My story in Rome continues…
If you haven’t read Part I, please click here. I don’t want you getting lost in any of my details- ;-).
The HOP ON, HOP OFF Tour
We knew we would be tired from the travel so we pre-planned a HOP ON HOP OFF tour for the next day. Tip: We purchased the tickets online in the States so there wouldn’t be any drama the day of. For about $35 each person, we get to tour 7 sites, including a shopping area in which I will go into detail later. Auntie and I rode in an air-conditioned bus and got off and on as we wanted to… well that’s the way it was supposed to happen! However, it didn’t- LOL! What had happened… by the time we figured out which bus to get on and where the bus stop was located- we were hot and bothered. Again, we are talking about 80+ degree weather. People hate on me for carrying my parasol but’s it’s times like this when this Queen needs protection!
More of the HOP ON, HOP OFF Tour
While on the bus, you may listen to the computerized tour guide that is programmed in about 7 languages. Didn’t bring any headphones; don’t worry, the attendants give you a pair as you enter the bus. Since we stayed on the bus for the most part, I enjoyed listening to the history of center city Rome. There is so much to listen to, take pictures of and many sites to pay attention to… we decided to go around again! Oh yeah, if you purchase a one day ticket you are allowed to ride as many times all day. Tip: Lastly, bring snacks. You can stop to eat of course, but why waste time eating when you can snack and go!
Let’s Go Shopping!
We finally decided to get off in the shopping area. If you have ever been to 5th Ave or 42nd street in Manhattan, this area looks very similar. I’m talking about shops like POLO Ralph Lauren to Sephora to Timberland! YESSSSS, this what I was waiting for! Auntie… Hmmm not so much but she was a good sport for a little while. We went into many shops (won’t name them all) including Louis Vuitton! Everyone is so nice and helpful even if they don’t speak English well. I never felt like a tourist! Of course I wanted to buy sooooo many items but I settled on a couple of pairs of Italian shoes. I could kick myself for buying more shoes (I came into town for a purse) but hey, now I have a conversation piece.
Her: Oooh girl, where did you buy those shoes?
Me: In It-a-lia 😉
From the HOP ON, HOP OFF Bus to the City Bus
After an exhausting couple of hours of shopping and being around 100s of people at once, we were ready to get back on the bus to head to our original stop. Oh! I forgot to tell you how we even arrived to the tour bus. Remember in Part I when Auntie did some research and grabbed a few brochures while I was napping. Well, she figured out which city bus to take to arrive at the tour bus destination. It pays to have an Auntie that thrives on public transportation. Riding the city bus isn’t bad. You get to enjoy scenic routes and if you pay attention during stops, you figure out other landmarks to visit. Regardless, while riding the bus or even walking… pay attention of your surroundings. Tip: I made sure to buy a cute backpack such as this after doing some research and learned of pick-pocket-ers. A backpack is good or ladies, a cross-over bag that you can keep in front of you.
As mentioned, Italians are pretty friendly. Anytime you walk into a store or restaurant, they are greeting you with a smile. Now, the language barrier may frustrate you a little especially when ordering food. I’ll go into the food next but overall, the staff is pretty helpful. For example, due to Auntie being a vegetarian she is limited on what she can eat. Here is how one conversation went:
Waiter: *In broken English*… You want aaayyy pizzeria?
Auntie: Si, pizza! No meat, no meat.
Waiter: *staring with a blank look*
Auntie: No, carne… no carne (she can speak Spanish which is close to Italian) while also pointing to the pollo (chicken) no… no!
Waiter: OOOOHHH! No mea-ta! Okay, okay Madam… only cheese, no meat!
Auntie: Grazie… Grazie
He was so patient and so cute with his broken English- LOL! Now just imagine most of our conversations going like that during our stay. It could be, they treated us nicely b/c we are tourists. However in America, I believe we would have gotten attitude instead of patience.
Now for the Food
Due to Auntie being vegetarian and the fact she loves rice, can eat it every day… me- I didn’t come to Italy to eat Asian food. She loves the fact there is an Asian restaurant on the corner. We had to eat it on day one b/c we weren’t familiar with the area yet. That was one day too many for me. On this day, we got to endure in authentic pizzeria! The main difference in Italian pizza than America is the dough. American pizza dough is thicker like yeast bread. Italian pizza is lighter and flakier. Honestly, I do like our dough better but what I love about Italian pizza… there are more choices! You can have anything on your pizza from plenty of cheese choices to seafood… I’m talking like mussels or clams. Now I wasn’t eating anchovies pizza- YUCK! For me- I found one that had prosciutto and cheese. Talk about de-lish!
Lastly, let’s speak of adding international data to your cell phone plan for the week. I have Verizon. I called before leaving the states to learn of my options. Verizon has a few options but I chose to use a Travel Pass. IF I decide to use my data outside of WIFI, I will get charged $10 a day. If you DO NOT want to get charged, keep your phone in airplane mode. So far, days one and two I’ve kept it on airplane mode. Honestly, I don’t see the need to take it off b/c there is a 6 hour difference between here and back home. So posting on Facebook at 10am in Italy would be pointless b/c it is 5am in NC. Tip: In addition, Auntie and I made sure to print copies of things like our hotel arrangements; the HOP ON HOP OFF touring information and flight info.