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Trip report - Mother and daughter trip to Rome

Trip report - Mother and daughter trip to Rome

Old May 5th, 2005, 11:19 AM
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Trip report - Mother and daughter trip to Rome

I have been reading these boards for several months, and used a lot of the information to plan my trip to Rome with my daughter, Michelle. It's been more than a month since we returned, but I thought it was better late than never, and I'd better give back a little for all the great advise I got.

A little background: This was the first trip abroad for my 16-year-old daughter and my first time as "tour director". My previous trips had either been with my parents or with my older sister when I was in college, so I just sat back and let everyone else do all the work back then. This time I was in charge, and it was a whole new experience for me. I never even thought about doing a tour - I don't want anyone telling me where to go, especially on vacation. So I bought a lot of books and read a lot of web pages and figured out exactly where I wanted to go. Then I spent a lot of time narrowing it down to what thought I could fit into a week, rather than a year. Here's what we ended up with:

Day 1 - Travel day - We left home on Saturday, March 16, and flew US Airways out of Philadelphia to Rome. We arrived at about 8:30am, and, just as I had planned, there was an Italian man holding a sign with our name on it, waiting to wisk us to our apartment. I had rented the apartment through an outfit called Web-Rome-Hotels.com, and it was perfect for us. Here's the website: http://www.web-rome-hotels.com/Web-R...del,Pavone.htm. We were met by a representative that explained everything to us (in perfect English) and we found the apartment very clean, very small, and nicely located. It cost 682 Euros for the week. After we dropped our luggage off, we went out and saw Castel Sant Angelo, then walked up the Tiber to Piazza de Popolo. We checked out the church, then proceeded down past the Spanish Steps (very crowded) and down Via Condotti. Michelle loved that, as she's always looking for great places to shop. Heeding the advice of the boards, we made sure we stopped for Gelato and pizza before going back to the apartment and collapsing for the evening.

Day 2 - church day - We started off with Chiesa Nuova, then we went to Torre de Largo Argentina, where we viewed the ruins/cat sanctuary. As a cat lover, I loved that place. The old ruins were just littered with sleeping cats! Then up to the Pantheon, where Michelle wasn't terribly interested but I found awesome. Next was Santa Maria sopra Minerva, then past the Pie díMarmo (the big foot, which was hiding behind a parked car and hard to find) to the Column of Marcus Aurelius and the Trevi Fountain. The fountain was very crowded, so we didnít bother with the coin, just took some pictures and went to find something to eat. We had lunch at a café near there, then made our way past the Quirinale (where the presidentís house is), saw some more fountains and statues, and got to the Basilica Santa Maria Maggiore. That was big, and really pretty. Michelle was suitably impressed by it. After that we went to the train station to get tickets to Napoli for Wednesday. At the Termini I found the automated kiosks for ticket reservations and very easily got the tickets. We then found a metro and a bus to take us out to Via Appia Antica and the catacombs out there. Michelle didn't like the metro experience - we were packed on literally like sardines. Once off the bus, we took a leisurely stroll down the Appia Antica past the Tomb of Cecilia Metella and to the Catacombs of San Sebastiano. Afterward, we bussed back to the Termini, then found a bus to take us home. Boy that was a long day.

Day 3 - Vatican day - I left Michelle sleeping and went to look for a few sights in the morning, like Fontana delle Tartarughe and Palazzo Farnesina. I found the fountain and stumbled over the Teatro di Marcello, but the shoes I was wearing started tearing up my feet, so I didnít find Farnesina. I did have a nice walk across the Tiber to Trastevere before I took myself home to find bandaids. After patching myself and having lunch, Michelle and I went for our tour of the Vatican with Context Rome. It was very long and detailed, so Michelle got pretty bored with it, but I found it interesting. Looking back, I wish we had stayed and explored St. Peter's more afterwards, but we were both tired after being on our feet all afternoon, so we just headed "home". We had a nice dinner at a restaurant in Campo de Fiori that night. As for the names of this or any other restaurant we visited, I don't remember. The food was good, but I'm not a foodie and I don't remember the details. After dinner and gelato we tried to find an internet cafe where Michelle could IM her friends, but we were unsuccessful. She had to settle for a pay phone to call her friend Katie, but that kept her going for a little while.

More coming...
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Day 4 - Herculaneum. We got up very early to get to the train station on time. We made the train and had a 2 hour ride to Naples, where we got tickets on the Circumvesuviana Ė the local train around Vesuvius. We chose to go to Herculaneum instead of Pompeii because I had heard that Pompeii was very large and hard to see in one day. We saw most of Herculaneum in a couple hours, which was enought for us, and it was really a neat place to explore. We then had a nice lunch near there. I got a bit nervous on our ride on the Circumvesuviana back to Naples when a group of gypsy children came through our car like they were casing the joint, but they didn't cause any trouble, fortunately. We had a bit of trouble with a cancelled train on the way back from Naples to Rome. The men at the information booth told us to get on a different train, but the conductor there said we couldn't take that one. Luckily, we found a nice off-duty train man that helped us out by talking to the conductor, then getting us back to the Termini when we ended up at a different train station in Rome (the Tiburtina?) Once there, Michelle was happy when we found an internet café near the Termini. That evening we found a Trattoria near our apartment. We were actually too full after that for gelato!

Day 5 - The Forum - We did a little shopping around Campo de Fiori in the morning then went to find our Palatine, Colosseum and Forum tour with Context Rome in the afternoon. We both found that one more interesting than the Vatican tour. I would have like to have spent more time in the Forum, though, but they kicked us out when it closed at 5:30. Thatís a place Iíd really like to go back and explore some more. We ate at the apartment that evening, cooking up the stuff I purchase in Campo, then went out for gelato

Day 6 - last day - I had made reservations for Villa Borghese at 11am, so we headed up there first. We saw the museum, then tried to fit in two more churches up around Via Veneto, but they were closed at the time we were there (between noon and 3pm). We caught some lunch then did some souvenir shopping along Via Nazionale. Michelle made out like a bandit. We went home and packed, then dinner out at the same Trattoria as Wednesday, then more packing.

Day 7 - Home again - I had arranged in advance for a car back to the airport, and we had a ride of our lives, nearly smashing a bus (inches away! Inches!). The driver never missed a beat, but got us safely to the airport. We blew the rest of our Euros at the airport on books and candy, and had a pretty long and uneventful trip home. We flew out at 11:15am and arrived home at 10:30pm, and we figured out it was a 22 hour day.

It was a wonderful vacation, but definitely too short to see all I wanted to see. We would ride the bus and see all kinds of interesting looking things that weren't even on my list, but I simply must go back and see. Next time, though, it will have to be at least month to really take in all the sights and have a chance to take a few more side trips. Michelle says that she wants to go with a friend when they're in college, so she must have had a pretty good time, even if she did have to go with her old mother. She was a great traveling companion; although we did have some fights, we did pretty well together. By the end of the week she was my bus expert and map assistant. Good skills for her to have for her next trip!

As for the "what to wear" issue, I wore black or beige pants with fairly nice tops most of the time. The one day I wore jeans (to Herculaneum) I felt underdressed. My daughter, however, wore typical American jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers and definitely looked American. It didn't bother her - she thought I was overdressed. I did have two people stop me and ask me questions in Italian, so I must have blended in fairly well.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Hi wvmom, thank you for sharing your visit to Rome. I would imagine this is a trip that you and your daughter will remember forever.

Once one goes to Rome one always needs to go back, so know that you will. The longest I have stayed is two weeks. A month would be heaven!! On her last visit my daughter spent 5 weeks in Rome and complained after she got home "it was not enough time". But isn't it wonderful to have a reason to return?
Best wishes.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Hi wvmom! There's never enough time in Rome! Thanks for sharing your trip report, it sounds like you and your daughter had a wonderful trip & saw a great deal for a first visit.

I'd have tossed the coin at Trevi for "insurance" though. Trish
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Old May 5th, 2005, 12:48 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to post a report. I enjoyed reading it.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:07 PM
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Very nice trip report, wvmom.

I am very impressed with your apt. find - thanks for the web-link. 682Euro for a week in the heart of the centro storico is a great bargain! Good for you!

Also, I agree with you that seven days is definately too short to see much there. I too, will return soon to see some of what we missed.
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Old May 5th, 2005, 01:09 PM
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Thank you for sharing! What a great experience to share with your daughter.

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Old May 5th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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I enjoyed reading your trip report, it gave me lots of great ideas for when I visit with my mom this June.

How long did it take you to get to Herculeum from Termini? Do you remember how many euros the ticket was for the trip, as well as the entrance?

Thanks!
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Old May 5th, 2005, 06:22 PM
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Nice report,
nice saga of Rome with your daughter.
Cliff
Morgantown, WV
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Old May 5th, 2005, 08:40 PM
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What a wonderful report, wvmom. My sixteen year old daughter is going to be spending a week in Rome next month with her school group, and she wants me to ask you what Michelle bought on Via Nazionale! I got a chuckle about Michelle needing to call her friend--isn't that the way with these girls. My daughter is exactly the same.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 04:12 AM
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Thanks, everyone, for your kind replies. This was a wonderful experience for both of us, and the reason I chose to take Michelle was a) to give her a chance to see a little of what's outside the US; b) have a chance to enjoy a trip together before she's gone off to pursue her own life; and c) I knew she'd go along with whatever I planned (to a point).

tpatricco, I consider the "tossing the coin in Trevi" one of those things that I missed, and now *must* go back to Rome to do it.

iloveitaly, it took about 2 hours to get from Rome to Napoli, then 1/2 an hour or so to get to Herculaneum on the Circumvesuviana. Tickets on the Circumvesuviana were around 4 Euros for the round trip (I think). Tickets from Rome to Napoli were about 20 Euros, but Napoli to Rome was around 30 Euros. I'm not sure what the difference was. For admission it cost 10 Euros each, but you could get a ticket for all the Vesuvius sites for 18 Euros.

Mermaid, my daughter would have liked to get more, but she ended up with some Italian shoes (white sneakers!), and nice top, and an "Italia" jacket. My souvenir was a nice watercolor that I got from a shop on the Corso Vittoria Emanualle near our apartment. I hope your daughter has a wonderful time there, and let her know there are plenty of internet cafes around the Termini area.

Tuscanson, I'm also from Morgantown (small world!).
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Old May 6th, 2005, 06:12 AM
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I almost forgot - if anyone wants to see my pictures, they're at http://tinyurl.com/74a6l.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 06:32 AM
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Hi, sounds like you and your daughter have created some great memories. I tried to look at your pictures, but it didn't work..........
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Old May 6th, 2005, 06:47 AM
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Make sure you don't include the period at the end of the sentence - that gave me an error, too.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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It was wonderful to read your experiences with your daughter.It was my dream to take my two kids there but just could never swing it finacially.
I know even if she does not express to much about it now ,she will down the road when she really realizes where she went and just how much she appreciates her mom taking her.
I took my daughter on two cruises at 14 and 15 years old. I knew she had a good time but she never said much as far as how much she appreciated me taking her etc. She is now almost 18 and it's amazing now how i hear her talk about it.Those memories are with her forever.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 07:33 AM
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Thanks for the great report! We are going in June with 2 teenage boys - they better find an internet cafe someplace near Campo d'Fiori!
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Old May 6th, 2005, 07:58 AM
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wvmom I loved your trip report. I am going to be in Rome with 3 teens at the beginning of July. We will be there only 3 days. (This is the end of a month long trip.) I was thinking of one of the tours so they could get an over view. Which would you recommend? The kids are 15,16,17. I will also have my mother with us and she can't do alot of walking.Did your daughter like the Borghese? I was there last year and loved it!! My daughter is into art, but 15 year old son not so much. We are taking this trip for the same reasons as you exposure to travel will change their lives. (We Hope!) Ciao
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Old May 6th, 2005, 10:42 AM
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wliwl, good luck finding that internet cafe. Our apartment was in the Campo area, and we never did find one near there. We may have been looking at the wrong times, though - some of the ones we did see seemed to close pretty early.

kmh7, Michelle liked the Borghese, but we did not take a formal tour there. We went through the gallery and checked everything out, but we were done before our 2-hour allotment was up, and went on our way. Michelle did not like the Vatican tour. She liked seeing the art, but the tour was just too much "talking" for her. Despite being a good student at school, I guess she doesn't want to learn too much on vacation. We both liked the tour of the Colosseum and the Forum better, but I'm afraid it may be too much for someone that has trouble getting around. There are a lot of hills and stairs to navigate.

I have a 15-year-old son as well, and I will be taking him on vacation next year (as long as his grades are OK). I won't, however be taking him to Europe. He would never be able to appreciate all those museums and churches. I'll be taking him SCUBA diving in the Caribbean instead.
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Old May 6th, 2005, 10:55 AM
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Great pics wvmom! Any tips for taking such clear pictures inside? You had some incredible shots of altars, frescoes, etc. Did you use a flash? Looks & sounds like a fantastic trip. I'll be there with my mom in a week and 1/2! Can't wait!
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Old May 6th, 2005, 11:10 AM
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No, I did not use a flash at any of the churches, as it is not allowed. I used the setting on my digital camera for outdoor low-light scenes, which suppressed the flash but adjusted the lighting automatically. I still had a *lot* of trouble getting photos that were not blurry. In the best photos I braced the camera against a wall or a railing to help steady my hand.

Have fun on your trip!
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