Thursday, May 24, 2012

Rome {Getting There & Day 1}

Here it is folks. Finally a post about the honeymoon. We were gone a total of 9 days and have a ton of pictures so I decided to break our trip up into a few different posts.

After doing lots and lots of research on airlines and hotels, reading thousands of reviews, and then obsessing some more I we decided to go with American Airlines to get us to Italy safely and we stayed at the Rome Marriott Grand Hotel Flora.

Our flight was set to leave St. Louis at 1:30 on Sunday May 5th and we were to arrive in Rome on Monday May 6th at 9:30am. For the first time EVER, we were at the airport with more than enough time to spare. After missed flights during a trip to San Francisco and not getting to sit together due to checking in 30 minutes before our flight to New York, I was more than thrilled!

Of course what happens when we finally get our shiz together? The flight gets delayed a half an hour. Then another half an hour, then another. After an almost 2 hour delay we got on our 45 minute flight from St. Louis to Chicago arriving at O'Hare airport as our flight to Rome was supposed to be boarding.
*Note: I always, always, always try to schedule connecting flights with at least 2 to 2 1/2 hours in between flights as something always seems to go wrong or your original flight gets delayed. I'd rather wait around for a little bit at the airport than miss my connection. If we hadn't scheduled that long of a layover we would have missed our flight and on a 10 hour international flight who knows when the next one would have been.

Anywhoo....we race to our gate and what do ya know, our flight to Rome which was supposed to leave in 15 minutes isn't even there. Awesome. On the bright side, at least we didn't miss it. Almost an hour later we're in our seats, ready to push back from the gate, and the pilot comes over the speakers. This might be a good time to tell you a little something about me. Unless I need to immediately get off the plane because I'm going to DIE if I don't, I don't want to know anything. I especially don't want to be told that there is a little problem with the landing gear not working. Awesome. BTW, lack of landing gear is not a little problem.

45 minutes later the pilot assures us the little problem is fixed and that the plane will not skid and burst into flames as we land. I decided to trust him on that one. We taxi to the run way, I settle in for take off and our new bff El Capitan once again has an announcement for us. Due to storms in Chicago, we would need to wait on the runway until they moved out of the area. Almost 2 hours later, and no snacks or drinks while we waited, we were finally on our way.

A mere 10 hours later we touched down at the Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport in Rome. All together now...Hallelujah. After claiming our luggage, horray for it not being lost, we exchanged enough of our money to pay for the taxi and headed to our hotel.

*Another note: currency exchange counters at the airport and other places around Italy are extremely expensive. Not only do they exchange slightly under the exchange rate, but they also charge a service fee in the form of a % of what you exchange. The majority of the ones we saw were between 7-9%. After doing a little research back our hotel, we found it best to exchange the money at a local bank where they give you the actual exchange rate and charged you a flat fee, ours was 5 Euro, no matter how much you exchanged. The bank we went to allowed us to do $500 each day per person/passport and we had to have our passport.

And now what you all really want to see pictures...

The Marriott Grand Flora. Our hotel was perfect. Great customer service. A terrific view of the city at breakfast, and within walking distance of landmarks, restaurants, and shops. I know some people prefer to stay in local hotels, but for this trip we decided to stick with a chain and couldn't have been happier. 

The view from breakfast found here

We had a deluxe King room and it looked almost identical to this. We had turn down service every night, a huge walk in closet which J immediately took over, and 3 large windows that opened out into the streets of Rome.
The view from our bathroom

The view from one of the bedroom windows

Even though it was been 2 weeks now, I can still vividly remember our room, the sounds, and even the way it smelled. I hope I never forget those memories.

After a little nap, we ate our first official Italian Pizza.
Mushroom for me

Prosciutto for J

After dinner we explored the town by foot, not even realizing what landmarks we were stumbling upon.

After walking around for more than 2 hours, getting a little lost, and working up quite an appetite we stopped at a little gelato place called White.
Watermelon and strawberry for J

Peach for me

J also tested out the cappuccino which looked more delicious than it tasted.

On our walk back to the hotel, we stopped at a little restaurant called Cafe Stregga. Since it was just a few blocks from our hotel we frequented this place quite often. J of course had to do the typical American thang and order a cheeseburger. 

With full bellies and jet lag we tucked ourselves into bed and drifted off to sleep.

Up next the Colosseum and Trevi Fountain!

*And yes, I realize this was the longest post EVER, but I don't want to forget a thing about our honeymoon:)

1 comment on "Rome {Getting There & Day 1}"
  1. What a travel nightmare! At least you made it safely. Good thing you weren't with a tour, that would've messed things up!! Yeah, the cappuccinos never taste as good as they look, but the gelato sure does! That hotel looks amazing. Can't wait to see more!