5 Things I Learned in Rome

Things I learned in RomeA Photograph of the roundabout near our hostel in Rome at the top of Via Nazionale.

After reflecting on my trip to Rome, I thought I’d compile a unique list of things that  I learned or wished I’d known before touring around Rome. So here they are . . .

1. Ahhh Choo!-Always have some allergy medication on hand. When it’s nice outside, the pollen in the air is crazy in Rome (at least when we visited) and you don’t want to be sneezing so much that you can’t enjoy what the city has to offer. I wish I would have thought about this before traveling here because my hay fever was off the charts!

2. Sizzling in the Sun-Suncreen is really expensive in Rome! Maybe it’s because people skip the SPF or maybe it’s because it’s so sunny that the shops are sure people will come to purchase some I don’t know, but this stuff will cost you a pretty penny compared to what you’d pay in the States. I’d recommend packing some if you don’t wanna look like a tomato by the end of your trip.

3. Be Careful Where You Look-Whatever you do, don’t even glance at the vendors wandering throughout the city, and it will be difficult because they can be quite persistent when trying to make a sale. It’s like they have a radar or something that thinks you always want to buy something, even if you already have it. When I visited the Colosseum they must have come around about 5 times to ask if I wanted to buy sunglasses when I already was wearing a pair. Gentleman BEWARE-if you are traveling with Ladies, keep away from the rose sellers, they will try and put them in your hand and then afterwards make you purchase them.

4. Bring on the Bubbly-No I’m not talking about Prosecco, although that’s nice too…I’m talking about the San Pellegrino. A whole big bottle of the Aranciata will cost you a little over a Euro. If you’re like me and like a refreshing beverage every once in a while, you’ll know that a can of these in the States is nearly 4 dollars! Make good use of your money and invest in some local treats!

5. Dining in Despar-A trip to the local supermarket will save you some money and get you out of the sun for a little while to cool off. I know Despar isn’t unique to Rome or Italy for that matter, but it’s a great place to pop in for a fresh made salad if you need a little pick me up throughout the day of touring the city. (The Despar right by the Pantheon is our favorite!)

* Bonus! Sight Seeing-The colosseum alone is quite a magnificent sight, but it’s even better with an audio guide. There are lots of free audio guides available through apps if you have a smartphone. Our personal guide of choice on this trip was the Rick Steves’ Europe audio tour which offers tours of lots of popular destinations around Europe for free!

I hope some of these were helpful, if they weren’t at least it only took a few minutes out of your day right? Let me know some of your travel tips for the city in the comments!

Until next time,New blog signature 2

5 Things I Learned in Italy

Things I learned in ItalyPhoto of the ruins in Rome, Italy.

If you’ve been keeping up with this blog, you’ll know that I spent Spring holiday traveling around Europe with my best friend from back in the States. It was definitely a once in a lifetime kind of opportunity for the two of us, and we tried to make the most of it by visiting as many sights as possible as well as strolling around to see where the side roads would take us. Here are a few of the things that I took away from our adventures in Florence and Rome that I thought may be helpful to remember in the future!

1. Street Crossing-You know those little zebra crossings located in busy parts of the city? Become best friends with them! Unless you are super bold and are willing to risk your life crossing the street you might want to seek out a proper cross walk. Especially when trying to cross the road near a roundabout, and chances are you’ll encounter many of these. If you are feeling daring, you kind of just have to go for it and hope that the cars will stop, but please please be safe and just opt for the marked walkway.

2. Directions Please?-The cities we visited in Italy are not on a grid system like streets in the U.S. are, and often times the signs are tricky to find. For two girls who struggle with directions, you can only imagine all of the wandering around we did looking like complete idiots. If you have an idea where you are going beforehand this will save quite a bit of time, but just remember streets change into other streets and soon enough the city will have you walking in circles!

3. Food Glorious Food-Don’t be too quick to judge a place based on the prices, some of the best food we had was not the most expensive out there. Our Belgian friend we met in Prague advised us to find places far away from tourist attractions for the cheaper, most authentic options. As for the gelato, just because it looks beautiful doesn’t mean it’s the best. Try out a few places and see what you like! (But honestly, can you ever really go wrong with gelato?)

4.Tickets Anyone?-If you want to spend less time in line to see the sights of Italy, reserve tickets way in advance! We made the mistake of not doing this and I’ll just say that next time the minute I know about a trip I’ll be popping on my  computer ASAP.

5.Relax-Because there are so many tourists and people seem more relaxed, life moves a bit slower in Italy. Chill out and take a leisurely stroll to each venue. In the U.S and even in London, things seem more fast-paced, but sometimes it’s good to take some time to soak in all that a new city has to offer. When in Rome right?

Let me know what you’ve learned from your travels in the comments and any tips you have!

Until next time,New blog signature 2