It was absolutely our most anticipated tour… the one that would take us to Tuscany!! And it was everything we hoped it would be. It was basically like a dream. Gorgeous countryside, olive oil, wine and cheese everywhere! We asked the tour guide to accidentally leave us there, but he sadly wouldn’t comply! We saw three main places, Montepulchiano, Montalcino, and Piensa. Montepulchiano is a city built into the top of a mountain. They did it for protection against their enemies but I loved it because the view was breathtaking. Montalcino contains one of the most famous Italian wineries and we got to do a tasting and have lunch there! We had Bruschetta, Pecorino, White beans, Garbanzo beans, Panzenella (an old Tuscan veggie dish), pasta, and wine! Obviously this was my favorite day. When we moved on to Piensa, where the Pope has his summer residence, we were delighted to find the best gelatto we had yet experienced in Italy. The Tuscans do everything right! We actually learned the the use of the arch was actually stolen from the Etruscans by the Romans! The Romans made it popular but who knew they jacked it from their predecessors?! If we ever get to go back to Italy, we will stay put in Tuscany for the WHOLE time. We seriously couldn’t get enough.
That night we stayed with our host through AirBnB!! It’s a great way to save money by literally staying in people’s extra rooms!
The only thing about staying with people at a “bed and breakfast” is that you have to eat their breakfast. Italians just have weird breakfast period but this lady was all about the strange carbs. Non-perishable wrapped up croissants, biscotti, and toast was on the menu. STRANGE!
It was the hottest day yet but still we chose to walk around the city to see the Colosseum, Palatino Hill, Aventino, and Trastevere. The ruins were just incredible. It’s amazing that something so old has lasted so long. We felt like we were living history. I did cry when I saw the Colosseum. I was just overwhelmed that I was standing in a place where people died for their faith while others watched and laughed. The thought still makes my stomach turn a little.
After the ruins we walked on to Aventino. Our tour guide told us we had to go find the Er buco della chiave all’Aventino (the view from the keyhole), there would be a majestic sight to see. So we were determined to find this mysterious door! We got lost in Aventino of course, but we met up with a lady from Spain who was also trying to find the keyhole! Luckily her Spanish translated a little better than our broken “ameritalian” so we found it together! I can’t tell you what the view is because you HAVE to go see it yourself. All I can say is it was totally worth the trip. P.s. Check me out in a skirt and sneakers… oh yes, rocking Italian Tourism since 2012.
Told ya- it’s a secret!!!
We were feeling tired and hungry but decided to get lunch in Trastavere. Big mistake. Not only was it A LOT further than we thought, but we hadn’t checked the time and we arrived during the middle of siesta. Small towns in Rome take their siesta SERIOUSLY! Not even a bar (coffee shop) was open. Nothing. We were an hours walk from home and had about two and a half hours left of siesta and we were starving! So we decided to turn the town upside down and try to find something to eat. Needless to say, two hours later we stumbled across a touristy section that was just opening up for dinner (Italians don’t open for dinner until at least 7:30… this section must have had a lot of tourists to start opening at 5!). We replenished with salmon pizza and all the water we could handle.
We somehow had the strength to walk home where we quickly showered, changed, and headed out to meet up with our friends Kristen and Tyler Wilkinson! They were in Rome on their babymoon and we got to spend some time together! We took them to that wine bar I told you about in Part One and enjoyed a great Italian dinner together! We moved on to the Trevi Fountain and took pictures of each other throwing our coins in!! Tyler found a rose on the ground and gave it to one of the rose sellers as a “gift” and then followed him around asking for one Euro. It was the most I laughed the whole trip! We ended up going back to their hotel and drinking wine and eating Nutella until midnight. What a fun time with friends in Rome!
We left Rome the next day, but not before eating lunch at an Italian McDonalds. What a nice restaurant! Our Big Mac was made with Focaccia bread, fresh parmaggiano, tomatoes and lettuce. We paid for it though! I think it cost $9 Euros! Crazy. OH and they also had a full scale McCafe bakery!
We stayed at a hotel by the airport for the beginning of our stand-by journey home. We get to fly for SO cheap because Zach’s dad works for American Airlines but the catch is we never have an actual guaranteed seat. So we just waited and checked the flights and in the meantime TOTALLY took advantage of the beautiful outdoor pool. It was like an oasis after all that crazy city life. I was so thankful to have some rest.
The next morning we realized that flights out of Rome were just too full for us to jump on and while we would have loved to be stranded in Italy, we were running out of free hotel nights and ready to be home. So we hopped on a plane to London which had a much more open flight schedule. Such an adventure! We got to spend the night in London on another free hotel pass and we ate dinner at a local pub. Let me tell you, I had NO idea how much I missed “other” food! That, combined with the deliciousness of this particular Fish and Chips dish and my plate was cleaned! We also enjoyed London pub ale which is served at room temperature with very little bubbles. Different, but really good.
On our way to the airport in the morning we got to ride a double decker bus!! We sat in the double part even though no one else was on the bus because it’s just cooler up there! I think it brought us good luck because when we got to the airport we received the good news that we had been upgraded to First Class!! A 9 hour flight that spans a 6 hour time change is most definitely a good time to fly First Class. We were greeted with champagne, hot towels, pajamas, Bose noise canceling headphones, and our choice of Scallops or Beef Tenderloin for lunch. CRAZY! Zach and I felt like kids in a candy shop while most of the other First Class people (who probably fly it all the time) put in their earplugs and fell asleep. Not us, we ordered food, watched movies, and hung out! It was the perfect ending for our Italian adventure!