It had been a while since we showed the world why we chose this name for our blog. Naturally, it was time to rectify that. Following a brief stint in the US for, you guessed it… another wedding, I jetted off (first class, obvi) to Rome for their annual Marathon. Being the travel gurus we is (Engrish connoisseurs we is not), the first class ticket cost me a whopping 56,000 Delta miles and $24.50. And that was from the Dane County Regional airport – one of the more expensive in the country! If you, too, are curious about how you can #balloutonabudget feel free to reach out out!
Sorry, saw a squirrel 🙂
Rome would be my first stop in Europe before meeting up with Jeiny and whatever that girl’s name is. I ended up meeting up with a homie from Madison there, Sunni, because friend’s don’t let friends drink wine and eat pasta alone! She was already in Rome when I arrived, but our trips overlapped enough to have plenty of time to explore and eat all the noms before she had to go back and be
lame an adult while I headed over to Croatia.
I only had four days to explore Rome before having to run around it so I wanted to get right down to it… after a shower of course. Granted, if you have been to Rome in the summer, you already know that an afternoon shower is a futile effort since you will be sweating within minutes of walking outside… but something something something decorum.
Having cleant up, we set out toward Trevi Fountain first. Being who I am, we maybe made it all of 10 minutes before we had to stop for one of the many things Italy is famous for: wine! Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the restaurant we stopped at (for reasons you will hear about in seconds), but I do remember bonding with our server over tattoos as he noticed the one I had just gotten a few days prior.
After that bottle, we continued the trek toward the fountain, but you know… Rome is just so toasty that I was parched! Within minutes, I found us another stop forrrrrr wine! Are you noticing a trend yet?? Sadly, I don’t remember the name of that restaurant either, but it was in the same piazza as Trevi, so at least I got closer this time. The fountain itself is quite spectacular – I recommend visiting early in the morning, since it is a popular hangout for both locals and tourists.
The rest of the night went much the same way, with lots of walking and quite a few more wines. After having a successful first eve in Rome, my favorite part of it was when we walked into a liquor store to grab a bottle of wine when I noticed the grappa. Sunni had never tried it before (if you haven’t either, well, it is an experience) so I told her we should get a mini bottle to taste. Given that she is five foot nothing and 100 pounds soaking wet and we have now consumed her body weight in wine, she purchased a 375 ml bottle of it instead :|… We each had approximately one sip.
The next day involved us waking up a tad late (wonder why!?) and cruising downstairs to grab a delicious breakfast, as our hotel included it with the room (thanks, Westin!). The spread was awesome with a lot of fruit, cheese, meat, pastries, and eggs. Feeling refueled on nutritious (and maybe some not so nutritious) calories, we headed out to see some other sites. Today included walking to the Colosseum, Vatican City, and all over the streets of Roma.
I had been to Rome over a decade before, but for the first time in history, the Colosseum’s underground was open! This was the one thing I really wanted to do while we were there. The ticket office isn’t open right now though, so we had to go online to find tickets. Luckily, we were able to snag two for Friday to go back.
After an exhausting day of walking, which might as well have been marathon training in its own right, we decided to visit a speakeasy. Apparently, Rome has a ton of them, even though they didn’t go through prohibition! After spending some time deciding on which one to visit, we landed on Jerry Thomas, within walking distance of us. In order to get in, you have to choose between the four different options on the call pad, buzz the correct one and give them the password (found on their website after answering a question and joining their free club).
All said and situated, the speakeasy was spectacular! The bartenders were incredible and friendly, the drinks were delicious, the decor was amazing and, oh, they gave you fresh foccacia bread to enjoy with the drinks (or maybe after, idk, I ate mine on the spot)! A great way to end my first full day in Rome.
Thursday began the same way as Wednesday, albeit a bit earlier with less wine in our system. As a throwback to Tuesday, we revisited Trevi Fountain again to try to get some pictures. Unfortunately, it was just as packed with tourists :(. We then had the genius idea to go visit a winery just outside the city. Well, it would have been a genius idea had we not tried to walk to the winery from the train station! We missed the tour so as a consolation prize we just bought a bottle of wine to enjoy with some gelato until it was time to head back to the train station.
We were on a bit of a schedule, since we were meeting up with my friend Dean and his girlfriend. Fun fact, Dean is the first person I was able to convince to come run a marathon with me… sucker! That night we had tickets for the AS Roma football game. If you are anywhere in Europe and there is a football game happening – go! You won’t regret it. I have been to a few now, and they are always a ton of fun!
AS Roma won the game, so to celebrate (which we would have done either way) the four of us headed to another speakeasy. We had been raving about our experience the prior night and needed to help them understand why. Wisdomless was our pick, and after their first sips, they were also sold on the idea of speakeasies. Slightly different than Jerry Thomas, and still delicious, what I found coolest about this bar was that it was also a tattoo parlour! We were all exhausted after our drinks though, so instead of getting inked we headed back to our respective hotels; Dean and I had to run a marathon in three days after all!
To be continued (obviously!)