Italy 2015 Wrap Up

[So uhh…Disclaimer.  This post is long.  Like makes previous posts that I’ve had a disclaimer on look short.  It’s just shy of 20,000 words.  A professional typist typing at 80 wpm would take 4 hours just to retype this post.  I don’t blame anyone if you don’t want to read through it entirely.  You can search the area/town you might be interested in or skip down to the concluding thoughts where I give more opinions/advice based on our experience.  The day by day portion is more of a travel journal.  Also, Alyce has a talent for saying more than I do in much fewer words, so you can read her posts too.  Good luck.]


Italy…Finally.  This one had been on both of our wish lists for a while.

Me – I’ve always been fascinated with Roman history.  The Romans were an incredible society and were more advanced than any other that would show up for quite some time.  My engineering side has always been impressed by what they were able to accomplish 2000 years ago.  My law side is similarly impressed with Rome.  The Louisiana Civil Code that we use today is a direct descendant from Roman law – one of the few things I took from the Legal Traditions class we had to take at LSU.  It equally influenced just about all of the Western legal systems.

Alyce – She has a strong Italian heritage on her mom’s side.  Her Nonna (the Italian word for grandmother) cooked all sorts of delicious Italian meals, many of which I was fortunate enough to get eat too.  Pasta, Pizza, Italian meats and cheeses are many of her favorite foods.  She loves the history too, just as I enjoy the food, markets, etc. as well.

As is usually the case, Alyce had to rein me in on the planning/scope of the trip.  I wanted 3 weeks.  Alyce shut that down being as we had never even traveled with James when she was submitting her vacation request.  Also, she had only been at her new job a couple weeks when vacation requests were due.  Going right for a 3 weeker would have been a little bold.  In fact, she just submitted her vacation requests for 2016, and the same situation played out.  I wanted three weeks; she settled at two.  I’ll get the three weeker in 2017… [Editors note: Since writing this, we have changed our 2016 fall vacation to 3 weeks.  Persistence pays off.]

Two weeks sounds like a lot – and it is for US vacations – but it really isn’t that long to see a country.  You lose one night to travel, so you’re down to 13 nights before you even get started.  Plus, we had a 15 month old with us.  We don’t quite see/do as much as we used to…

Speaking of which, I planned about half of what I usually would (in terms of meals/activities/wine/etc.), and we still ended up skipping half of what we had planned.  And that is fine and somewhat expected.  No one wins if we wake up a baby and have him scream through a lunch because we wanted to go to a particular place.  That’s not enjoyable for us or the others around us.

Similarly, I probably planned our stops a little differently in the past.  I definitely would have stopped a lot more along the way during our transits.  We drove right through the heart of the Chianti wine region and didn’t stop at a single place.  As it was, we stayed at 5 different spots over the 13 days…That’s moving when travelling with a one year old.

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Impressions of Rome

I realized that I have spent so much time talking about James and chronicling our days that I completely forgot to include what I thought about Rome!  Going to Italy has always been at the top of my bucket list.  Some people may or may not know this, but I am 50% Italian (I know, I know….red hair and fair skin– I don’t exactly look the part).  I have a Nonna (Italian for grandmother), pasta and red gravy was a staple growing up, and we made cookies for the St. Joseph’s Day Alter.  We ate Parmigiano reggiano, genoa salami, and big green Italian olives for as long as I can remember.  Being in Italy is a dream come true.

As we drove from the airport the first thing that I noticed is all the graffiti all over the place.  Seriously? We are in one of the most beautiful, historic cities in all of the world.  How could someone do that?


Another thing that I noticed is that the doorways are very narrow! There can’t be many fat Italians because they could never fit through the doors!  Trying to go through doorways with James in the carrier or stroller was almost laughable.  We could usually make it, but it was a very tight squeeze every time.

The people are all lovely.  They smile and talk to James and call him bello bambino.  If he is fussing, they try to sooth him.  I love it.  They are so warm.

There are alot of scooters in Rome.  The streets are narrow cobble stone and you can always count on a scooter or car to come whizzing by.


There are alot of smokers but not as much as Paris.

Everyone told me that Italians only wore black, white, and grey.  So far that isn’t true.  Perhaps Rome is a more touristy area and things will be different in other cities, but I have seen every color of the rainbow.

One thing that I disliked about Rome is that there wasn’t anywhere for James to really run around outside and play.  There were always too many people or cars/scooters that made it too dangerous to let him be free.

Overall, I enjoyed Rome and especially have enjoyed being in Italy in general.  There is just something about the food, culture, and people that just feels like home.



The Pediatrician in Rome

Today we were supposed to do the Vatican tour, but after hearing about how crowded it is, we decided against it. We both agreed that taking James to such a crowded place with stairs and narrow halls would be really difficult. Also, as I mentioned in the last post, I was worried that he was starting to get sick and I kinda of wanted to take it easy and see how that played out.

When he woke up, he had a little low grade fever, and I decided to just pull the trigger and take him to the doctor. I think (actually, I know) that Justin thought I was overreacting and wanted to wait a little longer to see if things got better. However, he also knew that I was not going to be able to relax if I wasn’t sure that he didn’t have strep throat or an ear infection. Sooooooo, Justin somehow found a number to an English-speaking pediatrician, I called, and we had an appointment for later that afternoon.

Before the appointment we decided to walk to the Vatican just to see it, even though the tour didn’t work out. On our way, we passed through a market. I loved seeing all the fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, and cheeses. When we lived in Baton Rouge, I used to go to the farmer’s market every single Saturday morning. To say that I like markets is an understatement, and Italy seems to be the holy grail of markets. While we were there, We finally got James to eat something. He had a few pieces of watermelon, and I was thrilled. I’m pretty easy to please these days.

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The long journey to Rome

What a journey, but we finally made it to Rome!

To say that our travel day was a long day is a vast understatement.  I am so glad that it is over! Would I do it again? Probably, but time helps you forget some tortuous experiences.  If not, I think most people would only have one child, right? So here is how our day played out:

We left New Orleans around 10:45 am.  We had a 12:45 flight.  Besides a little traffic going to the airport, the morning went very smoothly.  James slept until 8:30. Of course, I was up at 6am to have some time to myself and make everyone a big breakfast to start the day off right.  Pancakes, eggs, and bacon, yum! James refused all of it and acted like I was poisoning him. Ok, great. Getting this kid to eat has become a giant challenge.

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