Round the World – week 12 (the eternal city)

We had a house swap lined up in Rome that looked like it had fallen through. After months of no response from our host, I had started to look for alternatives. In a last ditch effort, I reached out to the House Swapping customer service platform asking for assistance, and low and behold, I received a message from my long lost host.

Our home in the Trastevere was a go, and we no longer had to look for alternatives. Woohoo!

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We flew into Naples and were picked up at the airport by our Airbnb host, Lucca. He popped us in his small car and took off down the narrow cobblestoned streets. For the first time ever, I was SO relieved to not be driving ourselves.

There are people EVERYWHERE and banged up cars lining all the streets. You barely have enough room to make it through yourself and Lucca seems to be in the mood to show off to the three kids in the back, zipping through the streets as fast as he can.

He walked us up to our small studio apartment that would turn out to be the hottest, noisiest place on earth. Thankfully, we were only there for one night, but it was the longest night of our life as we were kept awake by the screams of the neighbours (and children!) and motorbikes till at least 4am.

There was one small queen bed that Bryan, myself and the girls piled into, while lucky Hunter got a twin to himself. It was a puzzle getting everyone to fit, leaving Bryan fetal position at the bottom right, myself laying across the pillows and the girls jammed in between. These arrangements didn’t help the sleeping situation!

If you come to Italy, here is my only piece of advice. If it looks like someone is trying to help you, or serenade you with a lovely song, they are looking to be paid.

Some guy tried to “help us” on the train with our things demanding 20 euros, a few tried to play us a song while we were having supper, only to shove their hats in our faces and insist that we pay them.

Don’t worry, if you don’t have change, they will conveniently make change for you on the spot. They’re nice like that.

We arrive in Rome 2 hours later and make our way to our second train to get to Trastevere. We choose to walk to our apartment (another 3km) as opposed to taking Hunter’s advice and take the bus since we were fresh out of change (thanks pedlars –  I didn’t even like that rendition of La Bamba!)

About a km and a half later, in the scorching mid day heat, we realize we are walking in the wrong direction and turn around. Lily is fading fast, we all are, and Charlie has fallen asleep on my back.

We pass the train station, again, and still decide to walk. Sorry Hunter.

We do finally make our way to our apartment, walk up the 8 flights of stairs and make it into our apartment. It has 2 bedrooms and Bryan and I are sleeping on the couch again. O Well, we have a terrace!

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We had the great privilege of visiting the Vatican on Sunday morning to see St. Peter’s basilica as well as a blessing by the Pope himself.

When inside the church, a Nun spotted Charlie and ran over to her picking her up. She didn’t speak a lick of English, but we could tell what was going on. Charie has this effect on everyone, everywhere. I don’t know if it’s the bright blue eyes, long blond hair or solitary dimple, but people can’t get enough of her. Always patting her head, stroking her hair, trying to pick her up and saying “aaaaaah Bella, Bella!”.

I get it, she looks like a doll.

Charlie wasn’t impressed, so the lady reluctantly allowed myself and the other two kids into the picture. I was beginning to think that this was another opportunity to fork over a few euros, but no, she told the friend she was with to take a picture with her own phone and when she did so she handed Charlie back and took off.

She simply wanted a photo for herself! That’s a new one! Thankfully Bryan was quick on the draw and we managed to snag a moment ourself, but barely.

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Apparently Hunter said something naughty.

Rome has got to be one of the most beautiful cities we have ever been in, and it is enchanting us in so many ways. It doesn’t appear to be too busy, and we try to make our way downtown after 4pm to beat the heat.

I guess while we are here, we will just have to stay up late and feast on pizza and gelato.

The kids are in heaven.

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