2018 Treasure hunt was a little bit different than the last three treasure hunts we have been on. Over the few years the trip included somewhere tropical like Costa Rica, Thailand and Bali. This year, we decide to play with the cold weather. There wasn’t much snow involved, but temperatures dropped below 40 degrees and that’s not common for a California girl!
To start off the trip, Italy was the first destination. From LAX, the flight landed us in Rome on a Thursday night. We traveled on Norwegian, which was skeptical being that flight was only $200 one way, but it was pleasantly surprising. Last time I flew to Europe, my flight was packed to the brim - $800 one way and impossible to sleep on. Traveling during “low season” was a totally different experience I’ll never go back on. 11 hour flight, one full row to ourself and a full night’s sleep. That’s right we were blessed from the plane to gods to have our own rows, a flight half filled and so smooth.
About Norwegian - for a discounted price, this flight contains all of the necessary essentials of a flight and for a low cost it is highly worth the penny. I learned a lot about this plane because having paid only $400 round trip I'm sure you can imagine how skeptical I was. However, the Dreamliner was unreal!
- comfortable seats with plenty of space for your legs
- fresh air and optimal cabin pressure resulting in less jet lag
- 65% larger windows than in comparable planes
- smart mood lighting
While there are a lot of benefits of this airline, I will say to keep in mind of a few things. If you decide to ever take this airline, keep an eye out for the add ons that may make your trip a little bit easier. Not all tickets include a checked bag, meals or wi-fi. In march the international planes have been said to be integrating internet, but this one did not. The bag was included on the way there, but I paid 50 Euro on the way back. Not the end of the world, but if that's the case you can purchase it before hand online much cheaper:) I recommend double checking all three of these things if they are important to you. If you are lucky enough to find a flight not fully booked, take the 11PM flight and sleep your night away straight to Europe.
Now onto the fun part - the actual trip.
This wasn't my first time to Rome so I didn’t spend too much time doing the touristy things. We spent these few days wandering the streets, taking our time, and finding locals that could share their own experiences about European living with us. No map was used this trip - it was about wandering and that's exactly what we did.
Rome has a lot to offer, but it’s beauty should be accessed by foot so staying in a prime location is a must. My first stay in Rome I spent my time at a hotel a 20 minute taxi ride away. Since there is so much to do and see in Rome, staying close to the city center was very important for us this time. We are big walkers ( that’s where you see all of the good stuff), so getting in any taxi would defeat one of our biggest missions. We stayed in walking distance to it all - The Westin was a beautiful hotel. The concierge is unbeatable as they have been given a “key” to the city - these guys aren’t going to send you to what they think is a good place to visit. They will send you where they know is guaranteed to be a good time. They have been given the privilege of being known for having the most knowledge of the city, providing a confident recommendation of what to do and see. The room’s were beautiful, gym brand new and staff who was kind. Live piano blessed the air with sounds of tranquility and rotating doors that plant you at the beginning of it all. Only a 10 minute walk from the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and so much more.
Looking for a little less expensive approach to a nights stay in Rome? Hostels are always a great option. Especially if you are staying alone! Air B n B is also another phenomenal option and can be as low as 40 Euro a night!
Now Let's Drink
Rooftops during the winter are typically closed, but when the sun comes out during February you find any open air spot to sip a spritz. Typically, the locations near the touristy hub spots are over crowded, over priced and a place to stay far from. However, while visiting the Spanish Steps we continued to adventure to the top and around the famous location for whatever we could find. As we reached the top we looked to the left and noticed an entirely open rooftop. We figure it was closed, but as we looked below the top level sat a few people at small cocktail tables overlooking the sun’s rays on the famous stairs. Ready for overpriced alcohol, we prepared ourselves to just splurge. Long be hold, the menu contained average priced cocktails, but a view that will make you feel like it was 100 bucks. We spent a few hours this afternoon just sitting here, journaling and thinking about how lucky we are to be a live. Crowd or not, this is a must.
Colosseo Metro Caffe
If I would have looked this up beforehand, read the reviews and saw the photos I would have thought helllll no. So let’s just say I am happy we just kinda stumbled upon it. Our goal at the coliseum was to see the sun set. We didnt have eating and drinking in mind, but when in Rome, right? As we were walking out of the beautiful landmark, we noticed an incredible cheese and meat board laying at a couples table, spritz and the red checkered table cloth. Looked pretty picture perfect to us - 17 euro for 2 Spritz and a board filled with amazing cheeses, meats and breads. Our dreams came true as we enjoyed incredible appetizers and watched the sun set right in front of our eyes. This hour was truly unbeatable and felt like a fairy tale. We continually pinched our selves, because while we have been fortunate to see many amazing views, sitting amongst this one at this time was by far a highlight. Definitely a must go to!
My tip: Go around 5 (or when sunset is when you are traveling). Enjoy the happy hour here and then roam to your next spot for a full dinner.
A hidden Italian Gem
Walking the streets of Rome you will find hundreds of restaurants. Especially next to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and Pantheon. So how do you choose? Well, stay away from neon signs, men outside begging for you to come in and other than that you’re pretty much bound to find good pizza and pasta. Once you find the pizza from heaven, talk to the locals in the restaurant. Someone around your age and ask for their recommendation on what to do. Tell them you don’t want touristy! Hopefully they lead you somewhere away from the center, but if not here is where you must see!
This area of town is where all of the locals go. It is over the bridge and about 10 minutes from the Spanish Steps. It is filled with side streets, a park with young kids, bars and restaurants. We were a little bit weirded out when we just saw big groups of people in a park, but when you take a left there are so many amazing places to eat, drink and meet people from the area! We didn’t try all of the spots, but here is where we landed and had zero complaints!
Meccanismo - trendy restaurant. packed!
Tonnarello - you guys asked me a lot about this one! It was packed when we got their for lunch, but so worth it! The pizza was the best we had.
Tourist No Brainers
- Spanish Steps
- Trevi Fountain
- St. Peters Basilica
- Campo de Fiori (Markets during the day, sunsets at night)
- Roman Forum
I hope that these tips were helpful! I spent only a few days in Rome, but managed to see a lot of amazing places I highly recommend. I included one of the day's looks below as well, because it did just the job for the 50 degree weather and 15 mile walk. Please comment below and let me know if you have any more recommendation in Rome! I would love to hear them for the next trip and I'm sure everyone else in the Tribe would love to know as well!