Roaming in Rome. Part 3.

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Roaming in Rome. Part 3.
There are so many things we did, saw and ate in Rome that don't fit into any kind of category. I shared about how marvelous it was to bring my 10-month-old son to this eternal cityhow fascinating everything truly was, especially the second time around, and how ancient this place felt. However, to leave the narrative of this trip at that would be irresponsible of me, because there were so many moments I experienced between my eye and the camera lens that were striking, enriching, elaborate and exceedingly funny. These moments were like the delicious ingredients that so sweetly flavored the whole trip for me. The outlier experiences. Things like, watching my husband dance unabashedly with my son while we waited for our pizza to arrive at the table. Like watching the pigeons primp their filthy feathers atop the statues' heads in the Piazza Navona. The curious water fountains you can drink from throughout the city and the trying on of leather goods and the munching on bruchetta while wandering through the flower district. Watching horse races in the Borghese Park and the fiats line up in a rainbow of cute and the windows open up midday. All of these charming moments were treasures, painting the trip in a truly rosy shade of optimism for me. This is the stuff of life. The little moments that make the big impact. Delicious. Precious. Unsung heroes of traveling tales.

St. Peter's Basilica, in all it's pomp and glory.

St. Peter's Basilica, in all it's pomp and glory.

My Ergo men. Everett still in his pjs, because, well... he was on vacation too.

My Ergo men. Everett still in his pjs, because, well... he was on vacation too.

Have you ever seen a car evoke such fun?

Have you ever seen a car evoke such fun?

I love Italians.

I love Italians.

I think this horse show was a rather big deal. Too bad I didn't understand any of the commentary.

I think this horse show was a rather big deal. Too bad I didn't understand any of the commentary.

You can find these water fountains all over the city. People drink straight from them or fill up their water bottles. Even though Rick Steves said the water was okay to drink, I wasn't brave enough.

You can find these water fountains all over the city. People drink straight from them or fill up their water bottles. Even though Rick Steves said the water was okay to drink, I wasn't brave enough.

For this? I was brave enough.

For this? I was brave enough.

He's delicious.

He's delicious.

Rome is ubiquitous with churches like this. They are on every corner of every street, no exaggeration. And when you peek inside, each and every one of them are breathtaking.

Rome is ubiquitous with churches like this. They are on every corner of every street, no exaggeration. And when you peek inside, each and every one of them are breathtaking.

If you follow us on instagram, you might remember when  I posted about Everett finding his (loud!) voice  in this silent church. Oops.

If you follow us on instagram, you might remember when I posted about Everett finding his (loud!) voice in this silent church. Oops.

He's made everything about my life better. Except for the ever-present eye circles. But I'll take em.

He's made everything about my life better. Except for the ever-present eye circles. But I'll take em.

Flowers wrapped in paper, tied up with strings. Isn't that from the "Favorite Things" song?

Flowers wrapped in paper, tied up with strings. Isn't that from the "Favorite Things" song?

Some kind of decadent, lemony-orange-hybrid.

Some kind of decadent, lemony-orange-hybrid.

The view the Pope wakes up to. PERSPECTIVE.

The view the Pope wakes up to. PERSPECTIVE.

Stevie pointed out that all the statues showcase old guys as ripped. Then he paused for a moment, then said, "If I could make a statue of myself, I would want it to look ripped, too."

Stevie pointed out that all the statues showcase old guys as ripped. Then he paused for a moment, then said, "If I could make a statue of myself, I would want it to look ripped, too."

That's a wrap!

That's a wrap!

Thanks for letting me share. And thanks for following along on our first international family trip; it was certainly a special one! I hope there will be many many more to come.

But you know what? I learned on this trip that adventure doesn't have to be a plane flight away. Niether does inspiration or creativity. Yes, spending time with my family in Rome certainly made me feel adventurous and inspired, and I have come back to the States full of all kinds of ideas and plans(with little time to implement everything in my heart). But! Some of the most adventurous parts about this trip were experiencing the everyday moments as a new mom, experiencing all these new things through the eyes of my darling son. It doesn't take seeing the Vatican or drinking the foreign wine to feel extra special or adventurous. But watching Everett discover pizza? Taste gelato? And laugh at the birds preening themselves in the fountains? Well gosh. My heart just comes undone. These things were truly thrilling. Yes, the wine was good, don't get me wrong. IT WAS VERY GOOD. But nothing came close to how much fun it was to push Everett on the park swing, watch him sway to the dinnertime accordion music, and marvel at discovering his voice can echo in a cathedral. 

There are adventures around every corner. Even at home. Even where everything is "regular". We just have to shift our focus to look for those moments, pause and revel in them a bit, and celebrate! I'm learning how to do this. I'm not great at it. But being a parent makes you sloooow down, so these moments are a bit easier for me to grasp these days.

You don't have to travel to Rome to pause for a moment. You don't have to travel to Rome for adventure. All it takes is a bit of patience, stepping outside the normal routines of the day, and giving yourself the moment to drink in the deliciousness of life. May there be a bit of dolce vita for us all!

P.S. - See Roaming in Rome, Part 1 & Part 2.


Roaming in Rome. Part 2.

Colloseum

Roaming in Rome. Part 2.
"This place is so old. I mean SO OLD."

Stevie just nodded.

That was all I could think and say, over and over again, as I stared at the mammoth, gargantuan, understandably epic Colosseum. This is where people have come to live, come to die, come to be entertained and fed and amused and laughed at and laughed with and it's happened over and over again. For thousands of years. It's served as an amphitheater, a killing ring, a Christian shrine, a gladiatorial playground, a fortress, and today, just a dusty, piecemeal homage to a fallen empire.

Rome. You are so, barbarically old.

Of course, this is how I felt the entire time. Though I've been here before and felt all these feelings before, it's like the first time every time. This place is special and strange, like an elderly relative with long fingers and a mind-full of stories to share, if only you lean closer and ask. And the stories, they are almost impossible to relate to, because their premise is just so old. So I was struck, over and over again, by that hypnotizing feeling of, "Whoa. This stuff is old." Walking through the Forum. With gelato, no less. Prancing down the side streets, alleys marked by slick stone and discarded cigarettes and flowering weeds. I continued my obnoxious open-mouthed gaze as I meandered throughout the palatial churches, the crumbling piazzas, down the Spanish Steps and up the hills to St. Peter's Basilica, and honestly, just over and over again. Lounging in the Piazza Navona, sipping the house wine and finding myself sleepy for all the gasping I had done. Gasping at the old, the epic, the unruly ostentatious, magnificent city of Rome. I know I sound like a broken record, but it's the truth. This city is something of a broken record, replaying and repeating it's history over and over again for each newcomer, those vibrant souls eager to learn and explore and become saturated with the wiley tales of Ancient Rome's elite.

The Colosseum. Gladiators welcome.

The Colosseum. Gladiators welcome.

across the forum
All the Colors
The Roman Forum.

The Roman Forum.

See what I mean about the sheer JUMBO-ness of this here structure??

See what I mean about the sheer JUMBO-ness of this here structure??

walking again
View from the top of the Spanish Steps. Yes, we carried our stroller down each and every one. Which means we earned an extra allotment of gelato! 

View from the top of the Spanish Steps. Yes, we carried our stroller down each and every one. Which means we earned an extra allotment of gelato! 

Us
Arch of Constantine. I think he was rather impressed with himself.

Arch of Constantine. I think he was rather impressed with himself.

The Roman Forum. I'm still struck by the fact that we are allowed to walk all over this archaeological playground.

The Roman Forum. I'm still struck by the fact that we are allowed to walk all over this archaeological playground.

Dome
fountain
I think this is my favorite street in Rome. It's just so Italian. Insert loooooong sigh.

I think this is my favorite street in Rome. It's just so Italian. Insert loooooong sigh.

Via dell' Orso. Extravagantly blanketed in wild emerald and pearl Jasmine. Adorable friend is an added bonus.

Via dell' Orso. Extravagantly blanketed in wild emerald and pearl Jasmine. Adorable friend is an added bonus.

windows
street people
I found my wedding flowers for sale on the back of a truck! Peonies for the win, for always and forever.

I found my wedding flowers for sale on the back of a truck! Peonies for the win, for always and forever.

Piazza del Popolo , very close to where we stayed. We walked through this piazza every morning and every evening. And it was always, always lovely.

Piazza del Popolo, very close to where we stayed. We walked through this piazza every morning and every evening. And it was always, always lovely.

bridged
night rider
EVERY DAY.

EVERY DAY.

Baby-free shenanigans, our children fast asleep with grandparents watching them. This is what getting drunk on gelato looks like.

Baby-free shenanigans, our children fast asleep with grandparents watching them. This is what getting drunk on gelato looks like.

Night's End.

Night's End.

Roaming Romans.
Rome; day or night... you truly slay me.

Roaming in Rome. Part 1.

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Roaming in Rome. Part 1.
Rome. The place that took a bit more than a day to build. I've been here before, but without the extreme contrast between my darling young baby son and the Ancient Rome that is, well, Rome. This place is the epitome of old. It has the market cornered on "Been there, done that". Everything in this city is crumbling and peeling, yet these structures still stand tall, erect, towering over us little people with importance and, dare I say, omnipotence. Though this was once a public playground for pagan worship and then the centerpiece for the Catholic hammer, I am still fascinated by the mystery of how this city came to be what is it. The books tell me. The tours demonstrate. But the missing stories between the milestones are what continue to beg me. Stories that are long-forgotten, lost between the years of oppression and opulence, smuggled into the backs of books and shuffled into the darkest corners in the tombs of Catacomb. Or perhaps buried beneath the Vatican with the legion of lost Popes. The stories of Rome. The nitty-gritty. The real-life. The ones that I could potentially relate to - where are those?

doors of all kind
orange and pink
open window
all that ivy

Perhaps.
I will just have to tell the stories I do know. The ones that I've lived while I was here. The first time I came to Rome was magnificent; I was dumbfounded by the ludicrous Forum and the rightfully-named colossal Colosseum. I was seduced by the bread and wine and pasta, succumbed to debauchery by the smoky cappuccino and velvety gelato. I was undone by the leather bags, the silk ties, the supple scarves, all alluringly displayed in the teasing street-side windows. The stone sidewalks beckoned me down every windy way, the impossible maze mapped only by doorway after doorway of mysteriously, decadently draped florals. The lilting tone of the Italian accent punctuated each syllable, echoing down the colorful alleys. The women tap-tap-tapping down the street in impossibly high heels. The men chain-smoking in their finest suit, dark hair a bit undone. Brooding, hollering, smirking, escaping. That's what I love about these people. They are insanely chic by owning their just-a-bit-messy demeanor. The red lipstick and rumpled dress. The snakeskin leather shoes and sweat-stained shirt, yet still, there is an allure. The peacocks are out, strutting and laughing and leaving you feeling breathless. And impossibly, unfortunately American. We just don't have this kind of sex appeal. None of us do. It's through-and-through, an Italian thing.

Canova
spanish steps

Oh.
I'll leave it to them to be alluring. I will enjoy retelling my latest escapades in Rome, which were markedly different than the last. Instead of staying out late, I was up incredibly early. Up with the birds, awakened by the clamor of my energetic baby boy. He was ready to play, eat, and see the world. So we showed him. Up, espresso, maybe a bit of biscotti, and then out the door in a swirl of readiness. We had the privilege of meeting up with our dear-hearted pals Troy and Carrie, along with their sweetheart baby daughter and their incredible parents. The 8 of us stayed in a beautiful Airbnb just off the Piazza del Popolo, in the vicinity of the Spanish Steps. The first few days we were just getting our bearings, learning how to navigate our stroller and enormous mounds of gear through the narrow doorways and down the cobbled streets. It was a challenge, but one that we were more than prepared for. We were so excited to be alive, be abroad, traveling with our son and our friends and exploring a familiar, yet completely exotic place. What a dream. I was very aware, almost hyperly-so, that we were living the dream. At least, our dream. A lot of people scoffed at me before we left town, "You're taking your baby WHERE? Why?! Why not just go alone??"  Well, we didn't want to go alone. We wanted to bring our son into every adventure, along for every ride, even if that meant slowing us down, interrupting our sleep, stretching us and challenging us.

Borghese Park

Borghese.
We did Rome. We did so much that it won't possibly fit into one post, so I'll be posting all week long. One of my favorite places that we explored was the Borghese Gardens and Park, where I tried to hop the stone fence to retrieve some low-hanging lemons. I failed at my attempt.

we three
turrets
she fountain
walking and talking
those two loves
park collage
boats and things

Pantheon.
We took Everett into the Pantheon and threw him high into the air. He giggled incessantly and, thankfully, we didn't get the stare-down like when he made a ruckus in the churches. The last time we explored the Pantheon, we did the full, Rick Steves audio tour. This time, we just kind of stared in disbelief at the domed, mathematically pristine ceiling. And tried to explain the history to Everett. He just wanted to be thrown in the air. So then we mostly did that.

panth
collage
me and ev
hole

Worth. It.
My son is only a baby, ten months old (!) but I still think these moments have impact. Greatly so. It was a pleasure to usher him along the way and begin his own adventurous, traveling journey. I want him to grow up understanding how different the world is, how the United States isn't the whole picture. How we live in a world that is vast and complex and varied and sad and happy and beautiful and disgusting and colorful and ancient and, oh, so many things. I want him to swallow all that he can, ingesting the best and brightest that our Earth and it's history has to offer. How else are we to change the world if we don't know it?

I digress.

More Italy pictures to come, all week long :)

And We're Off!

Off on an adventure!

I'm packed. Stevie's packed. Everett's packed. I really hope I'm not forgetting anything.

Today we leave for a 9-day family trip, exploring Madrid and Rome! The last time we were in Madrid, this is what happened. So needless to say, I don't remember a lot of the trip. But what I do remember... isn't great. So we are excited for a do-over! And the last time we were in Rome we toured hardcore, going underneath the Vatican and meandering through ancient Roman ruins. That trip was pretty epic, because we experienced 30 days of travel with just two backpacks and Rick Steves guiding us to and fro.

This time around, with Everett and his mammoth stroller and all the baby paraphernalia ON EARTH, we hope to take a more relaxed approach. Not necessarily touring and hitting tons of museums. Just wandering around, eating in cafes and taking in the deliciousness of the dolce vita. It feels very strange to have such a loose approach to this trip, but we figure if we set the bar pretty low, the trip will feel like a success if we just make it there without a major breakdown. And eat some gelato.

I am leaving my computer at home (gulp). I can't remember the last time I didn't travel with my laptop (it's been years), so I am excited and a little freaked about that. But I really want to detach and just experience this vacation with my family the old-fashioned way. I know I will have my hands full with my son, but I also don't want him to feel like second fiddle while mommy is blogging incessantly. So it's a big decision for me but I feel really good about it. However, my phone will be working and I will be posting to instagram like a crazy person, because, well, I'm a crazy person. So you can follow along our trip there, if you're into drooling over travel pics like I am. Also, I have a few posts ready to go, so there will be some content that I am excited to share even while I am away, so you can hang around the blog next week and there will be some fun recipes and recent travel posts to browse through :)

We are suuuuuper excited to celebrate two of our friends getting hitched in Rome, and anticipating what it will be like to travel abroad with our little baby... who is just shy of 10 months! Stevie's birthday is this weekend, too, so there is more than enough to clink our celebratory wine (or sangria!) glasses to!

For those of you who have been to Rome and Madrid before, do you have any suggestions on places or things to do/see/eat? Leave me a comment and let me know! And also - prayers for the 9+ hour flight with a baby pleeeeeease!

Love love love.