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I Left My Kids and Indulged in a Week of Pizza and Polizia: A Trip Report to Rome and Florence

I Left My Kids and Indulged in a Week of Pizza and Polizia: A Trip Report to Rome and Florence

Old Aug 7th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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I Left My Kids and Indulged in a Week of Pizza and Polizia: A Trip Report to Rome and Florence

My trip was from May 12-19th. I've mulled over writing a trip report, but my mind was blocked with the OMG of turning 30, DH deciding to quit his job and general kid chaos. The first two issues have been resolved (kid chaos is here to stay)...I can finally begin....

After my husband told me to leave the kids with him and indulge in a solo trip to Europe, I immediately came to Fodor's to celebrate.

Big Thanks to those Fodorites who helped me work out the details of this trip.

Another big thanks to the rest of you who write trip reports: reading your adventures motivated me to keep making my own.

A bit of background:

I'm obsessed with travel. I've been to Europe five times so far and I've visited Scotland, England, Amsterdam, Belgium, France and Italy, twice.

I'm a stay-at-home Mom to three children: daughter age 4 and twin boys, 1.5 years. Yes, my hands are always full. And yes, I live in chaos.

Motherhood is a blessing, and at times, a test of a woman's sanity. My three kids have driven me to the edge many, many times. I've avoided falling into the abyss of crazy, due mostly to my amazing husband Aaron, who sees the cuckoo in my eyes and steps in to rescue us all from the fallout.

I guess crazy was on my horizon however, because by the end of December, he told me I needed a week for myself to figure out whom that "self" was when not consumed with the demands of three loud, sticky children. After the shock and disbelief wore off, which took only a few minutes, I was far away in la-la land, daydreaming about airplanes and hotels and cafes...and freedom.

After a bit of help from Fodor's and my January issue of Smithsonian Magazine, which touted "28 Places to See Before You Die," I decided I would spend my week in Rome (because it's one of my true loves) and Florence (to see Botticelli's paintings in the Uffizi -- which Aaron has no interest in ever seeing.) Because my last trip to Italy included my daughter at 1.5 years old, my main goal for my upcoming trip was to experience all that I missed before: quiet cathedrals, quiet museums, quiet restaurants, slowly drinking coffee during a quiet morning......

After I picked my destination, I had four months to get my appearance together - and I looked a mess. I showered maybe once a week. Instead of changing clothes, they were rotated. No makeup. Hair brush - not likely. What was the point, really? Where did I go other than my daughter's preschool and Target? Italy became my reason to spend time on me. Funky sweats in Rome -- totally unacceptable.

Leaving my family was fun to daydream about, but the reality was, it was gut-wrenching. I had a lot of guilt. Friends and family asked why I chose a week in Europe as a break from my life. Why not start with a day at the spa? Or maybe a weekend away, close by. I never knew how to answer this question, since jetting away did seem slightly extreme for someone who never left the house.

Then while packing my bags, consumed with anxiety and guilt, I realized that only a plane heading to Europe, could take me away from my family.

And man, am I glad it did!

To Be Continued....

mebe is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2008, 06:41 AM
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Hi mebe!

I was hoping you would have time for a trip report. I'm so glad you enjoyed your time away.

Johanna
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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I can't wait to read the rest! I do a girls trip each year so can understand the need for a break. Keep writing please
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 07:11 AM
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Yeah! Glad to see you back here. I do remember your original post.
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 07:12 AM
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I believe this is where your adventure began on Fodor's for folks that want the back story:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...4&tid=35096957
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 07:20 AM
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Hi Mebe - REALLY looking forward to this. Sometimes I want to get away by myself so I'm hoping you will inspire me!
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 07:32 AM
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I'm looking forward to your report!
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 09:18 AM
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Thanks Everyone!

I'm working on more (reviews of hotels, guidebooks), but it may take awhile...I still have to clean dishes, make lunch, entertain two boys who insist on climbing the furniture...

Itís nice to relive the memories of my solo lifeÖ.


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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 09:32 AM
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Cant wait to read more!!! Great start!
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 11:27 AM
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Iíve been blessed with two boys napping for 3 hours and countingÖ

I flew out of San Francisco on British Airlines, connecting through Heathrow. I sat in Economy Plus. This is my fourth flight with British Air and my second time in Economy Plus and my first time transferring through Terminal 5. No problems with the air line or Heathrow. I would fly with them again in Economy Plus, without a doubt.

I used Rome Cabs www.romecabs.com to get back and forth from the FCO. Excellent service, but pricy for one person. To my hotel it was 45E and my 5AM pick up was 50E.

About the Hotels:

I began and ended my week in Rome and spent the weekend in Florence.

In Rome I stayed at Teatropace 33
www.teatropace33.com

Itís a small hotel tucked down a tiny street, a few minutes from Piazza Navona -- excellent location. I had a single room for 115E. I expected the room to be tiny and it was. But it was clean, nicely decorated and had two huge windows which opened up over an inner courtyard. It was so quiet I could hear birds chirping and seagulls squawking (more about that later). I always felt safe. The walls were thin; the whole building could hear you call for help. As a side note, my bathroom window was next to another roomís window. When both windows were open, I could hear everything the two ladies discussed, including a concerned inquiry of ďare you okay in there?Ē I did not hang out to hear the response.

Breakfast was brought to your room. You pick the time (from 7 to 9, I believe) and type of coffee, cornetto and yogurt you want. I LOVED THIS! My cappuccino was always tasty and the cornetto always hot and softÖ.yum. Plus they brought a small roll with cream cheese and chocolate spread. Every day should begin with spreadable chocolate.

I would definitely stay here again.

In Florence I stayed in Hotel Casci
www.hotelcasci.com

This place is highly recommended here and on slowtrav.com. The location is a few blocks up from the Duomo and a block from San Lorenzo. The Lombardi family is very kind and helpful.

This room was also a single, for 110E. It was covered with olive green paneling lit up with a florescent light that gave me a migraine. My only window was a glass door opposite the bathroom that opened onto a tiny terrace. Okay, I thought, keep the green curtain closed and just crack the door to listen to the church bells and rain. The sounds were magical, the smell was not.

Other than the color scheme and the stench of sewer, the room was fine. I got a double bed, the air conditioning worked and it was clean.

Breakfast was in a breakfast room and consisted of an assortment of cornettos, cake, toast, boiled eggs (soft or hard). It also had internet access.

I donít think I would stay here again. I loved the family-friendly atmosphere, but not the location (I think across the river next time, but more on that later) and not my room.

I love to research a trip and I read many books, watched DVDís, scanned the internet and lived on Fodorís. Sadly, I didnít make a list of all that I read or watched. But a few favorites were:

Simon Schama: The Power of Art Ė A series on PBS that you can rent through Netflix. I love this guy. He introduced me to Caravaggio, one my favorites.

I studied Italian using pod casts on Itunes. It was free and convenient.

And I would strongly recommend going to the Library and looking at books in the Kidís Non Fiction section - especially the Eye Witness books. The history isnít all that detailed and definitely watered down, but it does build a great foundation for learning about the Roman Empire or the Renaissance. And the pictures are always colorful and fun.
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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Hello mebe, I have thought of you and wondered if you had taken your trip. I am happy to see that you did. I always remember your trip report when you, your husband a your little daughter were in Italy. And then the joyous news of your twin boys! Noisy and bouncy I am sure but you are truly blessed.

Love your comment about the bathroom windows in your Florence hotel,lol.

Now, pizza I understand but the Polizia??? Did you try to pick one up (there was one in Rome I will never forget, sigh) or did you almost get arrested pray tell.
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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Thanks for The Power of Art suggestion. Sounds like a great preparation for a trip to Italy.
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 12:40 PM
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The polizia part has me interested too! Lol...
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 02:07 PM
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Hi Mebe, I'm on the edge of my seat waiting for more.

jdc
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 02:11 PM
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Sorry to hear that your stay at the Casci wasn't ideal. We stayed there several years ago and had a great experience, and and all white/neutral room, lol! Can't wait to hear more
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 02:16 PM
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This is great! More, please!
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 02:26 PM
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Hi mebe -

I also remember the report of your Italy trip when your daughter was younger. What a contrast this trip will be! Looking forward to more . . .
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Come on, mebe!!!
WE WANT TO HEAR THE DIRT! (Polizia story)
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 03:43 PM
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mebe, as a mother of three also, I can understand why you sometimes need to get away (and I remember the days of not-daily showers!)

Looking forward to more.
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Old Aug 7th, 2008, 04:24 PM
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You have a way with words and I would love to hear the rest... and I am also interested to hear about the polizia part....
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