Ciao my friends! I would say it’s good to be back but it’s pretty horrible. I woke-up in a haze at 5am last Friday morning with no Italian roast coffee, no view of the Mediterranean sea and, worst of all, my kids were still with me after 15 days of non-stop travel. But, I’m getting way ahead of myself.
On Thursday, May 19 my family and I embarked on a trip to Italy that would take us from Rome to the Tuscany region and finally to Sorrento on the coast, in just 13 days. It was amazing, horrible, exciting, terrifying and a complete blur of wine, pasta and gelato, the way every great Italian vacation should be.
I’ve decided to replace the usual rundown each Monday with a slice of life from the trip, with some added categories of course, to try and recap as much as possible. Since we started our adventure in Rome, and since I’m still running about six hours ahead of east coast time and cannot think straight, I figured it was the best place to start.
And, just so you know, I plan on being completely obnoxious with all my newfound Italian language, will be purchasing a scooter to whip around my town with, intend on including limoncello as a staple in my diet and may take up smoking. I’ve been changed.
WEEK OF MAY 16, 2016
So I had all these grand ideas of what running though the Italian countryside would look like. None of them included a ridiculously steep and winding road, with no shoulder, where Fiats, scooters and Smart cars whip around with reckless abandon but, that was exactly what I encountered at our first hotel in Rome. The hotel was about 15 minutes outside of the city and on top of a mountain which was excellent for your eyeballs but treacherous for your running routes. I’ve run in a lot of questionable places in my life but, I never even thought about actually running in the streets of Rome once I saw that. Insanity!
The first hotel we stayed at boasted a running track that was 800 meters long. It didn’t sound ideal but I figured I could do some speed work on it and, it was better than risking my life on the streets. However, the “track” once I actually found it, turned out to be a mixture of stairs, rocks, dirt and parking lot that was maybe 400 meters around. The good news was that I found the loveliest bathroom adjacent to it, which we know is basically every runners dream.
Another very cool discovery were the lion statues scattered around the grounds. I felt like I was running with them…or from them…or whatever, it was just very cool.
And, of course, the boys could not wait to climb all over them.
So basically anyone riding a bike though the streets of Italy is insane. That is all.
One of my best swims ever was in Rome at the hotel pool. Now this pool was not like ones we have here, oh no, this one basically encouraged drowning, or, better yet, dared you to survive a casual swim. You see, there was no shallow water. None. Not even a gentle slope of bottom, anywhere in the pool. There was a very teeny tiny ledge on one side where I could stick my nose and mouth out of the water if I stood on the extreme tips of my toes. Naturally, it was amazing for lap swimming.
One morning, around 7am, I headed down to the pool and was the only one there. It was a beautiful thing to be swimming laps in an outdoor pool with the sun shining and the promise of another amazing day in Rome!
Rome is definitely all about the shopping! It’s funny because I kept feeling like I was at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas, which I know is horrendous but, I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually in Rome, Italy. Surreal.
Of course the boys sniffed out the Disney store like bloodhounds.
Before leaving for Italy I would have been hard pressed to tell you when the last time I had pasta was. Now, I can tell you that while there, not one day went by when I didn’t have pasta. I was eating more spaghetti off of the boys’ plates, chowing on my own gourmet dishes and savoring every single last morsel of carbs, cheese and deliciousness. Oh Italy, you are a foodies dream come true!
Also, every restaurant is called a “pizzeria” even though they have fancy dishes including fish, steak and pasta. We asked the concierge twice about this restaurant, our first night in Rome, because it was called “Paul’s Pizzeria” and we wanted to make sure it wasn’t just pizza. He thought we were dumber than we looked. #StupidAmericans
Also notice there is no one else in the restaurant. It was 7:30 which is almost considered lunch in most of Europe. By the time we left (with two sleeping boys) at 9:30pm, the place was filled! This would be an ongoing trend.
So I just need to tell you up front that I drank wine just about every single day we were there and I have zero regrets.
I perfected the hangover run, which I’m not sure I should be proud of, but I am. In fact, Garmin should have some sort of badge with an algorithm of drinks consumed the night prior vs pace maintained the following morning.
When in Rome…you do tours of everything.
THE TREVI FOUNTAIN (ONE OF MY FAVORITES!)
VICTOR EMMANUEL II MONUMENT (Il Vittoriano)
LIMO TOUR OF ROME AT NIGHT (BECAUSE IT’S SO DIFFERENT IN THE DARK)
THINGS I LOVE
- All the food, all the time.
- All the wine, all the time.
- The coffee. Although, they ration it out in tiny little cups so you have to order about 15.
- The gorgeous surroundings of an ancient city.
- Learning something new everyday
- Eating something new everyday.
- Meeting people from all over the world!
- Realizing people from all over the world love Americans, despite what is happening politically right now.
- Having these mémoires with my family.
- Being unplugged.
THINGS I DON’T LOVE AS MUCH
- The eight hour flight to Rome after the four hour drive to JFK.
- The smoking! OMG everyone smokes. Gross.
- Not knowing the language. #helpless
- The insane drivers.
- The dirtiness of the city. Lots of garbage, graffiti and construction.
- Having to peel prawns from their shells and then stare at the carcasses on your plate. Ew.
- Relying on random Wi-Fi and playing a game of not using too much data roaming on my phone.
I read The Outliers and The Kind Worth Killing while I was there. The Outliers is one of the best I have read in a long time and I cannot wait for the next one! Let’s just say the ending leaves you begging for more.
Since I have no pictures of me reading, here’s a nice statue of guy and his snake…
Of course it was statues like this and, the hundreds of naked paintings, that had the boys giggling like crazy and declaring several of them “inappropriate!” which lead to a lot of explaining from me and having to overuse several proper terms for human anatomy. I can only hope they share this information with their classmates and teachers. #TheNakedBodyisBeautiful
We all know that European futbol (American soccer) is basically a second religion in Europe. We saw this phenomenon in Spain and Portugal and the tradition continued in Rome and throughout Italy.
One night, while leaving the hotel, we saw crowds of people at the entrance and all kinds of paparazzi, being held back by barricades. I was psyched thinking at any moment George and Amal Clooney would be arriving. However, much to my dismay, we later found out that the local futbol team, Juventus, was staying at the hotel for the National Championship game to be held in Rome.
The fan frenzy continued and, the night of the big game we could actually hear the crowd of 100,000 people from our hotel! And, of course, there were fireworks…
RANDOM PICTURE FROM ROME
This was the boys’ most favorite souvenir by far. Obviously I’m failing at parenting but succeeding in social media so…
[Tweet “When in #Rome! A tour of #food, #wine and #futbol from a random #American athlete “]
How have you been? I’ve missed you!
Have you ever been to Rome?
OH MY GOODNESS I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
Nothing to add.
Now Im wondering about all the laundry and if you get a vacation from the vacation at all? A tiny child respite? 🙂
I adored this.
Thank you so much Carla. It was truly amazing!! And the laundry – OMG just gross. I was at least able to pack all of it in one suitcase on the way home and I have been doing it ever since. My reprieve with the boys will be short-lived – they are out of school on Wednesday! Help me.
And you just made me want to go to Italy 100000 times more than before. Everything is gorgeous. I really need to find my relatives that’s still live there to hook me up. Btw – missed you!!!
Absolutely you do! It is a must see!!! And I missed you too :-)))
Awesome trip!! I would love to travel to Europe some time. I’m glad you had a good time!
It is definitely a trip worth taking if just to get completely immersed in another culture. Thanks Kris!
This really is the best vacation recap I’ve ever read! I think it takes skills to write a vacation post without putting the reader to sleep! Seriously.
And I want Garmin to make that alcohol/pace predictor app. I think you may be on to something.
I missed you!
And that is the best compliment EVER! Thank you so much Wendy!
I knew you would love the new Garmin idea 🙂
Missed you too!!
This is so great!! Happy to hear tha you guys had such a good time. That initial jet lag is brutal because all you want to do is have a good time and your body is like…..nope!! Glad you perfected the hangover run, I’m pretty sure you can run through just about anything. I want that steak that hubby had. Nom. Those statues we SO inappropriate lol! I totally would have had the giggles too.
The jet lag was brutal on all of us! Totally worth it but UGH!!!
The statues and paintings were hilarious though the eyes of seven year-old boys…as you know 🙂
This sounds like such a fun time and I’ve been reading your posts the last couple of weeks. I’m glad you enjoyed yourself out there and it just sounds like an incredible experience.
It was amazing! If only I could have experienced a 5k 🙂 Thanks Hollie!
What an incredible trip! Enjoy every single moment with your family!
Love love love! Makes me want to go back so bad!
You will have to take Quinn!! Thanks Jess 🙂
Yay- welcome back!! We went to Rome before kids and these pictures make me want to go back!! Maybe our kids will learn French and Italian and we’ll take them when they’re in high school and can get us around (and don’t need entertained!) I am in awe that you did the trip with the kids, but that is an awesome experience for them. Hope you recover and catch up on sleep today!
I have to say that the boys were pretty incredible. They walked a TON and suffered though some very boring-for-them stuff. They were troopers and were rewarded with lots of gelato 🙂 You definitely need to go back with the family someday!
Running in Rome last year (and Spain this year), is definitely different and hard…. all the cobblestone….Are we getting a separate tuscany rundown?? With you swimming in the sea and that last dive you took into it? …. I think I may have found the one sport at which I may be better than you…. which is running post under 6 hours of sleep after having 3 glasses of wine the night before….that is a regular occurrence in my life…I’ve mastered it quite well.
LOL!! Yes, absolutely. I will be doing separate posts on Tuscany and Sorrento (where I went swimming!) and I have been loving your running pics in Spain. Clearly we need to international vaca together…sans kids!…at least mine 🙂
Welcome back! I missed your post! I’m glad you are back!
Kids! they are the best! A couple of years ago I took my son to this Amish place, and there were Amish things all over the place, handmade, and really cool toys… He wanted a Sponge Bob Doll! and would not stop the meltdown until said doll was purchased! I’m such a sucker!
It looks like you had an amazing trip!! next time please take me with you! I’ll watch the kids while you go out with your hubby!
I admire that you have mastered the wine / run pace ratio! you will have to share your tips!
Thanks Ana! It’s good to be back if only to reconnect with all of you 🙂
I totally can understand giving into meltdowns and the boys would have gone nuts if it were not for their iPads. Seriously.
I will take you up on the offer to watch the boys so I can go back and experience some stuff without them. Thanks!! 🙂
I love your pictures and your recap, although I have no idea how you don’t remember the last time you ate pasta before this. WHAT?! I have to ask – how did the boys do with all the history, tours, etc? Do you think they absorb a lot from your trips (this one and then Spain and Portugal), or not really? I ask because I was DYING to travel as a kid but my parents refused to take my brother and I overseas because they said we wouldn’t remember anything and that my brother wouldn’t appreciate it because we were too young. I don’t think that’s true at all, so I’m wondering what your experience has been! Can’t wait to read more!
It’s such a great question and I may even do a whole blog post on it. The short answer is no – they probably will not remember details and all the history but they will remember SO much about the overall experience. In the moment, it was incredible for them. They absolutely loved meeting all the new people – they made friends with kids from England and Australia and were having these cultural discussions without even realizing it. And, they are always referencing things that happened in Spain and Portugal (when they were 5!) – what they ate, what they saw, places we went – again not a lot of detail or historical facts but who cares? I truly believe the overall experience for them from the travel on the plane to the sights and hotels to the toys and swimming makes their lives fuller better, richer – all of those things. I would encourage any parent to travel far and wide with their kids!
Ok, so I think I just wrote a blog post 🙂
I think you should do a post! To me, traveling with children seems extremely worthwhile for exactly the reasons you mentioned. They don’t need to absorb every single historical fact in order to appreciate that people from all over the world have much more in common with them than differences, and to appreciate other cultures. I think it’s awesome that you’re taking them to do all this stuff!
I love this so much. Italy is one of my favorite favorite places in the world. The last time I was there, Jasper was 2.5 and I was pregnant with Everett — every different from our previous trips! I can’t wait to take the boys there and can only imagine the amount of giggling all the statues and artwork will cause. haha the track you described sounds exactly how I would imagine an Italian track to be like! I’m so glad that you had a great time and enjoyed yourself. Welcome back! We’ve missed you!
I have no idea how you managed being pregnant and with a 2.5 year old! Wow!! And yes, you obviously must go back.
I’ve missed you too!!! Thanks Christine 🙂
Welcome back! Love this! It sounds like the best trip to Rome! I visited Rome about 5.5 years ago and was only there for a weekend, but it was in December when there were less tourists/less lines. This makes me want to go back!
Oh I think Rome in winter would be fabulous!!! Thanks Laura…missed you 🙂
I’ve been waiting to read this all day – so glad you had such a fabulous time! The streets are crazy, right? And all the dead end alleys that turn out to not be dead ends…
The Trevi Fountain was still under renovation when we were there – happy you got to see it in its glory.
Glad to have you back, but sorry you have to come back to reality. 🙁
The alleys were the best! We ate at so many little spots with tables basically on the street – gorgeous! And, I’ll be compiling my gelato collage 🙂 Vaughn managed to eat 12 I think so your record stands!!!
I enjoyed following your travel adventures on Facebook!!! What a wonderful vacation.
It was!!! Thanks Josie 🙂
“Basically encouraged drowning” LOLOLOL omg that made me laugh. And so, we are both married to celebrities. You’re married to Robert Downey Junior and I’m married to Daniel Craig.
It was the craziest pool ever!! Glad I could make you laugh and YES my husband gets that all the time and I can totally see the Daniel Craig in yours. We’re just lucky ladies I guess 🙂
Oh how wonderful it has been to follow the family in Italy! I am sure the extra pair of hands from your dad and Joanne made the trip with the boys easier too. Loved reading this tonight,and hope everyone is sleeping well and recovering from an awesome trip!☕️
It was such a wonderful experience and being with dad and Joanne made it better in so many ways – especially for the boys who think Papi is God! Sleep has been hard to come by but we are managing. The boys are doing better than the adults with handling the jet lag – go figure. Thanks Janie. Love you!
FABULOUS!!! Loved reading every second of this, Allie. And your boys are too much with their emoji pillows. The last time I was there the Rome marathon had just taken place, so I actually saw a lot of runners (and saw a bunch nearly sideswiped by cars). I love your little lion den running route. 🙂 Can’t wait for the next installments!
I cannot even imagine a marathon there! Did they actually close off streets? Crazy. Of course, that’s probably what people say about NYC.
Thanks Carly! Missed you 🙂
I love this recap!! It looks like you guys had the most amazing time ever!! Love the kids with the stuffed emojis, lol. I remember the streets being similar in Paris. I couldn’t imagine riding a bike on them!! Welcome back to reality 😉
Thanks… it’s been a slow crawl so far 🙁
It sounds like you enjoyed Rome! I love Italy so much! I fell in love with it there when I studied abroad – isn’t the culture just so amazing and lovely? I also enjoy eating bread, pizza & gelato and drinking wine daily. Ha! I agree that the smoking is gross though. Being in Europe -and Vegas for that matter- always reminds me how happy I am that smoking isn’t allowed in most public parts of America any longer!
You absolutely appreciate the non-smoking laws here – for sure!
I love that you studied abroad there! That must have been an amazing experience!!
Ahhh! I love this so much! Great pics and lots of laughs. Fran and I went to Italy in 2010 for 15 days and it was one of our best vacas. We did Venice, Cinque Terra, Tuscany, Positano and finished in Rome. I really liked Rome too, especially at night. Can’t wait to hear more! Glad you had a blast and stuffed yourself with pasta and wine. xo
Oh 15 days alone with your husband in Italy? AMAZING! Rome was very cool at night and was when I first saw the Trevi Fountain which one of my most favorite experiences from the trip!! Good stuff 🙂
Oh my gosh! Your photos are gorgeous! What a fun trip. Those lions are kind of freaky actually! The boys are hilarious running away from them.
Story of our life. No one in Brazil goes out to eat before 9pm. We are sometimes the first people to arrive at 8pm! Hello, you can’t get a reservation on a Friday or Saturday night in NYC at 8pm for your life. I don’t know when these people sleep.
You are so funny about the Garmin for hungover runs!
That eating thing must be so hard for you guys! I’m such a morning person that I cannot imagine eating as late as these people do all the time. It was hard enough dealing with it for a few weeks!!