Monday, September 7, 2015

Where to take your parents in Europe: Rome

I seem to be making a habit of visiting the most romantic places in Italy with my Father-in-Law. Venice, Cinque Terre and now Rome.

I mean, Ian is there too but the trip is definitely a little different as a trio - erm, a foursome! Cuz on this trip we had another little traveler, baby Matilda. We are officially in the "family travel" category, aren't we?

I think of visiting all these amazing places with her being so little and feel a little bad she isn't going to remember any of it. At least we have the pictures - a lot of pictures - and all this travel experience should make her a pro before her first birthday. Absorb the beauty, baby.

So anyways, Rome. We'd only been there once before in an unintended one-day stop on our epic month+ long trip. There was a lot more to see.

 Rome Ratings:

Ratings will be done in vespas.


Bus into Rome from the airport. Do not believe their lies about having wifi

The subway system doesn't run frequently and doesn't have the most convenient stops. Buses are better but crowded and confusing.

Ditto, Ian. Two lines Rome? That is minimal. We walked almost everywhere from our AirBnB in Trastevere which was the plan - the hot, sweaty plan. Gave us reason to eat more gelato.

On the plus side, bus & train to/from the city from the two airports were not as complicated as they seemed online (although you do embark into a world of chaos trying to find out where the line is, what'cha do from the airport. Just follow the crowds). And the regional train to Ostia Antica was inexpensive and only marginally crowded. Another plus - the Romans are much more considerate to a baby than the Berliners. 

Airbnb in heart of Trastevere (boo - went to link, but listing no longer available.)

Amazing location! Very cute, functional lay-out.


Great location in Trastevere. It was important to us to be able to be in the thick of it and avoid having to use transport. Check. Nightlife at our doorstep. Check. Noise of Italy coming in through our window. Check!

But the lack of basic amenities (like toilet paper) was a little unforgivable. Plus other oddities like the oven not working. The place was super charming and the ceiling fan in the bedroom was a life-saver. Apparently air-conditioning isn't available until real summer (we were there mid-June). And the tiny wet shower where even the toilet gets wet? An experience.

Don't forget to calculate the tourist tax. At 2 euro per person, per night - it adds up.



The whole city in big sight. Even some back street is amazing, let alone the Forum and the amazing squares.

Ian tour guided us like a champ. We saw a few things we saw before and they were still magic (hello Pantheon).  Pro tips: the line to the Vatican is a lot more intimidating than it is. The Colosseum, Forum, etc. are totally worth it (12 euros is a steal actually). Ostia Antica is an awesome alternative to Pompeii. Rick Steves is our spirit animal. 

Maddy wasn't that impressed by the Vatican...or much else. Working on her taste level.


As much horse meat baby food as Matilda could stomach

Those famous artichokes
So many great food options, but sometimes it is hard to chose what is authentic and what is just cardboard pizza. Plus - the whole cover charge is no fun. With that said, we had some amazing meals.
Best food in Rome?

What didn't we eat? I was all about my hit list of suppli, porchetta, white pizza, etc. and I ate it ALL. I made an obsessive list of where I wanted to eat on pinterest. It would take years to knock off this list, but we made a dent. Best bites were a late-night
porchetta sandwhich and a hazelenut pasta.

Let's also not forget the beer scene. I drank my share of wine, but we also had plenty of brews. There are breweries all over and hip tap rooms like Bir & Fud, a hipster paradise of world brews. Just prepare yourself for the jarring drunk American accents. (Arg! Do I really sound like that?)

Pro tip: Drinking on the street is a yes! They'll even give you to-go cups. But alcohol is not allowed to be sold on the street after 10pm, so drink-up. 

Suppli, beer, pizza. Heaven.

Barcaccia Fountain


We didn't intend to go to this city the first time because we knew we didn't have enough time and I honestly wasn't sure I would be into it (I know - it's Rome). This is before Naples and I was on a anti-classics kick. I wanted somewhere different, somewhere off-the-beaten-path.

I was wrong. Rome was intoxicating. Civilized and wild. Get on the path. 

And a note on traveling with a baby: Of course the Italians love a baby. This, we expected. But the amount of stranger love Matilda got was very surprising. On the very first day, a couple from Asia asked if they could take a picture with her. Flabbergasted, we acquiesced and Ian hovered just out of frame as a complete stranger held our baby. This continued for the next four days. Most people wanted pictures of just her, but I was also included in a photo. It was fine, but what do they say when they show their photos? "Here is a strange baby I wanted a picture of like a zoo animal"?

Whatever the logic, we can't argue that she isn't worth taking a picture of. She might have been the most beautiful thing in Rome.

Altare della Patria


I seem to be making a habit of visiting the most romantic places in Italy with my Father-in-Law. Venice, Cinque Terre...
Posted by Back to Berlin and Beyond on Monday, September 7, 2015

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We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008