sleep much all night and was wide awake by 5:30am. And, to be honest I was stressing a bit. What if there was a problem with one of our passports? What if they didn’t allow Bianca on the plane with her child passport? She just turned 16, and there was not enough time to get her a proper adult passport. What if??

Arriving at the airport, I was feeling a bit nauseated from the nerves. I just wanted to get through the check in, through passport control, and on the other side where we could have some lunch, relax and wait for our plane to board. And, alas…the lady at the check in counter were unable to find our booking with our surname. Really?? She tried to find it with our e-ticket numbers, but still  struggled to check us in. By now, I was a bundle of nerves, literally!

Eventually, she called a manager, who promptly took over and exclaimed, “You are on the wrong date!”. Unbelievable. 20 Minutes later we were able to collect our forex and from there it was a breeze. The passport man barely gave our passports a second look, and the next moment we were through passport control and having lunch. And I had a big glass of wine!

Finally through passport control, eagerly awaiting boarding time

Finally through passport control, eagerly awaiting boarding time

Our flight was fairly uneventful, and we arrived in Addis Ababa about 5 hours later, where we had a 3.5 hour layover. And let me tell you, Addis is not one of the airports you want to spend too much time at. A bit chaotic and tired, we boarded our plane just after 12am and were on our way to Rome. I managed a little catnap, knowing that we had a hectic day ahead of us.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

We arrived in Rome at just before 7:00am, took over the toilets, getting rid of our winter clothes, brushing our teeth and we were ready for the experience of a lifetime!

Taking over the bathroom at Fiumicino!

Taking over the bathroom at Fiumicino!

A bus ride later, we arrived at Rome Termini station. Of course, I had the address, and directions printed out, and off we were. Except that we didn’t quite know which direction…Eventually, after a few wrong turns, we finally found our apartment at at Via dei Irpini, 36. Patrizia, our friendly host, spent a full hour highlighting all (literally ALL) the most popular sites in Rome. There was no way I was going to take in even half of it, but we were armed with a marked up map, and comfortable shoes, and off we went.

After a quick lunch at Patrizia’s recommendation ‘Al Forno’, we decided to walk to the station and get a Roma Pass. This would enable us to get entry into 2 museums, discounts on more and  free use of the Rome public transport system for 3 days.

Selection at Al Forno (Bianca's picture)

Selection at Al Forno (Bianca’s picture)

Hitting the streets of Rome

Hitting the streets of Rome

First stop was the Colosseum. That is right, the Colosseum. When we exited the Metro station, I was like a child with a new toy. I could hardly contain my excitement at seeing this centuries old work of art. And it was truly magnificent. With our Roma Passes, we were able to skip the (very long) queue, and the next moment we were inside.

Magnifico!!

Magnifico!!

Inside the Colosseum (Bianca's pic)

Inside the Colosseum (Bianca’s pic)

View of the Arch of Constantinople from the Colosseum

View of the Arch of Constantinople from the Colosseum

In front of the Colosseum (courtesy of a friendly stranger)

In front of the Colosseum (courtesy of a friendly stranger)

View of the Colosseum from the Roman Forum walkway

View of the Colosseum from the Arch of Constantinople

After the Colosseum, we walked past the Arch of Constantinople, and entered the Roman Forum complex. Unfortunately, by now, the walking (don’t underestimate the effects of walking on cobblestones), the heat (it was extremely hot), the lack of proper sleep and probably some dehydration was getting to us, so the kids were less than keen to walk all over the Roman Forum complex. But, we saw the main highlights, including the Palantine hills, the house of Vestals, temple of Saturn the magnificent Basilica of Maxentius, Arch of Titus and the temple of Antoninus and Faustina.

View of the stadium in the Roman Forum complex

View of the stadium in the Roman Forum complex

The Roman Forum complex from the House of Livia

The Roman Forum complex from the House of Livia

On the patio of the house of Livia

On the patio of the house of Livia

The only remaining pillars of the Temple of Castor and Pollux

The only remaining pillars of the Temple of Castor and Pollux

The temple of Antoninus and Faustina

The temple of Antoninus and Faustina

Remains of the temple of Saturn

Remains of the temple of Saturn

Stumbling out of the Roman Forum complex, we stopped at the first and best place that sold gelato. Heavinly gelato! The start of a love affair. (The girls also loved the free wifi!).

Our first (but not the last) gelato

Our first (but not the last) gelato

I promised the girls an afternoon nap, as we had a concert planned for the evening. By now, the 15min walk to from the station to the flat seemed much further than it did the morning, but the shower and air conditioned apartment was a welcome relief after the heat of the afternoon.

A couple of hours later, we were on our way again, ready (and dressed up) for an evening of opera and ballet. The concert was held at Chiesa Evangelica Valdese, a church built in 1883, close to the Piazza Venezia. The show was called ‘Opera e Balletto: La Grande Opera sulle Punte‘ (Great Opera meets Ballet in Rome) and was spectacular.

 

 

IMG_0665On the bill were three magnificent singers; the tenor, soprano and baritone performed various arias, including Verdi and Puccini and the concert featured two dancers from the Academy of Lyric and Dance in Rome. They even performed a short dance from Swan Lake. For the first time (and not the last), I wished I could understand Italian, as the singers had the audience at their feet, with laughs and expressions that made you smile, even if we could not understand a word.

Swan lake

Swan lake

After a truly memorable evening, it took us a while to get back to the apartment, as it appears that not ALL buses in Rome departs every 15 minutes (as Google maps made us believe). But eventually we found Line 71, which ended being our saving grace a few times late at night. We fell in bed, exhausted, but looking forward to some more adventure the next day (I did promise the girls a bit of a lie in…).

 

 

The Piazza Venezia at night

The Piazza Venezia at night

And with that, it is time for me to get into bed and catch up on some lost sleep!

Ciao for now!!

(View Part 2 here…)

 

 

 
13 Comments

Posted by on July 7, 2014 in Kids, Travel

 

Tags: , , ,

13 responses to “A Roman Holiday (part 1)

  1. Eha

    July 8, 2014 at 6:19 am

    Gerda – You have put a big smile on my face as I ‘relived’ the beginning of your trip🙂 ! How you managed to do all of this after a long enough trip begun with a wee bit of stress and Q-marks, I don’t know!! Perhaps the fact that flying in from Australia there was always that diurnal variation of 9-10 hours getting to Rome – I am afraid we just normally dropped into bed for a long sleep . . .🙂 ! That evening concert tho’ would have been just ‘my cup of tea’!!!!

     
    • Justcallmegertie

      July 8, 2014 at 6:22 am

      Thanks Eha! We did manage to squeeze 2 weeks into a week, and yesterday was the first day I didn’t feel that my feet were just a disposable (sore) part of me for a week! But it was a fabulous memorable trip! Will share more ASAP!

       
      • Eha

        July 8, 2014 at 7:03 am

        Can’t wait as we always began our yearly trips with a week in Rome and looked forward to next time as soon as we left!! Love your photos as they are personal and taken from ‘other angles’ than all the well known touristy ones🙂 ! Oh, but Gerda, we took our two daughters first when they were 6 and 8 and I could tell you how different Rome looked to us after seeing it thru’ their eyes!!! I That was some time ago and I daresay the Colosseum is no longer full of sweet, small feral cats – well, my daughters, sans Italian, managed to get a lot of ‘yesterday’s food’ gratis out of our hotel kitchen and organize a carozza trip to said Colosseum for ‘pussies’ breakfast – ‘MOM, be fair, they are so skinny’!!!!!!! So a long, long line of milky bread, topped with yesterday’s smelly sardines . . . !!! And hundreds of eager pusscats and some very disapproving [or laughing] tourists off buses!!!!!!!!!

         
      • Justcallmegertie

        July 8, 2014 at 7:09 am

        How precious! Nope, definitely no feral cats at Colosseum, just loads and loads of visitors! Although it is fabulous in summer, I think I would love to go when it is a bit quieter (if there is such a thing). Found it quite a mission trying to get nice pics when every place is bustling with tourists!

         
  2. Miss C

    July 8, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I love the pics.

     
    • Justcallmegertie

      July 8, 2014 at 7:18 am

      It was fabulous! But I took soooo many pictures that it is proving quite a mission to sort and decide which ones to use!

       
      • Miss C

        July 8, 2014 at 7:28 am

        I’m sure it was. What wonderful memories to make with your girls!

         
      • Justcallmegertie

        July 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

        Absolutely!

         
  3. Manuela Krog

    July 8, 2014 at 8:19 am

    Morning Gerda – you must be truly refreshed after a long night’s sleep? Love your adventures and the fact that you do not take no for an answer in life. Gorgeous photos!

     
    • Justcallmegertie

      July 8, 2014 at 8:27 am

      Hi Manny! Very refreshed, indeed! But it is quite exciting sharing this special trip with everyone. But tonight sleep will take priority!

       
  4. Madoqua

    July 10, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Rome! Definitely on my bucket list, and your tantalising day has given my itchy feet a new round of infection! Wonderful photos which tell such a great story and show some awesome sights. Looking forward to the next installment too!

     
    • Justcallmegertie

      July 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

      It was fabulous! But also very tiring. I will try and post the next installment ASAP!

       

Leave a comment...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: