Rome • Italy | When in Rome

DSC05804We celebrated our marriage with a trip to Italy. That honeymoon was big for us, being our first real trip together. All on our own. It was also my first time stepping foot anywhere outside of North America. It was an amazing 2 weeks, and it started a love affair both with travel and Italy. And so, as Rome is just a quick flight away from Brussels it seemed appropriate – dare I say romantic – to return the place that started it all and celebrate our 5 year anniversary.

On that honeymoon trip years ago, we fell in love with the Trastevere neighborhood. It felt a little bit off the beaten path at that point and full of life and amazing little restaurants and bars. So when we looked for a place to stay for this trip we knew it’d be there. The perfect home-base for this quick weekend trip.

Having done the touristy side of Rome the first time around, we decided a much more relaxed agenda fit the bill. And relax we did. Our days were spent seeking out new-to-us sights and making frequent gelato stops to beat the late August heat. Our nights were spent exploring the niches of Trastevere, and drinking wine and prosecco.

A stay in Trastevere would not have been complete with a visit or two the little spot we found and loved years ago: Dar Poeta. If you go, do yourself a favor and take my advice. First, you must, must add the fresh buffala mozarella to your pizza. It’s next level. And second, hard as it may be, save some room and order the nutella-filled dessert calzone. Only then can you waddle back to your hotel.

We had ourselves a pretty good weekend.

The quick photoshoot in the Pantheon. Because why not?DSC05818 DSC05819 DSC05822 DSC05823

The gallon of gelato we consumed.

I was lucky I actually had these photos as most gelato seemed to magically disappear as soon as they were in my hand. Without contest, the best of the weekend was the one on the left – Limone e basilico (lemon and basil). I would eat that for every meal for the rest of my life and die a happy person.

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The disturbing yet fascinating (or fascinating yet disturbing) visit to the Capuchin Crypt

Have you visited it? It felt like a series of macabre dioramas.

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The appreciation of grandiose Roman churches. 

We love us some Roman churches. [By the way, can we tangent for a second to discuss how beautiful the outside of The Duomo is in Florence and yet how amazingly boring the inside is. What gives?] We had already seen all the big well-known churches in Rome, so we sought out some new ones and oh baby. This one.  This is one you have to go see: Chiesa di Sant’Ignazio.

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It’s a very new church, given the ancientness of Rome, having been originally built in the 1600’s. With beautiful multi-hued marble pillars and ornate moldings, lavish is the word I would use to describe the inside of this one. Absolutely gorgeous. But the real kicker is the fresco in the nave. It’s painted in such a way to give the ceiling more depth than it has, so the church appears to be much taller than it actually is. Genius. There is a marble disk on the floor which marks the best spot to stand to take it in. Keep your eye on the ceiling as you walk away and you’ll notice that the ceiling begins to look warped and out of perspective. The other pretty wonderful thing about this church is the cupola. It’s fake! They never got around to building it, so instead a canvas was painted to given the illusion of a cupola. Pretty amazing huh?

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The coin toss into the Trevi Fountain.

Or not. We stopped briefly by the Trevi Fountain, but it was closed for renovations. And so my euro stayed in my pocket, and my wish left un-wished. It was a good wish too. Alas, maybe I’ll just have to save it for the next time we are in town.

The best peep show in town.

Seriously. Stand in line and come your turn take a look through the peephole of the Priory of the Knights of Malta and you will have a perfectly framed  view of St. Peter’s dome.

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The “Fight On!” to our Trojans back home.

Since we couldn’t be at the LA Coliseum cheering our boys on with our fellow SC fans, this Colosseum had to do.

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The river walk to Castel Sant’Angelo.

Jared bust a move.

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The consumption of (many) amazing Italian craft beers.

Baladin – not a bad beer to be found. Hardest part is trying to choose which one to drink next.

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And last but not least, the fans, the flags, and the flares.

We were lucky enough to be in town for A.S. Roma’s season opening football game against Fiorentina. I’d heard about the insanity that is football fandom in Italy. This game did not disappoint.

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LOVE: 5 YEARS

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Today we are celebrating 5 years.

11 years ago I swore I was going to buckle down. Focus more on school, focus less on boys. Sometimes things do not work out as you plan.

On my first day back in Los Angeles after returning from summer vacation, my best friend introduced me to a guy she befriended over the summer. He was a long-haired, Metallica-loving boy who was excitedly waving a guitar pic around his fraternity house. That guitar pic was a token keepsake caught while at the previous night’s Metallic concert – a pic personally thrown by James Hetfield. A house party a week later led to a night spent talking into the wee wee hours of the morning. The topics of conversation are long forgotten, but I do remember that although both of us struggled to keep our eyes open, neither wanted to be the one to end the night. And that’s where our story began.

11 years together. 5 years married.

In that time we have lived in three different cities and adventured through 14 countries. We expanded our little family by two and moved to a country on a whole different continent thousands of miles away from all those near and dear to us. We have shared a love of sour beers, epic nerd/fantasy novels, and Harry Potter. We learned that every marriage is put to the test at one point or another, and that you can’t take each other for granted. We come first. We realized that marriage is not 50/50 all the time – sometimes you have to give more than you get. We discovered (thankfully) that we can spend weeks together non-stop just the two of us without wanting to kill each other, and that we can miss each other like crazy after only a single night away. Most importantly, we learned that love really can conquer all.

I can’t imagine sharing this life, this love, and this adventure with anyone else.

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