Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Rome, March 2017- Arrival Day

Vacation time had arrived for the W. family!
Our second big European trip was upon us, and we were more than ready to start the adventure.

(Well, Alex and the kids were incredibly happy, I hadn't been sleeping well from the stress of going to an unfamiliar place. As much as I love traveling, I suffer from almost crippling anxiety before each trip. This stems a lot from catching a stomach bug while in Disney World in 2015. Ever since, I can't stop my mind from thinking about all the terrible illnesses or injuries one of us could accrue while away from home. It's a pain in the neck, but thankfully my husband is amazing at calming my nerves. He also doesn't bat an eye when I pack 4 packs of sterilizing wipes and three backup containers of hand sanitizer in our checked luggage.)

I had been awake most of the night leading up to our flight, and by 4 a.m. I made Alex get up and shower. We finished packing all the last minute items we needed, prepared the lunch we were taking with us, and woke the kids up at 5 a.m. and ate our normal breakfast.
By 8:00 a.m., the four of us were standing around our gate at the airport, waiting to be called to board.
My sister in-law and her boyfriend had flown into Germany the day before and had stayed at an AirBnB near the airport so they could catch the same flight to Rome. Therefore, it wasn't long after we staked out a spot in the waiting area that they appeared.

It had been about a year since we'd seen J. and Landon was ridiculously excited to be reunited with his aunt.


J.'s arrival was a sure sign that vacation had begun!

Hip hip hooray!

I already covered our experience with the plane, so I'll skip ahead to us debarking in Rome. Us four adults knew from earlier research that we needed to catch a shuttle bus to the termini station (the main train station) and then make our way to the tram stop that would drop us off at AirBnB home. An employee at the airport told us to go right outside the airport doors and there would be a bus that would do just that. He wasn't specific on times, rates, or routes, just directed us to the exit.

So, without knowing what else to do, that's where we all headed.
It was a bit of a mad setup. Folks were piled in what looked like a tiny resemblance of a line in the street,with all their bags hanging out beside them.  It took us all a good five minutes of confusion to realize that the line would lead us to the shuttles that would appear and that we paid for our journey via a worker who was walking down the line.

Since Landon was 3, he was able to sit on our lap for free, making Alex and I's total cost 10 Euros. This got us and all our belongings to the termini station (about a 30 minute drive away). From there, all of us bought a 100 minute metro card at 1.5 Euro apiece and took about a 5 minute subway ride to the stop we needed.

I know it's only been a few weeks, but I couldn't tell you for the life of me what our stop was called. Honestly, I knew there were two guys with me that were great with directions and maps, so I kind of tuned out the routes taken.
Pretty dumb in the grand scheme of things, and if I had gotten lost or separated from the group I would have been in big trouble, but hey...I was keeping the kids alive and safe.

That had to count for something...

The metro ride complete, it was then on to the tram stop, which just so happened to be right outside the metro exit.

That was another ten minute excursion, where the only eventful thing that occurred was Landon dropping his cheesestick and having a conniption fit over its loss. The boy kept screaming, "My cheese! My cheeeeeese!"

Kid, we're in Italy, we'll get you some more cheese.

Fortunately, he was in the Tula carrier on Alex's back, so nobody had to hold him back from diving after said stick.
Because, guys, 3 years old could care less if food is on the grossest floor imaginable.
They'd still chomp that thing down faster than you can say, GERMS!

My group got a bit turned around after when we tried to find the address to our BnB. Thankfully, my mother and father in-law had already arrived (they flew into the city the night before from Berlin) and helped us find our way.

The AirBnB was a cute little apartment, and while the place itself had some issues, the location was lovely. The home consisted of 3 bedrooms (all with king beds) and 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen and dining room, and a living room with a pull out sofa. The owner even set up a Pack and Play for Evie.

I can't say for sure, but I think each family unit appreciated having their own room and bathroom. There was no tip-toeing around people while they slept or waiting for a restroom to become available. It provided the perfect blend of togetherness and privacy.
(Although, I think in the future we might have to go for an extra room for Landon and Evie. There were a few times the in-laws had to leave the dining room because Landon needed to go to sleep on the couch.)

It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon by the time we unpacked our bags, and I gave the place a good wipe down. Everyone was feeling hungry, we needed to pick up some breakfast items for the following morning, and there was an epic looking playground a few blocks away that I had spotted from the tram. That meant, it was time to go out and explore for a bit!

We all stopped at a corner cafe; Alex and I split a chocolate croissant and a lemon beignet. They were absolutely delicious; the perfect first treat on vacation.
Then, it was on to the park.

The sun was shining, it was in the 60's, and the kids were so, so relieved to get some space to run around and play. The park was busy that afternoon, and Alex got to overhear a father tell someone else, "Americanos, americanos."

No doubt about it.
We stick out like a sore thumb in Europe.

We let the children play for about half an hour. My sister in-law walked around with Landon and let him explore each play structure while her boyfriend (S.) and Alex let Evie climb up and go down one of the slides.
She did great for the most part, if you don't count the time she tried to WALK down the equipment.

Nothing like a mini heartattack to make sure the blood's flowing in a mama's veins...

Overall, the park was spectacular. I've come to judge any vacation spot on whether or not there is a good park near our lodging, and then I tend to rate the place itself. This one was one of the better playgrounds we have found. It was big without being sprawling, contained a wide variety of size structures, seats and shading for adults, and was in great repair.

It earned 5 stars on my Mommy scale.

So, for you fellow parents, if you're ever in Rome and need to let the kids burn off some energy, the Primo Sport 0246 playground is phenomenal. It's located right next to Palazzzetto della Sport building for reference, and not too far from it is a Modern Art Museum that contains a children's park inside for a fee.

The actual address for the park is:
Strada del Nascimben 1/B, 31100 Treviso TV, Italy

On our way out of the park, my in-laws were trying their best to teach Landon how to use the crosswalks. They told him that a green light meant walk and a red light meant stop.
Well, my brilliant son decided in the middle of the street to look at the light to his right (not the one directly in front of him) so all he saw was red and he panicked.

He froze dead in his tracks and screamed, "RED!!!!!!"

Yes, son, let's stop right in the middle of a busy intersection.

This is life when you're traveling the world with young kids.

Never a dull moment.

So for the rest of the week, all the adults made it very clear to Landon which light to watch and the importance of not dallying in streets.
One of the more memorable moments of our trip...

Our AirBnB was right next door to a grocery store, so everyone did a little shopping after the park. Lots of eggs, milk, grapes, yogurt....the basic essentials that keep my family trekking. It was wonderful having the market near us, as well as have a kitchen that we could cook and prepare the food. It's one of those little features that made being away from home with the toddlers a heck of a lot easier than it could have been in a hotel.

If you can make life as normal as possible for those little it. The less their routine is thrown, the better.

All the restaurants by our apartment did not open until 7:30/8 o'clock at night, and by 6 p.m. the long day of traveling had caught up with my family. We went back to the cafe we'd visited earlier and picked up a few paninis to eat at home. Alex and I put the kids to bed while the rest of the family went out to dinner.

And the two of us were asleep, ourselves, by 9p.m.

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