If I started to tell you guys everything going on in my life right now, it would be quite the novel, so just the surface I shall brush. I've been sans Internet at home while my apartment gets renovated (not my choice and not liking the results...the joys of renting), spread a bit too thin at work, and finding ways to distract myself from post-travel depression like learning French and or shopping for skateboards or working on my novel (can anyone say quarter-life crisis?). But as long as I get my morning espresso every day, I think I can take it all in stride. Living with your head in the clouds is the easiest way to do it.
Monday, July 14, 2014
I almost don't have anything to add after showing you this mosaic of whimsical snaps that developed from the disposable cameras I brought along to Rome, but several of you asked for a recap of key sights to see, places to go, and things to do, so I figured I would do a bit of a recap for those interested. More below!
My sister Caitlin and I stayed in Pigneto outside of the city center, blocks from a fantastic cafe called Necci which I highly recommend. Our friend Rachel was gracious enough to loan us her flat for the week, but Airbnb is a great choice if you want to follow more of a "living-like-the-locals" route. Rosti's Pizza, Buffi Bistrot, and Gelateria del Pigneto are all can't-miss highlights in this neighborhood.
We spent most of our time making our own discoveries down random streets in the city center (Tazza d'Oro next to the Pantheon, Largo di Torre Argentina, Capitoline Hill), but we also participated on two in-depth walking tours via Through Eternity. Thursday, we did a five-hour walking tour of the Vatican (the museum, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica), and Friday we participated in a five-hour walking tour of Ancient Rome, from the Roman Forum to Palatine Hill to the Colosseum. I cannot stress enough how valuable the knowledge of our guides proved to be. Another member of our tour group said it best...without our guide taking us through and teaching us along the way, Ancient Rome would have been nothing more than a "cool, old rocks," experience.
Another favorite activity was walking along the Tiber River from Vatican City down to the beautiful and picturesque neighborhood of Trastavere (stop at Gelateria del Teatro after strolling through the grounds at Castel Sant'angelo en route). From there, hike up Gianicolo (one of Rome's seven hills) as the view is about 900% worth it. Monti, another adorable neighborhood, has great boutique shopping and all of the photogenic streets.
We traveled mostly by public transit, and just as most people will advise you, buses can easily fall off schedule. There are only two metro lines, but they both cross at the main train station (Termini) to get where you're going. It's pretty easy to figure out once you get to know the key bus routes!
One thing that came as a surprise was the construction this summer. We happened to come at a time when several restoration projects were underway, so places like the Trevi Fountain, the fountain at Piazza di Spagna, and half of the Colosseum were covered by scaffolding. At first it was disappointing not to be able to see such popular historical sites in all their glory, but it does force you to appreciate how much love and effort goes into keeping up this city and the beauty it is renowned for. For me, it ended up to be more sweet than bitter, because it just ensures my return to Rome to see it all again.
I definitely recommend getting to know basic restaurant phrases and general niceties in Italian before you go, or I guarantee you will feel more lost than a fig in an olive orchard. Have lots of patience with yourself and with the locals, and go with an open mind and heart to let travel change your life. I don't even find saying that cheesy anymore because of how much truth is behind it. If you have more detailed questions, feel free to shoot me an email (link in sidebar) as I always love to hear from readers!
Posted by Chelsea Lane at 1:41 PM
Friday, July 11, 2014
Little did I know it would take me a full week to recover from eight days in Europe. It's been rough transitioning back into my Minneapolis world—not because of jet lag, but because of the overwhelmingly decadent taste of a life I never knew was out there. International travel always felt like something other people did—an adventure I could only ever dream about. Italy was the most beautiful place I've ever seen, the best thing I've ever done with my life, and the best investment I could have ever spent money on. I'm not sure why some people can pop overseas for a week and easily integrate themselves back into the real world when they return, and I have to spend a week feeling lost in my own home, constantly fighting tears and questioning any previous plan I had for my life. All I want is out of here, onto bigger and brighter things—the old in the rearview mirror and the new through a rose-tinted windshield. They always say the grass is always greener on the other side. If you have the drive, what's wrong with hopping every fence?
Everlane top, American Eagle overalls, JustFab sandals and handbag
Posted by Chelsea Lane at 6:02 PM
Friday, July 4, 2014
This is the outfit I ended up in for a five-hour tour through the Colosseum and all of Ancient Rome. It was light and breezy and gave minimal tan lines, so all was well for me. After our tour, we trekked down the river to peek through the keyhole at Aventine Hill (totally worth it) and then took the Metro back home before a late dinner at a restaurant I don't remember the name of in Pigneto, flirty Italian waiter and all. Every day here is more paradisiacal than the next.
I highly recommend a tour guide for the incredible historical sites in Rome. Even if you have been to the places and seen the sights, the detail and insight a guide provides has been invaluable (plus you get to skip all the hour-long lines at every entrance!). Through Eternity hosts exceptional tours and both guides we experienced (Cinzia for the Vatican, Luca for Ancient Rome) were engaging and vastly knowledgeable.
I still can't believe I'm posting this from a rooftop terrace in Italy.
Posted by Chelsea Lane at 4:32 PM
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Monday, June 30, 2014
My sister and I are staying in a little corner of Rome called Pigneto that is filled with locals expecting us to speak Italian. We have ciao, grazie, scusa and cappuccino down pat but almost everything else is a struggle. I never expected how overwhelming and intimidating it would be just walking into an Italian restaurant and attempting to communicate, but I am loving each and every second of it and taking nothing for granted. Day one abroad: success.
Posted by Chelsea Lane at 8:00 AM
Friday, June 27, 2014
I've always been a girl who loves shopping vintage, so it feels a little like coming home when I find pieces that take me back to life on the west coast, browsing through the antique mall my aunt owned in our charming riverside downtown. It's been awhile since I had a pair of high-waisted denim, but this pair from DSTLD fits like a glove (albeit a little long, I think the wide cuff adds the perfect vintage touch). The crochet detail on this little crop-top reminds me of lace camisoles from the fifties and sixties, pieces I used to love hoarding for decorations on my bedroom wall.
I have to be off to finish packing for my Italian getaway (leaving in three hours, eep!), but will try my best to keep the blog up to date in between espresso and gelato runs. In the meantime, follow me on Instagram @truelane for snapshots of our day to day adventures in Rome for the next week! Ciao ciao!
Posted by Chelsea Lane at 8:55 AM