August 05, 2012

Rome... Days 1 and 2

We arrived in Rome yesterday morning. The Rome airport was nothing like I expected. It was... smaller. It's also not like other big city airports I've been in. It has a very... functional, minimalist, run down feel. It served its purpose, but it reminded me of the time when I got off a plane in Newark, my first visit to NJ, to meet my husband's extended family, and I thought, "Oh, Dear God, please do not let New Jersey be like this..."

Fortunately, it was not and nor is Rome like it's airport either. So the saying, Don't judge a book by it's cover, should have an addendum that states and don't judge a city by its airport.

A driver picked us up and took us to our hotel. Our travel agency had arranged everything. We do believe we received the only driver in Rome who didn't speak any English.

I think he may have been one of the sweetest old men I'd ever met. Cheery and non-flappable, we whistled our way through Rome to our hotel, as conversation was limited due to the language barrier. He teased my kids, had an amazing whistle... like yodeling, hard to describe, and did all the big hit movie songs. He drove probably 5 mph and I think we got passed by everyone including bicyclists, but we got here safe and he was kind.

It was a good introduction to Rome.

There are a couple things happening on this trip. We have been given a great gift as a family to get along (mostly) and enjoying the same things and each other's company (usually). So this trip has given us a great bonding opportunity, an ability to grow close before my eldest leaves for college next year. When kids get to high school, you become splintered.

We are fortunate.

Yesterday I found frustrating, I was beat, I wanted a bath, and I hadn't had a decent meal in over 24 hours. But last night, as we'd finally checked in, bathed, napped, ate and then started to walk and tour, it was far better.

And although people speak English everywhere, all the buildings are written in Latin. If Italian is written, I can muddle through at a 1st grade level. Between my years of French and my sons' Catholic HS English teacher who pushed understanding the Latin roots of their vocabulary, and since I helped them study, if the Italian is written, I can get a feel for it.

Latin though, in it's purist Ancient form, carved into buildings is a different gig.

Last night we were in what they call a Piazza, it is a large gathering place, like a large plaza, and there were restaurants, performers, artists, and throngs of people of every nationality milling around and enjoying themselves.

But what is the historical significance? I could tell. I could tell that there was something historically important, but even with our books, you can't find it all.

You can walk through Rome and just pass this large building with a long row of Roman Numerals (Thank you Mrs. Patterson, my 4th grade Math teacher that taught us Roman Numerals) and a Pope's name across from a fountain with Neptune stabbing an Octopus.

What do you gather from that? Nothing. I just knew it was cool, but couldn't figure out when, why, and for whom this was all insignificant.

But that is the cool part of Rome. What I've described is the norm. You're walking along, and BOOM! big Roman building that you know was probably BC.

Today, we had invested in a private tour guide, an indulgence that was worth every penny. If we were to spend this kind of time saving for the trip of the lifetime, we want to get the most out of it we can. She was able to explain last night's building (an old palace) and the fountain. There are so many, it is difficult to find it all in our guidebook.

I feel certain we saw and heard things we'd not have heard and her being a thousand year generational Roman, added a very fun and wonderful flair.

Bones in Rome has been funny. It's all a bit too much or him. He's not really mature enough for it, but I know one day he'll appreciate it.

T said to me on the side yesterday, "You know Bones is going to use that butt washer. He's going to feel like he has too. And we're going to have water... all over our bathroom!"

Heh. We will see. I'm not saying a word...

Tonight we are going to Mass at a church quite a ways away, so we are taking public transportation! Two birds, one stone... Mass in Latin, in Rome, taking public transportation.

We toured a beautiful church we stumbled on today... St Ignatius. Odder still... the same name of the church my husband attends at home.

We spent an hour amazed... and I lit a candle for Lex. I prayed for peace for his family.

We are off for dinner!

Posted by Boudicca at August 5, 2012 09:27 AM

Bless you for Lex's candle and prayer. The loss is still fresh. Glad you're enjoying you trip.

Posted by: Tom at August 5, 2012 11:15 AM

I hope you are having the time of your life! It occurred to me that not knowing the history of every building you see will allow you to extend your visit, in a way. Just make sure to photograph everything, and then you can do the research once you get home - if there is not a tour guide handy to give you the information on the spot. :)

And ... take a picture of the water all over the bathroom. You know you will want it for later.

Posted by: PeggyU at August 5, 2012 01:29 PM

I hate seeing all these random spammy comments on good quality blogs like this. It's such a waste.

Posted by: michael kors outlets at August 5, 2012 10:58 PM

"I hate seeing all these random spammy comments on good quality blogs like this. It's such a waste..."

You mean like the shit you leave, michael?

Anyway... eagerly awaiting stories about Bones vs. the bidet...

Posted by: diamond dave at August 6, 2012 03:17 PM

I am so glad you arrived safe and sound. I know it's going to be an amazing time. If you pass St. Peter's Bascillica, my Uncle Edward and Aunt Brenda were married there many moons ago. Very cool.
Can't wait to see the photos. Have fun and love to everyone.

Posted by: pfb at August 6, 2012 08:10 PM

I've been to Rome before, so much to see and do, but be alert, Rome can be a dangerous place. A little advice: If you're walking next to a road, walk on the inside right of your husband, and if you're carrying a bag, carry it on your right. I saw two people on mopeds or motorcycles drive by who was on the outside...closest to the road, and use a hook to snag the purse or bag. I saw this happen twice.

Will you be going anywhere else besides Rome?

Stay safe, and have a great time.

Posted by: Yabu at August 7, 2012 05:35 AM

I hope you have the time of your life ((all y'all's lives!) in Italy. Having just come from a place with a rich historical legacy, I know how awe-inspiring it is to see those ancient stones... to feel connected.

Apropos of Yabu's comment, you do have to watch out for pickpockets (in Rome, especially). Frequently these are gypsies... not always. When a horde of 'em pile on to a bus with you, be sure they keep their distance.

I hear the food there is pretty tasty. Except maybe in Venice.

We'll be looking for full debriefs at regular intervals. Have fun and be safe!

Posted by: Elisson at August 9, 2012 12:36 AM

I teared up at your lighting a candle for Lex - thank you! Such a beautiful thought!

Please take lots of pictures, so you can share them with us.

Be safe, have fun, remember to put your feet up and relax for a bit every day...

Posted by: Mary at August 10, 2012 11:45 PM