Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Roma Aroma

So, last weekend we left for Rome! 

It was our first trip there and after being disappointed in both Florence and Venice, I had high hopes.  What I found to be true is echoed in the words of my brilliant cousin, Kristen Grant,

Rome is amazing but not charming.

Alas, our Italian big city experience is summed up by that statement.  Living in a small town, we have gotten used to getting around easily - not needing a map, much less public transportation.  Even in Houston, we had our circles we ran in, it didn't seem like a big town. 

Rome is much, much different. 

It's big, it's loud, it's dirty and it has seas of the unwashed masses.  (Ok, the masses were pretty much washed, but you get my drift).  Don't get me wrong, I'm glad we went.  Everyone should see it....once.  It has so much history packed into that square mileage - it is really incredible.  So, I won't cast it in a bad light because we really enjoyed their sandwiches.  Nice change from our regional piadinas.  You could say we lived on those sandwiches (we really did).  I thought I would amuse you with our impartial observations.  Only ten, I promise.  Most of the pictures can be seen on my Facebook page (awvogel).  Enjoy!

1. It's Rome so someone always has to die.  From the Colosseum, to the Forum to the Vatican Museum, people have died everywhere in Rome.  It just seems you can't get away from it, like the city itself derives its life from the blood that has been spilled.  (Morbidly poetic thought.)

Baby Ella sleeping on the bus.
2. No one does fantastic architecture like the Romans.  Pictures do not do many of the structures justice, but by far the most impressive was the Vittoriano, the monument to Italian unification.  The scale on which this city was constructed is just mind-boggling, especially considering WHEN a lot of it was built.

3. Babies are just as interesting to Romans (and Italians in general) as the architecture and artwork.  Ella garnered so many "Bellissimas!" I stopped paying attention.  It's true, she is adorable. 

4. Our older girls are awesome sight-seers.  They walked and they walked and they walked so more.  They complained a bit about their feet hurting, but we all were after 6 hours.  They told us when they were hungry, but didn't whine.  For 9 and 6, that is truly a miracle.  Studying up on what we would see helped tremendously as well.

5. If a restaurant can't figure out how to seat a 6-top + a baby, they do not want your business.  Bad experience but a good lesson learned.  Leave quickly if they don't act quickly.

6.  I heard so many languages being spoken, I really get the miracle of Pentecost.

Sophia at the Spanish Steps
7.  When in Rome, anticipate Romans will do what Romans do.  This applies generally, along with the specific.  We rented a 3rd floor apartment, which seemed like a great idea, till the lady above us walked around in heels, moved furniture and other "activities" (*ahem*) that kept us awake in the middle of the night.   

8. The Rome of today is not the Rome of "Roman Holiday."  I figured as much, but it was hard to enjoy eating gelato on the Spanish Steps with 250 other people around.  She was so bummed about it, the picture to the left is as good a "Princess Anne" shot as I could get.

9.   I am SO American.  No confusion about it in Rome.  Nope, not at all.  Gotta own it I guess.

10. Defend for yourself.  I got really tired of being polite when people stepped in front of the stroller.  I mean REALLY FED UP because people wouldn't even be subtle about it.  They would just cut me off.  So, I stopped.  If they stepped to close and got rammed, so be it.  No apologies.  Not the most Christian thing to do, I admit.  But I decided this about the time a woman tried to push Nats (who was walking next to the stroller and being her gentle self as I already mentioned) out of the way to catch up with her tour group.  She didn't care that Natalie was a child, she just went to forcibly move her.  Not smart, lady.  The claws came out.  NO ONE MESSES WITH MY KIDS.

So - that's our somewhat impartial view of Rome.  There will be a Part Due to this as we are taking my parents there in a few weeks.  They get here next week!!  So, until then.....Do as the Romans do.  ;)

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