For this post, I thought it would be fun to describe the 10 days my family spent in Rome… from my mom’s perspective. You’ve heard me babble on and on about my experiences so far, so why not hear about it from Linnet DeBenny’s perspective? Right? My thoughts exactly :).
I’ve divided it into two separate emails she sent me (you’ll understand why) and put everything she said in “quotes.” My own personal commentary will appear in (parentheses). Got it? Here we go…
“My time in Italy was spent with my daughter Aria, my 70 year old mother, my son Anthony who just graduated college and last but not least, Ani, who is about to graduate 8th grade. From the minute we left the airport our trip summed up in one word was: a WHIRLWIND.
We started our trip packing light in very large suitcases so we could bring home the many treasures Aria had acquired during her time there. Our trip began on the 23rd of March, with a stop in New York, Spain and finally arriving in Rome on the 24th. The weather was beautiful there 60’s to low 70’s and true to Mr. Steve’s travel guide there are plenty of taxi’s with the logo their car door to give you a ride anywhere in the city for the low low price of 40E. The part that I didn’t remember was the fee for loading each bag of luggage in the trunk 1E per bag.
We had rented an apartment only blocks from the coliseum and all we had to do now was call the rep because we had arrived earlier than our scheduled time. My son’s phone was not activated yet for Italy soooo I saw a young lady across the street and kindly asked her in English if she could call this number for us and let them know we had arrived (surprise, surprise). She confirmed that we were visiting Americans and yes in her broken English would call for us. I thanked her again and again for her kindness and off she went.
3 minutes later the front door of the apartment building opened and there was our apartment representative. Aria had not yet returned from Greece so we explored the Coliseum and forum that day on our own. We found 2 grocery stores that first day within walking distance of our apartment. Wait, let me rephrase that, everything is in “walking distance”, it just depends on how fast you want or need to get somewhere. I will explain more on this later…
Our plan was to eat breakfast at our apartment everyday, pack some kind of sandwich or snack and eat a wonderful dinner every night. That was my plan and we stuck to it pretty well. The next day we went to the Trevi fountain, walked along the cobblestone streets, stopping in shops all along the way, followed by a quick gelato (naturally).
By evening we met Aria at a bus stop with hundreds of other Romans and tourists before heading somewhere, anywhere for dinner. If I sound a little impatient regarding eating and food, it’s because I love eating my biggest meal earlier in the day; preferably no later than 5 or 6:00. In Italy, however, restaurants close around 3:00 and don’t reopen till 6 or 7:00 and the natives don’t usually show up to eat until 9:00. Our first dinner was jovial, informative and decisive on what we wanted to do for the next few days. We still hadn’t made arrangements on where we wanted to go the last 6 days of our trip. And I personally wanted to wait and see how things went but this weighed heavily on Nani and Anthonys’ mind. So we decided we had to make time to plan the end of our trip.
After dinner, Aria took Anthony to get minutes on his phone so we could always be in contact with her. Our final decision was to meet Rosa, a cousin to my husband who is about 80 some years old. We had met her 12 years earlier on our first trip to Rome and I was excited to see her again. The time was set for 10:00 am the next morning along the front street of the Coliseum. It was a little overcast that morning, so I went to meet her and was going to bring her to our apartment. I watched as 100’s of children were marched into the Coliseum for tours just as it began to rain ever so slightly. Needless to say after 2 1/2 hours and one trip back to the apartment to try and call Rosa, we never hooked up that day (welcome to the world of miscommunication and living in a foreign country, haha).
Our dinner that night was a cute little red-checkered tablecloth (she would describe the color of the table cloth because she insisted we eat at restaurants with only white table clothes) restaurant that Aria’s friend recommended. The prices outside of the restaurant looked quiet reasonable, but I was a little confused by the price of the sea bass since it only said 4E. A few weekends before a dinner with sea bass cost me $30.00. What I soon learned was that it was priced per pound. How wonderful to see fresh fish before me! I was starving and it was 9:00pm when they brought the whole fish to the table and placed it before me. As everyone else received their dishes, I realized I had been given the tools to do the cutting of the head, tail and removal of bones. YIKES. After just a short moment the waiter came by and asked if I would like him to do the honors - I think that’s what he said in Italian, and I ever so graciously nodded my head :).
I think after these last few days of interaction with native Romans, I quickly realized my interaction of sign language and not trying to speak Italian, was embarrassing my children (just a little). I couldn’t help it, I took 1 year of Spanish in high school and “ola” (she meant, “hola) and “por favor” (that one’s right) kept coming out of my mouth instead of choai (she meant, “ciao” lol)
UUUUGHHH. This is toooo long Aria, I’m starting over……”
Well after receiving that email, I told her she could write as much or as little as she wanted. Now keep in mind, everything you just read all only gets you to day 3 of thier trip. We still have 7 more fun-filled, jam-packed days to describe to you! But I let her give you the spark notes version. I think she realized the intensive concentration and time commitment blogging is (thank you very much!). So here’s the story continued and with much less detail….
“Ok, I’m starting over. I don’t have time to write a story…
Once upon a time, a young lady by the name of Aria DeBenny decided she wanted to study abroad in Rome, Italy. Here Nani with much cajoling promised to visit her. Her Mom, younger sister Anielle, and big brother Anthony also decided to take this wonderful opportunity to share the adventure.
Italy, in 2 weeks, in one word, waaaaassssss a WHIRLWIND. We saw Pompeii, toured the Vatican for 3 ½ hours, spent 4 hours at a winery in Florence, and visited my husbands family one day for lunch and another for a homemade dinner (ooouuulalalalalala).
Then we spent 5 days along the Amalfi coast, found a small fishing village in Sorrento, sunbathed on their black sand beach for 4 hours and then enjoyed a wonderful fresh fish dinner. The isle of Capri was beautiful, we took 3 different buses to get to the other side of the island to shop, walk, spend 1E to use a bathroom (hahaha welcome to Italy), walked some more and found a little cove that had a rock beach. The weather was so warm that day I changed into my bathing suit standing in a corner of a building with my youngest daughter holding a towel around me (true story, that actually happened). But it was definitely worth it. The water was incredible! 3 shades of blue and the water felt likes pins and needles all over your body as you swam. Ani describes swimming under the water as, “the water was soo cold it took my breath away!”
Then it was back to Rome one night before returning to the United States. Have you caught your breath yet?! Even on the days we weren’t traveling, we were scrambling to figure out what we wanted to do next. Running (literally sprinting, ask Nani) to catch a train, bus, tram, trolley or ferry was an everyday event.
But, I must say, people outside of Rome seemed much happier than the locals in Rome – and I liked that. They just seemed to smile more and share a lighter spirit. Everyone says the Italians can tell by our gym shoes that we are Americans. But if our shoes didn’t give us away, it was the 5 of us running all over the streets of Rome that showed we had “Americana’s ” stamped all over us!
The best part of my trip happened during the 3rd day. There we were, casually walking behind my 3 children after dinner, and I turned to my mom, and said how awesome it was to share this quality time with them (I didn’t know that this happened). To see each of them show their independence and share their gifts of love with family, friends and total strangers (awwww, so precious!).
Anthony, was always jumping on the computer to find destinations and figuring out how we were to arrive at each. Aria, used her (incredible) foreign language skills and knowledge of Rome to maneuver through the streets of Italy. Ani helped by making sandwiches and keeping each of our backpacks stocked with edibles (or at least her backpack was always stocked with edibles, lol).
By the next day at dinner, however, it seemed like each of us had some sort of melt down because the dinner ended with all of us venting our frustrations. It must have been good though because it didn’t happen again. And I think we all realized we couldn’t keep up at the pace we were going.
I’m very blessed to have had this time and experience with my family. The weather, the gods, the total strangers, all seemed to be in our favor. This type of trip is not for the faint of heart, or people in poor physical condition (haha true statement). But I loved every minute of it and look forward to our next BIG adventure!”
So that’s that. What did you think? Pretty cute, right? Now you got a glimpse of the 10 days spent with my family struggling to adapt to the Roman lifestyle as I had nearly 3 months prior. It was quite the adventure and full of laughs and love. I’m so grateful they were all able to come visit me in Italy. It was exactly what I needed to help me get through the last month and I wouldn’t trade those 10 days for the world.
Ti amo la mia familglia ♥