La Dolce Vita: Rome, Day 1

Goodbye Connecticut, hello Rome! Today I’m finally heading to the airport to go on my trip to Italy, and don’t get me wrong, but I am totally freaking out as this will be the first time I’m flying by myself, to another country. I will be in Italy for 12 days and I am planning on eating gelato at least 3 times a day because when in Rome!!!

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Heading to JFK airport and you can faintly see the NYC skyline in the background

I made it to the airport with my parents and I said goodbye to them as I went to wait in line for the baggage scanners, and everything went smoothly until I realized that I only had 30 minutes to spare before I boarded as they pushed up my departure time. Anxiety set it as I rushed through the check-in process and fortunately made it in time to board.

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On the plane I was relieved to find out I was sitting next to a girl around my age with her mother sitting in the seat behind her and we had a pleasant conversation and we realized we are both going on tours and hitting the same locations! What a coincidence! The flight took about 8 hours and I realized how under dressed I was as we headed closer to Iceland, even when I changed into a sweatshirt, sweatpants, a blanket scarf, and fuzzy socks. Luckily I had an eye mask so I was able to sleep through most of the flight so it was a breeze, with no  turbulence, thank god!

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In the cab on the way to the hotel

At this point, I got off the plane and I could not find the taxi service that was supposed to pick me up. I spent a good 2-3 hours at the airport, 1 hour spent waiting forever at baggage claim (and my bag was also opened and resealed by TSA all because I brought wine in my luggage ugh!). Another couple of hours were spent nearly in tears looking for my taxi and being somewhat harassed by other available taxi drivers trying to get me to go in their cab, no thanks! So eventually I paid 40 euros to go in a large cab with other Americans riding in it so at least I felt a little safer, and it was one of the cheaper fares as some other taxi cabs were charging 60 euros! My nerves were calmed as I talked to a couple from Minnesota in the cab ride, but that moment was fleeing as I learned that the taxi drivers like to drive FAST on the highway, like it felt as though we were going 120 mph! A pleasant surprised that I noticed was that it was surprisingly tropical in Rome; there were palm trees everywhere!

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The Polo Hotel, Rome

I arrived in Rome around 7am, and because of all the complications at the airport, I didn’t get to my hotel until around 12pm. About 45 minutes later, I arrived at the hotel and realized I packed way too much, as I was huffing and puffing just to get one large suitcase and one carry-on bag up the stairs at the hotel. I had a couple hours to kill until I had a meeting around 4pm with the other tour members so I ended up taking a nap, and it was probably one of the best naps of my life, hands down.

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La Gattabuia Restaurant

After the meeting, we then headed out to dinner in Rome at a restaurant called La Gattabuia. First, we had some antipasta, which consisted of meat, cheese, and bread, and then our table ordered a white wine which we finished very quickly! Then our main course came out and it was a traditional pasta meal, but they included little bits of bacon on it, yum!! For dessert we ended up having a typical vanilla gelato with some chocolate sauce on top. The experience was definitely worth it as it was a nice transition from American food to Italian food. Then we headed back to the hotel and I slept like a baby again until we had to wake up at 6am to get ready for a day traveling to Pompeii 🙂 Stay tuned for day 2!

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“Even now I miss Italy dearly, I dream about it every night” – Eila Hiltunen

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