Trastevere Food Tour

If you’ve followed along with me, you may have read about a food tour we did in Florence. One of our favorite things we’ve done in Europe. So we thought we’d try another one 🙂 This time we booked a tour with Eating Italy Tours.

Our party had 4 adults and 4 kids (ages 1-12). We didn’t pay for the baby because she wasn’t eating her own portions, but the other kids we did pay a discounted rate for. The kids did great on the tour. We all got a little bit of history and the kids were kept entertained by all the snacks and treats! Our tour was in the Trastevere neighborhood on the south side of the Tiber river. It was wonderful to be guided around the area, because we probably wouldn’t have do it on our own and our guide knew exactly where to go for the best stuff!

Here’s a peak at some of what we sampled.

IMG_6269

IMG_6283

IMG_1188IMG_1193IMG_1194IMG_1201IMG_1222

IMG_1233

Here we are being led through the back part of a bakery. Seeing where the pizza and foccia are made! And yes I’m pushing my stroller right through there.

Not pictured here are the artisan gelato spot, ristorante where we ate spaghetti carbonara and ravioli, the ancient wine cellar, and the cookie bakery. Definitely come hungry to a food tour. By the end, my husband’s stomach hurt so bad because he hadn’t moderated his portions well at the beginning. Take your time and sample everything, but be careful not to overdo it. It isn’t a cheap thing to do on your trip, but from my experience food tours are well-worth the money! Our nephew grew very fond of our guide Francesca. He was a little heartbroken to say goodbye to her.

IMG_1253

Francesca and our nephew, best buddies!

As a side note, in Rome these water fountains are everywhere. It is fresh running drinking water. I found them to be a life saver, especially when in most other european cities water is only purchased by the bottle and often more than beer or wine! Bring water bottles around with you and fill up whenever you see one!

IMG_6352

Our nephew demonstrating how to turn it into a water fountain you can drink straight from if you don’t have a bottle.

After all the walking during the food tour, we decided to find a place to sit down and sip some drinks. IMG_1295

And baby girl decided to test out a Vespa.

IMG_6363

Later that evening, we miraculously made room in our tummies for some dinner. We chose a restaurant not too far from the Trevi Fountain. We put some tables together outside, and after being in the stroller most of the day, my daughter was ready to move around. She set off crawling down the street and sidewalk. Of course, she ended up covered in dirt and dust. Before I could sit her down to wipe her down with baby wipes, this sweet Nonna scooped her up and practically bathed her in the bar of the restaurant. It was so cute. I’m not used to getting help like that from strangers, and in this instance I did really appreciate her helping me out!

IMG_1367

Wondering why she’s getting washed off by Nonna.

IMG_1376

Getting some water before dinner.

We closed the night by wandering back by the Pantheon, isn’t it gorgeous at night?! I just love going back through these pictures, Rome is a wonderful place to visit! Food, architecture, history, so much to offer!

IMG_1447

Wandering Rome

After touring St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning, we spent the rest of the day wandering the city. The beautiful thing about Rome is there are churches, ruins, monuments, fountains, something to see around almost every corner. Not far from the Vatican is Castel St. Angelo.IMG_0705

Exploring Rome can be quite exhausting. There’s lots to see, and if you’re there in the summer it’s hot, hot, hot! Rome is very walkable, but all that walking can wear you out. Make sure to slow down and stop for breaks! Enjoy a cold one or some gelato, then head out again!

IMG_0720

Beer time for the mamas!

IMG_0745

IMG_0831

Bernini’s Four Rivers Fountain in Piazza Navona.

IMG_1042

IMG_1064

IMG_1089

In the ancient Roman Forum.

A note on strollers in Rome. I’m not sure if there’s a perfect answer on this one. This rickety umbrella stroller wasn’t ideal for the uneven cobblestones, and gravel paths through the forum. But it was ideal for easy folding and carrying up and down stairs. My daughter did ride in it most of the time and I was glad to have it to give her somewhere to nap. Carrying her in the Ergo the whole time would have been really hot and tiring for me. So take it with a grain of salt, and realize there’s no perfect solution sometimes. Just make the best of what you have!

IMG_1114

IMG_1155

Eventually, the sun started to go down on the city. Rome is magical at night. You absolutely have to walk around and enjoy the charm in the day and in the evening.IMG_1400

IMG_1425

Famous gelato spot.

IMG_1442

Vatican Revisited

My hubby and I had visited Rome and the Vatican on a previous trip in 2012, but it was our family’s (who was visiting from the states) first time. The best thing we did on our first trip to Rome was to wake up early to get to St. Peter’s Basilica right before opening time. IMG_0511

Getting a picture without hoards of tourists around is a big bonus to getting there early. Also, you will be able to wander the basilica without being crammed in a crowd. The crowds start arriving a couple hours after opening time. So take it from me, get there early and be done looking around before everyone else gets there! Just a quick FYI, it is free to enter the basilica but to tour the Vatican museum you need to purchase a ticket. And it is highly recommended you make a reservation online or book a guided tour to avoid waiting in extremely long lines in the hot Roman sun!

IMG_0571IMG_0577IMG_0613

The family decided to climb the dome. Because I tend to have issues with heights, and tiny spiraling staircases, I opted to stay down below with my daughter. I had a terrible time climbing the tower at the cathedral in Cologne. I felt sick after what seemed to be never-ending twisting stairs, and had a hard time enjoying the view. Since then, climbing towers and domes has been very low on the priority list for me. But if you don’t have the same issues, you should absolutely do it! I mean look at this view…incredible!

IMG_0639

Photo credit to my brother in law!

IMG_0652

The dome on the left is the Pantheon.

While everyone was ascending the magnificent dome on St. Peter’s, I was below trying to manage a 15 month old. If you haven’t visited St. Peter’s you should know that it is a quiet atmosphere. It is a holy place where people come to not only tour, but worship. It is really important to be respectful. I was doing my absolute best to keep my toddler happy and quiet. The last thing I needed was a crying fit. So when my daughter decided she wanted to crawl instead of walk I had 2 choices: 1) repeatedly pick her up and put her on her feet, risk crying outbursts OR 2) just let her crawl. I chose the latter.

IMG_6157

In case you were wondering, the floor of the basilica is not clean.

IMG_6148

We ended up leaving the basilca shortly after the crawling episode and waiting outside for everyone to descend. I thought that a bit more appropriate than letting her crawl all over the place. What are you gonna do? Pick your battles when traveling with a baby!

We spent the rest of the day wandering the city, more to come!

Colosseum

In the summer of 2014 we had some very special visitors from Texas, our family! They met us in Germany, then we flew all together to Rome for four days. I never actually wrote a post about it (shame, shame)! So of course almost two years later, the details are a little foggy…oops! However, I’ll still share some of the pics and how we spent our time. Enjoy!

We stayed in a two bedroom apartment and were within walking distance to the Colosseum. Not bad for a morning stroll…

IMG_0254

We spent one day touring the colosseum. The big kids seemed to like it as much as the grown ups. Even our little girl enjoyed toddling around the ancient ruins. My biggest take away for visiting the colosseum is to pre-buy tickets online or purchase the Roma pass. Both of those should allow you to skip what can be a very long line at the entrance. On our first visit to the colosseum it was just my husband and I, we downloaded a free audio tour via Rick Steves. It was nice to get some more detailed information about what we were looking at. Highly recommend it!

IMG_0302IMG_0345IMG_0380IMG_6047IMG_6058IMG_6095

After touring the colosseum, we walked a little further to the Trastevere neighborhood and this riverside strip of restaurants, market stalls, and entertainment. It can really be a lively area, lots to see and do. If you haven’t checked it out yet, put it on your list for next time!IMG_6119

Capri

Best breakfast ever= breakfast on your private patio overlooking the Italian coastline.  Yep, our hotel was awesome.  They deliver breakfast each morning so you can stay in your PJ’s and enjoy the view!  We loved it!

We had signed up for an excursion the day before.  Our boat left about 9 AM and sailed from Positano out to the island of Capri and all around it.  We had a small group which was great because there was plenty of space on the boat and it was more intimate.  This was hands-down Hubby’s favorite day of the whole trip.  I loved it too, but had a little seasickness get in my way-again.  I get motion sick, what can I say!

Setting sail, ciao Positano!

With Capri in the background.
caves
beautiful water

trying to feel better
Taking a dip in the Mediterranean.

We got to sail all around the island, stop at different places to swim and then also got a few hours on the island to do whatever we wanted.  We met another young couple on the boat that we got along with really well.  So the four of us went straight to the beach.  The boys brought some snorkel gear and snorkeled most of the time.  Us ladies just hung out in the water close to shore.  After the boat trip, Hubby and I had dinner and watched the Eurocup.

We left the next morning to go back to Rome.  It took pretty much all day to get back there.  We got in and went out to dinner to one more area of Rome that we weren’t able to get to earlier in the trip.  We went to the area just south of the Tiber River and wished we would’ve gone there sooner!  It was awesome!  There were tons of restaurants along the river along with carnival games, booths selling different items, and much more locals.  If and when we go back to Rome that will be the first place we head.  It had a really fun atmosphere and a lot of personality.  We only took one picture that night, and of course it doesn’t show the area at all…

Rome has drinking water flowing out of these fountains all over the city-make sure you carry a water bottle so you can refill it!

Italy was AMAZING!!! We loved every place and everything we did.  We will definitely be going back someday, and if anyone wants to visit there, we would love to go to Italy with you!!  Our next adventures will be with my mom and sister, and we can’t wait to add some new cities to the list!

Positano

Our final destination on our grand Italian adventure was Positano on the Amalfi Coast.  We took a bus from Sorrento to Positano.  I hear the drive was gorgeous with beautiful coastline and rocky cliffs.  However, I had my head down for about 90% of the ride, trying not to be nauseous-the roads are super curvy and the A/C on the bus wasn’t exactly pumping.  Ah the joys of motion sickness…

I felt much better getting off the bus when I saw the view.  Paradise.

 We quickly found our hotel, dropped off our bags and changed so we could head down to the beach.  The streets are lined with boutiques, art galleries, and made-while-you-wait sandal shops.

We found a small market shop and grabbed some picnic supplies and sunscreen.

Giant lemons were all over Italy!

Then we spent the day relaxing in the sun!  The water was beautiful, but our wading got a little cut short in the afternoon because we kept seeing jellyfish!  We saw probably 3 of them, and that was enough for me.  It was kind of cool to see one, and luckily we saw them before we got stung.

After the beach we went back to the room to get cleaned up and then had a car pick us up and drive us to dinner.

View from our room’s terrace, not too shabby.

I wish we would’ve taken better pictures at dinner, but when you’re in the moment, it’s kind of embarrassing to be the tourist taking pictures in the close quarters of a restaurant.  Anyway this restaurant was hanging on the hill, overlooking the ocean.  The tables were literally across the street (small street, but still) from the restaurant.  So the waiters had to cross traffic to get to us.  We both ordered pasta with lobster (me) and crab (Hubby).  We thought we were just getting pasta with some chunks of meat in it.  My plate came out with half of the lobster and his with a huge crab with the biggest claw I’ve ever seen!

You can kind of see my lobster through the wine glasses, and yes-I’m wearing a bib
Giant crab for dinner.

Another wonderful meal in an idyllic setting!  We had one more day in Positano before our trip was coming to an end.  The plans for the next day were to hit the high seas…

You Wanna Go a Sorrento? A No Problem!

We got up pretty early the next day because we had a bit of traveling to do to get from Rome to Sorrento, and we wanted to maximize our pool time.  We caught the first train we could to Naples, easy and no problems.  Then from the Naples train station we had to go downstairs and find the Circumvesuviana train line which is a separate system from the Trenitalia system we had been using.  Luckily for us the timing worked out where we bought our tickets and the train was supposed to leave less than 10 min. later.  So we go down to our track, see the train there and hop on.  Once we had squeezed into the standing room only car, and the doors were shutting, Hubby said, “I don’t think this is the right train.”  Off we were, and we realized he was right, we got on the wrong one!  This train was not going to Sorrento.

So a local sees that we messed up and offers his help, “You wanna go Sorrento, a no problem!”  He shows us the chart that explains we want the blue line not the red line, but tells us in broken english to just get off at the next stop and catch the next train that stops there, it will be the right one to take us to Sorrento.  So we thank him, get off and wait for the next train.  Sure enough it’s the right one, but it is so crowded that there is no possible way for us to get on.  So then we start to panic a little.  Now what are we going to do?  What if the next Sorrento train is just as crowded?  Maybe we should try to go back to the main station?  When is the next train to Sorrento coming?  So we decide to go across to the track that’s heading in the direction of the Naples station where we started, hoping it would be easier to get on the train to Sorrento there, where most people are getting on, instead of waiting for another full train.  As we are discussing our options and trying to pull up train schedules, another local notices us and says, “You-a wanna go-a Sorrento, a no problem!”  He repeats this phrase several times while telling us we should go back to the main station and try again.  Stressful, and comical all at the same time.

Thank goodness for our helpful Italian friends, we went back to the station and were able to get on the next train “a no problem” and even scored some seats this time.  We made it to our hotel by about 12, which isn’t bad considering we got a little delayed.  The rest of the day, and the entire next day was spent lounging by the pool, reading, and taking in the view.  Much needed relaxation after the heavy sightseeing in Rome.

View from our room.
Mt. Vesuvius in the distance.
About to head out for dinner.
Tiny winding roads in Sorrento.
Beautiful orange trees everywhere.

Dinner on the water, love the ice bucket for the wine that hangs over the railing.
Dinner with a view.
Ending the meal with some limoncello.

Night time on the beach.

 Our hotel had a couple shelves of books you could borrow to read by the pool.  I borrowed one, and I’m not sure why but the thing just kept falling apart on me!  A section of pages would come out one after another until it was all completely separated from the cover.  Also at one point while I was reading I heard a snap, and felt like something hit my glasses.  I looked around and took them off, nothing hit them, but the frame just snapped.  That’s what you get for buying 5 Euro H&M glasses I guess…

Damage done in Sorrento.

Sorrento was a much needed chance to relax and recharge.  Though 2 days next to a pool lounging made my husband a little antsy.  Luckily we were on the go again and venturing to one more place before we left Italy to return to Germany.