Travel: Rome, Italy {Day 1}

It's been roughly 9 months since our trip to Europe; I figured it's about time I reminisce & share :)

What do you think about when you hear the word Rome?
History. Cobblestone streets. The Pope. Vatican City. The Coloseeum. Pasta. Wine.

Well, Rome is all of those things, and so much more.  To be honest though, I'd be lying if I said I wanted to go back anytime soon.  Don't get me wrong, Rome is amazing.  But it's also filled with millions of tourists.  What we saw & experienced in Rome was surely once in a life time, but to my surprise, Rome was a hustling, bustling big city, just without skyscrapers.  Heavy traffic, no parking spots, cafe's with coffee counters that were 4 people deep...  For some reason, when I think of Rome, I think about stepping back in time.  I wasn't quite prepared to be surrounded with so many other tourists, constantly being worried about pick-pockets, gypsies, and people selling selfie sticks at every corner.

Most people would jump at the chance to visit Rome, and rightfully so.  It's one of those places everybody should experience at least once.  I guess this small-town Wisconsin girl just wasn't quite prepared for such a busy city.  And in Rome's defense, we did visit ALL the touristy spots, never  really going off the beaten path (we went with a tour group, so we really didn't have a choice).   So it's no wonder our days were shared with thousands of other tourists.

Our first day in Rome was fairly mellow.  After a long overnight flight from Detroit, we arrived to Rome about 9:00 am.  Getting through customs was a joke – there was no organization at all, and it was like fighting your way through cattle, in a hot, smelly airport.

Once we finally got through, we found our Globus Tour bus & made the 1 hour & 45 minute trip to our hotel.  It wasn't far from the airport, but traffic was crazy!!  I thanked God every day that we didn't have to drive ourselves – traffic in Rome is complete chaos & parking is virtually impossible.

Roman Streets

Bumper to Bumper
People in Rome apparently use bumpers for their intended purpose... good luck getting out of that parking spot!

I wanted so badly to take a little catnap upon arrival, but Zac wouldn't let me (jetlag is a very real thing, people)!  We showered & decided to prance around the city (wandering only a few blocks from our hotel) on foot, before we needed to meet our group for our welcome dinner.

We felt like complete idiots when trying to order our first lunch in Rome, but quickly caught on to the Roman ways.  Yell. Maybe cut in line. And if all else fails, point to what you want.  Don’t plan on eating inside the café because generally, there is no seating.  Don’t ask for butter, ranch, or ketchup either, because there isn't any. 

We ate our sandwich on-the-go like true Italians.  And it was super delicious – the perfect combo of meat to bread to salt ratio.  Plain, but very tasty.


After walking around for a while, I was sweating bullets & needed a cool down (we went at the end of May, and it was HOT! I'd hate to be there in the dead of summer, yikes!)  We found a cute little lemonade shop, literally in the middle of an intersection.  Once we braved the cross traffic & entered the shop, I quickly realized that Zac & I were the only ones in the busy little place who spoke any English.  So I did the only thing I knew how to do -- I pointed to what I wanted & talked really loudly & slowly (as if they were going to understand me anyways... they're not hearing impaired, we just don't speak the same language, duh Katie!)


I ended up overpaying & walked out with an icy drink as sour as a green gooseberry (I don’t actually know what that is, but it sounded like a good analogy).  It neither quenched my thirst, nor cooled me down enough, so we stopped by another little roadside pizza café to get some water.  

Pizza shop

But that was another let down. Italian lesson #2: always ask for agua mineral naturale.  Otherwise you will get sparkling water. Which I despise.

Here’s a sampling of the Roman surroundings near our hotel:

Roadside flowers

Roman architectureBeautiful architecture, everywhere!  These are homes (apartments) -- aren't they darling?!

Roman laundry

Roman Housing

Zac & I noticed how people actually used shutters for their intended purpose -- they are not just decorative.

Painted car

wrought iron fence


Streets of Rome

Roman details

Roman blooms

Rome was in full bloom!  I was surprised to see colorful plants & trees scattered about the city.

Lemons in Rome

Oranges in Rome

An old, beautiful church, with a mosaic facade.

Roman Church

Roman Church

Door; Rome

Roman architecture

Hotel Albani staircase; Rome

Random: the spiral staircase in our hotel, Hotel Albani Roma.

After wandering a couple hours by ourselves (and surprisingly not getting lost), we made our way back to the hotel to meet the group we’d be traveling with for the next 12 days (they were all wonderful people, by the way).  We were escorted to dinner at Ristorante Mino – a lovely, authentic (and highly recommended) Italian restaurant where we ate entirely too much food:




Pasta; Rome

Pasta #1.

Pasta; Rome

Pasta #2.

Pork; Rome

Main dish.



Dessert; ice cream; Rome


With full bellies, we survived our first day in Roma!

Stay tuned for Rome, Day 2 (think: Vatican, Colosseum, Pantheon, etc) & the rest of our travels through Italy & France!


  1. thattaboy! way to represent the WISCONSIN BADGERS! :) GO BUCKY! (sorry, i'm a sconnie!) haha

  2. thattaboy! way to represent the WISCONSIN BADGERS! :) GO BUCKY! (sorry, i'm a sconnie!) haha


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