Italy- a place that seems to be on everyone’s “travel bucket list.” A place on our European Travel List, too, but we made it there much quicker than I anticipated. Our one week trip in Italy was fast, furious, but full of fun. (How’s that for alliteration?!?)
This trip was our first ever couples trip with Logan and Olivia- our friends from Texas. I don’t think we had even been in Germany two months when Logan asked Cody if we wanted to join them on a trip to Italy.
My answer was quick. “DUH!”
Logan and Cody met through work at Conti in Seguin. Olivia and I, obviously, met through the boys. Unfortunately, our schedules didn’t align that often for the four of us to hang out back in the states.
Shortly before we moved to Germany, the Whites moved out of state. So when an opportunity came up for us to travel with them and spend some extended time with them, I was pumped!
Since it was our first ever couples trip, we learned a thing or two through it. Like….planning a trip is hard and stressful. But trying to plan a trip with 4 people is even harder!
We also learned that it’s good to build some couple time into the trip. This was especially true for me because as soon as we left Italy, I was flying back to the States and Cody was headed back to Germany. So I was really wanting some one on one time traveling also.
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Our One Week Trip to Italy
We met Logan and Olivia at the airport where the adventure truly began.
The plan was to drive to Naples as soon as we arrived and that Cody would drive since we clearly had a much better flight situation.
However, we had recently traded in our U.S. Drivers License for our German D.L. and were still awaiting the actual license. All we had were paper copies. And the Italian rental car company wasn’t cool with that.
So post flight from California, Logan drove the four hour drive to Naples. Olivia and I sat in the back trying not to pay attention to what was going on out the windshield. When they say driving in Italy is crazy, they aren’t lying!
First Stop, Naples.
Upon arrival in Naples, we found our way to our super chic hotel with beautiful views of the Mediterranean.
Except, when your budget-conscious-almost-30-year-olds, you pay for the cheapest room in the hotel. This means you get a view of buildings and laundry hanging out the window….. No ocean view for us.
We spent the evening at a local pizza place because… Naples = pizza!
Our original plan was to go to a highly rated pizza restaurant but when our cab driver stopped in front of the restaurant and saw how long the line was, he proceeded to drive off (while Cody was opening the door).
I don’t know what he told us, because he only spoke Italian. But we gathered that he was taking to a better place with less of a line.
Which was true. About 10 minutes later we were dropped off in front of this swanky pizza place and we DE.VOU.RED. some pizza and wine!
Olivia told me she heard Italian wine was so good and didn’t have all the sulfates in it. Essentially I could drink as much as I wanted and not be hungover.
Or…at least for me. I wasn’t completely hungover. But I had a terrible headache the whole next day. Which was quite unfortunate because we drove to Positano. Apparently, the best way to get there is through back roads full of bumps, potholes, and twisty turns.
Before we started our trip to Positano, though, we got some breakfast and attempted to tour Naples.
All the rain had people doing exactly what we planned- a day at the Naples Museum.
We ditched that plan real quick after seeing a line of 200+ people waiting in the rain to enter the museum. Instead, we got back in the car, navigated the crazy Naples roads, and headed to Pompeii.
My knowledge of Pompeii extends to the “Escape from Pompeii” ride at Universal Studios where my mom got DRENCHED!
I learned a lot about what Pompeii was (a town that was “frozen” in time from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.)
We spent a few hours walking around exploring Pompeii, learning a bit of history thanks to Rick Steves and his guided tours.
(And thanks to Cody- Master Navigator)
This was the saddest thing for me to see there. (Even though there were also people mummified from the volcano.)
I should have learned my lesson after this trip to pack more than one pair of tennis shoes…But I didn’t (see my trip to Neuschwanstein for evidence.)
After wrapping up a cold and wet afternoon in Pompeii, we grabbed some lunch and finished our drive to Positano.
We made it to Positano into our little Airbnb (that cost 10 Euros per day for heat). The boys did a little walking around and finding some dinner for us while Olivia and I hung out at the house and I nursed a headache.
Our first night in Positano was pretty dreamy. We sat on the balcony, sipped some wine (except, not me), talked, and watched the sun go down over the gorgeous town of Positano.
The next day was for hiking. It was still a dreary day and raining a bit so we decided to stop at (what someone read to be) a great sandwich shop. We went into, what I would equate, a Citgo. She said she had coffee and pointed to her Kerruig machine and I thought “well, how are we going to get out of here?”
Thanks to Olivia’s bravery in asking for a Cappuccino, we got to sit on the patio and drink what was probably one of the best coffees I had in Italy!
We headed to the trail head but as soon as we made it, the rain started coming down really hard again. So we headed back the other way.
We decided to walk the 2,000+ steps from up where we were (in the “mountains”) down to the main town of Positano.
As we walked into town we got to see some gorgeous views, taste some Limoncello Frozen Lemonade, and work out our weak calf muscles.
Forty five minutes later, we made it to the “town” but it was still another fifteen minute walk into the actual city center where there was FOOD.
Luckily an Italian cab driver saw our tired faces and stopped. We didn’t care how much the taxi ride cost, we were happy to be sitting instead of walking.
Our cab driver took us to a great restaurant for lunch, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.
We spent the afternoon nosing around downtown Positano and Olivia and I even got some Italian sandals made for us (courtesy of a Rick Steves recommendation)!
We spent the evening at a local dinner place where our cab driver from earlier got us a table + a bottle of wine + Limoncello shots for the group.
Except, the dinner was a bit disappointing. Not so much for me, because I felt really sick and could barely eat my side salad. And Olivia enjoyed her meal. But the boys got the same thing and both were really disappointed in it.
Monday morning we woke early in Positano and drove to our Airbnb in Rome.
As expected, we were greeted with beautiful views, lovely weather, and all the Italian music playing along the streets.
The Colosseum and Roman Forum
We were on a tight schedule because we had an afternoon tour of the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. So we grabbed a bite to eat before beginning our tours.
From research I had been doing for our trip, I knew to expect the Colosseum would be in the middle of a bustling city. Despite knowing that, I was still so incredibly impressed and enamored with all of the ancient buildings, towns, literally everything, right there in the middle of a modern city.
We booked a tour through this company and were satisfied with the quality of the tour. I’m typically not one to want to do the standard, run of the mill tours that everyone is doing. But for the price, it was worth it for sure!
The tour was a three hour guided tour of The Colosseum, The Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. To be honest, three hours was a little long and by the end we were all ready for dinner and to rest our feet.
I had a lot of fun, though, playing with my camera and trying to put some photography things I learned into practice.
(P.S. I had to snap a picture of this- those proud Aggies. Yet they deface property as great as The Colosseum. I couldn’t resist!)
The Vatican, Spanish Steps, and Exploring Rome
Tuesday we spent our morning at the Vatican. We booked a guided tour through the same company as the day before. The City Wonders tour is the way to go for anyone who is traveling there because the entrance line in must have been at least a two hour wait.
With our tour we got to see the Vatican museum (a sliver of it). We spent maybe forty five minutes in there. Our guide told us if you looked at everything in the museum for 10 seconds each, it would take you something like 4 years to see it all.
It was also incredibly crowded and allowed me to practice my anxiety calming strategies a lot! I love the picture below because it truly shows how crowded and cramped the entire museum was.
We also got to tour the Sistine Chapel. I have no pictures of this because no pictures were allowed. However, it is the famous place where Michelangelo’s painting is and where the Cardinals elect the new Pope whenever it is time.
I was a bit disappointed there. Not because of the building itself, but because of humanity.
The Sistine Chapel- a place of worship. A place of incredible, rich history. And no one was appreciating it.
We were told “you have to be silent,” “absolutely no talking.” We also couldn’t take pictures. Instead, we walked into hundreds of people in there, talking, trying to sneak pictures, and the guards literally yelling “Silence, please,” “No pictures!” Except they said it in multiple languages, really loud. Super disappointing.
St. Peters Basilica made up for it though. I was completely in awe. It was beautiful and I could not get enough of it.
This year I am reading through the Bible in chronological order through a podcast called The Bible Recap (which I LOVE and recommend!).
Anyways, in May when we went to Italy, I obviously had not even made it through half of the Bible. I would love to go back at a time when I have read through Peter’s story and be able to connect the things I was seeing and reading to the story of the Bible.
Cody and I also went up to the top of the Dome, which created some spectacular views.
(I think this is my favorite picture from the trip. Each trip I am trying to capture one picture that really speaks to me and display it in our home. I think this one will win for this trip!)
After The Vatican, Cody and I did some exploring on our own while the White’s also did their own Italian exploring.
Pasta Cooking Class
Tuesday night, our last night as a group, we spent in an outdoor cooking class and we had a blast!
I highly recommend doing this if you get the chance (and this is the company we used!). It was such a fun and different way to explore the Italian culture.
They taught us how to make pasta as well as two typical Italian dishes. Once we finished cooking, we of course got to devour our delicious meal + some yummy wine.
There was another young couple there with us and we made quick friends and went out for drinks with them afterwards.
We parted ways on Wednesday- the White’s went up to Tuscany for a couple days and we stayed in Rome.
Cody and I did the Rick Steves walking tour of Rome and got to see some of the other standard Roman highlights (The Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Pizza, you know…the usual stuff!)
We wrapped up our trip with the best meal of the trip (thanks to a recommendation from Canaan and Mollie!) and a C&K self guided night tour!
Thursday morning I made Cody wake up at the ass crack of dawn to get me to the airport on time, because I read that it could take easily up to three hours to get through check in and security in the Rome airport.
But, I didn’t read anywhere that the United desks didn’t open till 7 AM. So our 6 AM arrival time was, indeed, not necessary.
I finally boarded my plane to Texas, which is a whole ‘nother adventure you will have to stay tuned for….
All in all, we enjoyed Italy. Cody really wants to go back to Rome to see all the history and do even more touring. I’d agree.
However, if we go back, I’d like to spend some more time up north in the wine country. 🙂
Here’s to hoping we make it back there!
Until next time,
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