I am totally suffering from post-vacay depression combined with the worst jet-lag I've experienced in all of my travels (which is probably not that bad comparatively and also is much, much better today).
Coming back to reality has been hard because my trip was totally amazing. We saw so many amazing places, ate so many delicious things, and visited with some of my favorite people in the world. With all of that travel, there were so, so many opportunities for things to go horribly wrong, and somehow, nothing did. We had amazing travel karma throughout this entire trip and I'm still kind of in awe (especially after my last trip to Europe which resulted in 5 unexpected extra days in Pari$ thanks to the 2010 Icelandic volcano eruption. That was fun... until my flight got canceled the second time).
Anyway, here's what happened.
Rome: Fri 3 May - Tues 7 May
After a 7-hour layover at CDG in Paris, I finally made it to Rome early on Saturday evening. Darcy met me at the airport and we went straight to our hotel (cheap, clean, safe, friendly, centrally located) and settled in. I thought I would be in super rough shape after being up for roughly 30 hrs (I worked a full day on Friday), but I was feeling okay, so we went out for a little walk and got some dinner at Piazza Venezia (pizza and gelato, of course).
The next day we set off to see some sights. Darcy had been studying in Rome since just after Christmas, so she was a perfect, knowledgeable tour guide. We visited the Trevi Fountain, the Temple of Hadrian, Pantheon, National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II, the Roman Forum, the Coliseum and the Arch of Constantine, and the cat sanctuary at Torre Argentina. I'm sure I saw some other stuff that day too, but I was still jet-lagged and everything was a little hazy and felt sort of like I was in a dream.
On Monday, we visited the Vatican. We had some amazing, serendipitous, and at times, eerie luck on this European trip and our Vatican visit was definitely an example of that. Usually the line to get into the museum takes hours of waiting, but by sheer luck, we got there just moments before they closed the doors and were able to walk right in. The museum was great and totally overstimulating. And the Sistine Chapel was smaller and square-er than I imagined.
In the evening, we visited Darcy's old neighborhood Trastavere where we found a super cute little restaurant and I tried fried zucchini blossom (fiori di zucca) and some Roman sparkling red wine and it was so good. We finished off the night with some souvenir shopping and more gelato. I tried Baci gelato this time and it was the best gelato I had out of the three times I had it in Rome!
The next morning we had to be up and in a cab on the way to Ciampino airport before dawn because we were off to Paris! :)
Overall, I really liked Rome. The weather was lovely, the people were super friendly, the city is clearly anciently old but it didn't feel decrepit or dirty (except for maybe around Termini station but it's like that around nearly every city's main train station - well, except for Köln's, now that I think of it...), the dudes in Rome didn't really harass us (they'd say "Ciao, bella" and then if you didn't seem interested, would leave you to whatever you were doing.)
I would definitely love to go back and spend a little more time exploring and I'd also love to see Florence, Milan, and Venice.
Here's my complete Rome 2013 photo album on Google+ if you'd like to see the rest of my photos (hopefully that link works!)
Next up - Paris!