Only 78 Days To Go

A decision has been made. And since I am me, it is hardly surprising that this decision has been made a full month after it first came up. Seriously, you should try choosing breakfast cereal with me in the grocery store one day. But make sure to Tivo your favorite shows first because we're probably going to be there until they kick us out. Unless it's a 24-hour grocery store, of course, in which case we'll be there until you give up around 2am, shove a box of Bran Flakes into my basket, and shout THEY ALL TASTE THE SAME, WHO CARES.

If you have been waiting with baited breath to find out whether we've chosen to go to Paris or Rome for three days this October---and really, my god, I would expect nothing else---you will be pleased to know that we have reached a conclusion. It is hardly a logical conclusion, but in this case we weighed up logic against "screw it, we should just go," and "screw it, we should just go" ended up winning out, and therefore I am happy to report that we are going to Rome.

I know! I can hardly believe it myself.

Any sane person would take the Eurostar to Paris for such a short trip, I realize this, but when we asked ourselves where we really wanted to go---as opposed to which option was just easier---the answer was a tiny little "Rome" which gradually grew into a large and booming "ROME!" and then a truly insane and monstrous "ROME!!! ROME!!! ROME!!!" And since you can't avoid a voice that is both speaking in all caps and using that many exclamation points (um, been on the Internet lately?), we had to listen to it. And obey it. And eat as much pasta as it told us to.

I'm sorry, did you feel that? I just shivered with pleasure, picturing all that pasta. 

So for the last few days, we I have been working out elaborate solutions that help us avoid a mammoth four trips in a week to Heathrow Airport---which is worse than LAX and JFK combined, and no, the cute accents don't make it any better, because THEY'RE NOT CUTE TO ME, WE BOTH SAY "THE FLIGHT IS DELAYED" EXACTLY THE SAME WAY---and have now got it precariously balanced so that we only have to be there twice, which is two times less than the amount of times that was making me not want to bother with Italy, and two times less of anything is good enough for me.

Next, of course, we have to sort out where to stay in Rome---don't you think this place looks sort of creepily awesome? I have already emailed them for availability---and this is a task that's proving slightly harder than I thought. Basically, if you happen to have an empty penthouse with butler service and free wireless right outside the Pantheon, now would be the time to tell me about it.

1
HouseofJules
Jul 24, 2008

YAY for Rome! If you plan to go to the Sistine Chapel to see The Creation of Adam, e-mail me. I have a cautionary tale that would be most helpful. TRUST ME, you're gonna want this information.

That apartment you linked to DOES look creepily awesome. Very exciting!
Jules
House of Jules

2
Marguerite
Jul 25, 2008

ROME! Oh, how I envy you, I do have a great hotel reccomandation somewhere, and will try to dig it out if you want.
There is a fabulous gallery that you must check out if you have time to do contemporary art with all the vestiges of past times at the ready: it's called Lorcan O Neill (http://www.lorcanoneill.com).
And also, I am glad to see I am not the only one still counting days to big events (15 to my vacation in South of France, YAY!)!

3
Sher
Jul 25, 2008

You'll love Rome. If you're planning on visiting the vatican at all just make sure you follow the dress code as the 'bouncers' take their job very seriously.

4
aBd libbing
Jul 25, 2008

Hurray for Rome! I was one of those people who thought Paris made sense for practicality's sake, but it's awesome that you've picked the place you really want to visit. Good luck with accommodation; when I was there with my family we stayed in an awesome, huge two-bedroom apartment, but I'm guessing that would be out of your budget.

5
Raven
Jul 25, 2008

How exciting! I've always wanted to go to Rome!

6
Suzy in DC
Jul 25, 2008

Yay for Roma!! You will love it. You will also start to notice as you look for hotels that the bathrooms are out-of-control NICE. They are very into marble there, and normally they are also very spacious, even in a small/inexpensive hotel/apt/B&B. Have so much fun eating and drinking!

7
Tressa
Jul 25, 2008

The apartment you linked to is in a fantastic neighborhood. It's centrally located to all the great sights, but there are many wonderful yet inexpensive restaurants as well. We stayed closer to the Vatican but seemed to end up in Piazza Navona every night for dinner because we loved it so much!

8
B
Jul 25, 2008

Holly - my husband and I were just there in May to celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary! I confess that my heart belonged to Positano, but we liked Rome as well - we did 2 nights at the beginning of our trip and one at the end.

First two nights, we stayed here: http://www.hotelcapodafrica.com/ Super cute, actually a pretty good deal for Rome, and couldn't be easier for all the Ancient Rome sites (which were my big priority). Don't regret staying there b/c it was so convenient but if I had to do it over again, DEFINITELY would stay near the Piazza Navona - we thought it was the cutest, most "Roman" area of Rome.

The last night we stayed on the Spanish Steps - eh. Wasn't that into that location. It's all high end shopping, which is great if you're in the market for Gucci, but us ... not so much.

If you want to go to the Vatican, I *highly* recommend forking over the cash to one of the tour agencies which can get you past the line. Seriously, the line is CRAZY (as are the crowds inside, fwiw). We opted for the cheapest option, which was to skip the line but not take a tour. We used these people and all went well: http://www.prestotours.com/index.html

Also, if you are planning to go to St Peters after the Sistine Chapel, take the "tour group only" exit to your RIGHT at the back of the Chapel. You may throw off the count of some cruise directors, but the guards could care less and you will save yourself another 30-40 minutes in line.

Email me if you have any other questions!

9
Kirsten
Jul 25, 2008

I used this company (http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/) to find a great studio apartment in London right off of Fleet Street on New Fetter Lane for $100 a night. It was a great apartment with a washer, kitchen, couch and bed in a fantastic neighborhood.

There are currently 340 apartments available for Rome.

Have fun!

10
Em
Jul 25, 2008

Oh, I am SO jealous! And that apartment looks wicked cool. Plus, I noticed it offered the opportunity for hunting nearby...which is awesome, you know, because who WOULDN'T want to go hunting...when in Rome? :)

11
MetroDad
Jul 25, 2008

Sacre bleu! I can't believe you're not going to Paris. Zoot alors.

Anyway, you can't go wrong with either decision. I love Italy too and have logged a lot of time there. I've only been to Rome 3-4 times. However, whenever I'm there, I make sure to take time and grab some pizza at Da Baffetto. It's near Piazza Navona. Everyone knows it. The place is kind of an institution in Italy and their reputation is well-deserved. Great place to sit outside, eat a slice, and people watch. You'll love it. Have I ever steered you wrong?

Meanwhile, I'm laughing my ass off that you think Heathrow is hell. You haven't seen hell until you've been to Fiumicino Airport. They must lose more bags per capita than any other airport in the world. It's almost comical. I once flew there on my way to a ski vacation in Cortina. Guess what? They LOST my fucking skis!

If you can do carry-on, do it. Also, when you're leaving Rome, make sure you get to the airport 2 hours in advance. Getting through Customs and Immigration at that airport can take forever.

Buone vacanze!

12
Lawyerish
Jul 25, 2008

Rome. Oh, how I love Rome. You definitely made the right choice.

Every time I've gone, I've stayed near the Pantheon, and the location does not get any better than that. You can walk EVERYWHERE. I believe the names of the hotels I've stayed at were the Albergo Abruzzi (which used to be, ah, very bare-bones, to put it mildly, but recently it was renovated and is now much more expensive so I assume it's pretty cushy, and in any event the rooms LOOK OUT AT THE PANTHEON) and the Hotel Pantheon (innovative name! it was very cute and very nice and again, in the middle of the action), and now I can't remember the name of the third place I stayed in that area, but it wasn't all that great so never mind.

13
DiaryofWhy
Jul 25, 2008

Anytime balsamic vinegar is listed as one of the hotel's amenities, I think you pretty much have to stay there. Also, autonomous heating! Autonomous heating!! It kind of makes me want to cheer.

14
Maryann
Jul 25, 2008

Yea Rome! I haven't been back there since the late 80s when I lived there for six months during a study abroad program, but I've been dying to take my husband there some day. Even though a diet Coke costs about $3 a can - warm - where else can you wander around and constantly bump into historical monuments and order pizza by weight! The food and wine in your future are making me so jealous! The apartment looks adorable (except maybe for that giant portrait which seems to be all nose). Great decision.

15
hannah
Jul 25, 2008

Hi Holly,

I've been reading your site for awhile now and am commenting for the first time because, well, ROME!

I went last October with my father and we had an amazing time until our flight home was delayed for 13 hours. May you have better luck.

I wanted to pass along a hotel recommendation. We stayed at the Hotel Modigliani and really enjoyed our stay there. The hotel staff are extremely friendly and it's just a couple of minutes from the Spanish Steps. http://www.hotelmodigliani.com/

Also, our favorite restaurant is not far from there. With all of the amazing food in Rome (which, truth be told, is why we went), we ate there twice! It's called Sora Lucia and is a quaint, homestyle, place run by a mother and her son. This is the best link I could find: http://www.hoteljulia.it/sora_lucia.htm

Enjoy your trip!

16
Moose
Jul 25, 2008

I love Rome, but I can't think about Rome. For much the same reason I can't venture into the Mission for delicious, delicious burritos.

Just be warned that once you've seen the Sistine Chapel, THERE IS NO GOING BACK. They will herd you out of the Vatican like cattle. So see anything else you want to see before venturing in.

Also: the croissants and coffee are AMAZING. Think of me while you enjoy your breakfast. :)

17
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 25, 2008

You guys, these suggestions are amazing, and I love the enthusiasm with which they're given. Thank you! Right now, I have a crush on the whole Internet.

18
Dianna
Jul 25, 2008

You will have a great time there. My favorite thing was the Colliseum (can't spell). The only downfall was no elevators and steep stairs at the hotel. Evidently I brought too much luggage!

19
Elizabeth
Jul 25, 2008

How exciting! I can't wait to hear all about it.
But I am still planning my own someday trip to Paris. :)

20
kat
Jul 25, 2008

roma! oh how i miss living there. if i can give you a tip about gelato b/c that's UBER important. old bridge gelato which is right near vatican city/st. peter's. i'm assuming and praying it's still there. it's on via del bastioni di michaelangelo, 5. it's fantastic. and they pile on the gelato - you can definitely choose more than one flavor, 3 in fact! mmmmmm. nothing says a cool way to cool off like gelato. the other best way to cool off is to duck inside a church. :)

21
Anne & May
Jul 25, 2008

My favorite part about Rome has to be the coffee bars. Emphasis on the word bars. Romans like to walk in, saddle up to the bar, say the Italian equivalent of "HIT ME!", then the barista slides them a shot of espresso, they knock it back in one gulp, and leave a few coins on the counter.

And they do this ALL DAY!

Also, be prepared it is a labyrinth. I often felt I was trapped in a maze.

22
danielle Bishop
Jul 25, 2008

Um, wow. That sounds amazing.

I, too, voted for Paris for logical reasons. But you're right: you can't ignore caps and that many exclamation marks!

The apartment looks awesome, even in its creepiness.

23
Rhi
Jul 25, 2008

That apartment is THE AWESOME.

Yay! Rome!

24
Jordyn
Jul 25, 2008

YAY FOR ROME!!! *sigh* I'm envious of your traveling. But I hope you guys have oodles of awesome in ROME ROME ROME!!!

25
Katherine
Jul 25, 2008

I'm just the sort of tourist to exclaim, "It sounds so much better here than it did in Fort Worth!" Next time I'll be a little more cognizant of the situation instead of so enamored.

26
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 25, 2008

Aw man, the creepily awesome apartment is not available for our dates. I've never been so disappointed in my life. WHY DOES EVERYONE WANT TO BE IN ROME FROM OCTOBER 11th-14th? Do they GIVE AWAY the mozzarella then or something?

27
Jen
Jul 25, 2008

YAY! We went to Rome 2 years ago (before we started The Baby Making Extravaganza of 2006) and it was just amazing. I would go back in a heartbeat. I'm so jealous!!

28
Sheila
Jul 25, 2008

Ahh... Roma. It was all romance and beauty for me. I seriously did not see ONE unattractive person the entire time I was in Italy. Babies, twentysomethings, the elderly-- they are all STUNNING there. I wholeheartedly support the travel decision. Once again, I find myself living vicariously through you (and I mean that in the least creepy way possible. If that's possible). Can't wait for the planning updates!

29
Mom on the Run
Jul 25, 2008

Rome is a wonderful city. Must dos---ice cream...possibly the best I have ever eaten...real chocolate and vanilla bean. --Stand with one foot in Vatican and one foot in Rome. --Attend mass at St. Peter's...someone got us tickets to Good Friday mass. Pope John Paul II passed within 10 feet of me.

Driving in Rome is insane...everyone drives fast.

I was last in Rome as a teenager. My dad had a business trip and we stayed at the Cavalieri Hilton...possibly the swankiest hotel I have ever stayed at.

30
casacaudill
Jul 25, 2008

I just found your blog today - all the decor and BlogHer talk led me here. Having been to both Rome & Paris in the last two years, I'm excited to see you chose Rome as it's really the funner of the two. We used a site called Romeby.com to find our lodgings for 5 nights while there. It wasn't the most luxurious place, but it was pretty nice and the location was great and it was only 139 euro/night so I was very excited.

31
Marcheline
Jul 25, 2008

I'm not going to tell you how long I stared at the screen, scratching my head and thinking "Butter service? What the hell is butter service?"

I need sleep.

- M

32
Nothing But Bonfires
Jul 26, 2008

Butter service sounds FANTASTIC. I would also like bacon service.

33
Kristabella
Jul 27, 2008

I have never been to Rome, so I have no suggestions.

But I am a hundred kinds of jealous!

34
barbie2be
Jul 28, 2008

yay! ROME!!!!

we stayed at the hotel scott house http://www.scotthouse.com/ it's right near termini but very quiet and safe. there were two of us, but my friend booked us a quad. we ended up with what they call the penthouse. it is the only room on the rooftop, so it is completely private and it has a beautiful patio. it was only about 88 euros per night. :) you would love it!!!! it's right down the street from santa maria maggiore basillica where bernini is buried!

35
Sanguine Spice
Jul 28, 2008

Hooray! My favorite city in Europe. If you want a lovely Sunday brunch or great aptertifs before heading out totally check out Salotto 42. You will also want to redecorate your bathroom slash entire house in homage to their aesthetic! Sooooo sToKEd for you guys! Woohoo!

36
jenB
Aug 04, 2008

How many points for being smokin' hot n' sexy?