Rome: Props & Flops

You can stop rubbing your eyes in disbelief. It really is a new post on the blog that you’re seeing! After what may be my longest hiatus ever, (2 weeks!) I’m back. Try not to judge. However long it usually takes to recover from jet lag, it takes twice as long when you’re in your first trimester. Traveling is fun. But slightly less fun with an unborn baby in tow. Even with the added hassle, this trip was well worth it. Italy was amazing. Mike & I needed a break from our routine, and it was fantastic to spend the week exploring a new place together and just having each other’s full attention without the distractions of life and work.

Now, welcome to my first edition of Props and Flops. Other bloggers have a recurring post where they discuss their favorite things and their not-so-favorite things, so I thought I’d give it a try. And I thought, what better way to start my Props and Flops than to make it about our recent trip to Rome! I will include a few photos from the trip, as I have been verbally harassed and cyber-bullied about not posting any yet ;)

So here goes…..

This week I’m giving Props to:

1. Our amazing hotel in Rome, the Mecenate Palace. This place was fantastic. Great prices and super friendly staff who spoke great English. (This came in handy since Mike & I basically butchered Italian every time we attempted to speak it.) We told our travel agent that we wanted someplace very European, (no American chains, of course) but American enough to have a private bathroom. Hey, I’m still a spoiled American at heart. This was perfect. It was in a gorgeous, not-too-touristy part of the city, yet very close to Termini station, which is the biggest subway/bus/train station in the city. We couldn’t have been happier. So props to you, Mecenate Palace!

2. The Vatican. Ok, I’m not Catholic, but The Vatican is pretty much the most amazing place I’ve ever been. Having traveled to around a dozen countries, I’ve seen a lot of cool, old churches, but St Peter’s blows them all out of the water. Seriously. Just the size alone is breathtaking, then add in the fact that there are Renaissance masterpieces everywhere, and you’ve got a pretty amazing place to visit. I mean, a great view of the city, fantastic collections in the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel all in one place? Who could ask for more?

3. Italian Women. Italian women are amazingly beautiful and ridiculously stylish. They inspired me to work on my wardrobe. I was trying to look my best on vacation and trying to rock my new pudgy mid-section (thanks to baby), but these fashionistas just left me feeling frumpy. However, I admire them for setting the standards of fashion, and being able to trek across the city in stiletto boots. Props to them.

It’s still Fall in Rome. Amazing.

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We got out of the city one day and visited Assisi and Orvieto. This is Assisi. If you’re in Italy, please do yourself a favor and visit this place!

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At St Peter’s Basilica. Handing my giant SLR to a random person and asking them to take our photo is scary, but worth it!

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And here are the Roman Flops:

1. Public Transportation. Call me a small-town girl if you will, but I could never get used to using public transportation. You have to fight for a seat, only to realize you’ve ended up sitting next to a dude who had way too many onions in his pasta. Not to mention I had a near-death experience when a popular bus route got way overcrowded. Now I’m not talking the typical, “hey, this bus is rather full”. I’m talking, “oh my, the doors won’t close properly anymore and I’m being pinned up against the wall by a tall Italian man with his armpit directly in my face.” So not fun. I love the privacy and nice smell of my own car.

2. Lack of fresh air. Apparently, there is no Surgeon General’s warning about cigarettes in Italy. Yikes. I think 99.9% of the population smoke. Add all of the second-hand smoke to all of the fumes from the busses and motorbikes, and well, I’m pretty sure my lungs were hating me. I guess if all of the pollutants mean that I’ll lose a week of my life, it was still worth it to spend a week in Italy, but it did make me really thankful for the fresh air of my small town.

3. The Euro. Darn you, Euro, for being so strong! How’s a girl supposed to shop ’til she drops with such a terrible exchange rate? We were mostly using credit cards while we were there to avoid having to keep lots of cash on hand, but I had some cash on me that I wanted to exchange. So I walked into a bank and handed them $160 US Dollars. What do they hand me back? $100 Euros.┬áMi scusi? How much was that? What happened to my $60? Oh yeah, it was eaten up by your Euro! Mr. Obama, can you do something about this?

We visited the Trevi Fountain after dark, and I think that was the best way to see it.

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Standing atop a million steps. That was the story of the week. The Ancient Romans really loved their steps.

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My adorable hubby of 5 years!

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And you have to have a picture of The Colosseum. A sports stadium with a 50,000 person capacity built in the 1st century? Nice work, Romans!

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Kylie - Great pictures Heidi! It looks like you guys had a wonderful, well deserved time! :)November 21, 2009 – 12:48 am

Ashley McCormick Photography - Swooooon…. my favorite photo is definitely the one from Assisi. I miss that tow so much :) I think you need to blow that one up big for your house. Amazing!November 19, 2009 – 4:35 pm

Lauren Kelly - Amazing Heidi…. What a chance of a lifetime and I’m pretty sure this made your photography heart really happy!!!! Pure paradise for the photographer in you I’d imagine!!!! :)November 19, 2009 – 2:26 pm