Monday, January 18, 2010

Roma, Italia

It seems like a long time ago now, but before the holidays we took a trip to visit Rome. We decided to make a Tuesday holiday into a 4-day weekend and go somewhere. Katrin had been there once before but this was my first visit, despite a half-dozen trips to Italy. The goal was to find somewhere fun we could go without changing planes, and Rome was the winner over Amsterdam and Geneva.

When Katrin and I moved to Portugal we had grandiose plans of visiting all corners of Europe. Ski trips to Switzerland, summer holidays in the fjords of Norway, and beach vacations to Ibiza. Well, a baby came along and sort of altered our agenda. But we’re still trying to get out and about.

Walking around Rome was all sorts of fun. It is truly an easy city to see on foot, even while pushing a stroller. Amelia will surely have wonderful memories of the coliseum, forum, Spanish steps, Trevi fountain, Vatican City, Sistine Chapel, etc., etc. The whole city felt like an outdoor museum of archeology, history, art and culture. But the two highlights of every day were lunch and dinner. We all know how fabulous the pizza and pasta are, although until you’ve tasted the real thing in Italy (or at Peter and Jane’s house) you don’t know what you’re missing. But the ambience and comfort inside a restaurant are harder to describe. Sort of like the feeling of home, while casually eating a delicious pasta dish with porcini mushrooms and sipping a tasty Chianti.

What made the trip all the more enjoyable, though, was the ease of traveling with Amelia. She’s a good traveler (after all, she averages more than one plane flight per month of life so far), but the Italians are truly a baby-friendly populace. We get sort of spoiled here in Portugal, which is a very baby-friendly culture (getting ushered to the front of every line, parking spots designated for parents with young children), but in Italy it was the individuals themselves that were head over heels for babies. No matter where we were, whether restaurants or subways or museums, Amelia was given tons of attention. Everyone wanted their turn to smile at her and help make her comfortable. Italy certainly has its political and economic troubles, but when it comes to children and quality of life, they are a very advanced civilization.

For more pictures of our trip to Rome, click here.