Our first few days in Rome were a lot of fun (minus the 60+ combined mosquito bites Bridge and I got from the pizza/pasta making class) as we really love exploring new cities. But, we were excited for our family to arrive to Rome to join us for the rest of the trip, as there’s just something very endearing about having family and friends around when you’re in a foreign country.
My sister Mimi from Hong Kong, my uncle and aunt from Puerto Rico, and my parents from the Bay Area were all scheduled to arrive on the same day, but at different times. I had signed up for another food tour for us via withlocals.com and wanted to cancel after our disappointing food tour in Paris, but since we had passed the window to cancel without penalty, I decided to just keep the reservation.
Our food tour in Rome was better than the one in Paris. Our guide Gabi was energetic and engaging, and the food that we got to try were pretty good. Not astoundingly good where we’d try to go back for more on our own, but good enough to satisfy our family on their first day in Rome.
After the food tour, we ventured around on our own by foot, and then went back to our Airbnb to wait for my parents’ arrival in the early evening.
We had one full day in Rome with the whole fam bam before the cruise, so we woke up bright and early the next morning, had a breakfast of Italian coffee and pastries, and then went on our way to the Colosseum.
We bought our tickets and signed up for a tour online ahead of time, which is something I’d highly recommend because it allows you to skip the long lines. There are about a million different groups touring the Colosseum at the same time, so you really have to make an effort to stay close to your group the entire time as not to get lost. They gave us individual headphones to listen to our guide, which was helpful, and we did learn some interesting facts about the Colosseum through the tour. After the tour ended, we walked around on our own and it was really cool to just take in the vastness of the place and the richness of its history!
After touring the Colosseum, we walked to a nearby restaurant for some delicious pizza and pasta!
After lunch, we decided to visit the Roman Forum, but it didn’t quite turn out the way we anticipated. Shortly after we arrived, my dad started to grow pale and said he didn’t feel very well. There really wasn’t any place where he could sit down to rest, and we were a bit far out from the exit, so we had him sit on one of the ledges nearby to rest. As soon as he sat down, he fainted for like 10 seconds! Fortunately, my uncle was strong enough to hold him up so that he wouldn’t hit his head. We were all panicking, not knowing if he was having a stroke or heart attack. Even though he regained consciousness quickly, he looked weaker by the minute. My mom suspected that his blood sugar was low, and Bridgette happened to have remembered passing by a vending machine not too long ago, so she quickly went to buy some chocolate for her grandpa.
We found a couple of staff patrolling the area and asked if they could call an ambulance for us. They were not helpful at all, but fortunately, 2 tourists passing by came over to see if they could help. One was a doctor, and she checked my dad out to confirm that he was not having a stroke or heart attack. She reassured us that he should be okay and suggested we just take him back to our Airbnb for some rest. We were so grateful for these two strangers who had the compassion to come over to help us!
Below are the only two photos I managed to take at the Roman Forum before my dad passed out!
We all went back to the Airbnb, where my dad slept for a couple of hours. When he awoke from his nap, he felt much better, and we ventured off again to find some dinner for everyone. We awoke really early the next morning to visit Vatican City and Sistine Chapel before we made our way to Civitavecchia (about 1.5 hours from Rome’s city center) to board our cruise!
I’ll blog about our 7 night Mediterranean cruise on the Norwegian Epic next, but before I end this post on Rome, I want to share a few more pictures of our final day in Rome after we disembarked from the cruise.
We really enjoyed our time in Rome and getting to experience its richness in both history and culture. Getting around was very easy whether you choose to do it by foot, by subway, bus, bike or Uber. The food was, ofcourse, phenomenal, and it truly took a whole lot of discipline not to indulge in their amazing gelato every single day. 5 days definitely was not enough to see everything, so we hope to make our way back again in the near future for more worldschooling!