Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Marina di Praia | Praiano

After five spectacular days in Rome we took the train to Naples and from there a private driver to the famed Amalfi Coast

Here are some snapshots of our time spent on gorgeous Marina di Praia nestled in the perfect cliff-side town of Praiano. Camden loved swimming in the warm water and relaxing on the blue lounge chairs, including naps on Moms lap while she sipped an Aperol Spritz. 

I believe the best meal you will find down at La Praia is at Il Pirata - we enjoyed fried calamari with honey and fried leeks, black truffle cream risotto with speck and homemade pasta with mussels, zucchini, pecorino cheese, pepper and basil. We were treated to really lovely service and stunning views. This classy beach club even had a highchair!

The breathtaking setting, plus the low key vibe and fantastic restaurants in Praiano far exceeded my expectations. Traveling here with Bob and Camden was so much fun and surprisingly - incredibly relaxing. The only not fun, high stress part was the narrow winding cliff roads in and out, Camden screamed inconsolably and he's always great in the car. I guess on a good day even adults don't love that drive. We were thankful we hired a driver instead of renting a car for many reasons; including that parking is limited and caters to locals and the Praiano main loop is one way. We met a lovely Australian family at the beach with a baby the same age who also didn't fare well on the drive. They had rented a car and spent 45 minutes one night getting a parking spot. You kind of have to pat yourself on the back and think...hey. we're doing it right!

Praiano will forever be one of my favorites and I can't wait to tell you more about it. 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Colosseum | Rome

The Colosseum, hooray! 

Listen up. Here's my insider tip and probably the most important piece of advice I will give about Rome: buy your Colosseum tickets at Palatine Hill. You can buy tickets online, yes, that's a great idea, too. When I went online to do so about a week in advance, maybe two, all the time slots were booked for all of the days we were here. No big deal because I had the insider scoop. Palatine Hill
The Colosseum was easily the busiest attraction (much longer lines than The Vatican) and we breezed right through. This took a little initiative on my part. Picture a mass of people and lines forming out of nowhere. If you can, walk up to an attendant, flash them your ticket (and your baby if you have one) and politely ask them for assistance. Chances are they will direct you to somewhere important (an actual line) past the thrones of half wits who have formed a nonsensical line, the line to the line if you will. I know, madness.

Take a step back and assess what is going on to avoid the chaos. 
Having a stroller was an automatic jump in line no matter where we were (airline check-in, airport security, Customs, St. Peters Basilica). You name it, that stroller time and time again was our golden ticket. At the Colosseum it also seemed like our actual ticket time mattered. Since we had a ticket for the exact time it was aka 2:15 pm we bypassed those with ticket times slotted an hour later. They were directed to wait in a different/longer line. 
With our tickets in hand purchased just a few minutes ago in no line at Palatine Hill, we literally felt like the smartest European travelers since Rick Steves. 
No schedule on vacation is the best schedule. Additionally, The Roman Forum entrance had a separate lengthy line, so we headed back to the Palatine Hill entrance and would see the Roman Forum that way since they are connected.

Captioning this photo: "It's ruined!!" This was our family joke starting with these photos; whenever it appeared Camden was upset, it was actually about "the state of the ruins". ;)
He wasn't enjoying the sun in his eyes when we'd lifted the visor for a picture. Promise we are not torturing our son and that he actually did have a good time here at the Colosseum!

I loved touring the Colosseum. It was lovingly restored in one spot, ancient and crumbling in the next, and under construction in the frame after that. 

The stroller was obviously key since we skipped so much of the line with it. But in Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum it was a burden. In the Forum we put him in the Ergobaby so he wouldn't get jostled. I was very glad we brought the Ergo along! We couldn't really leave the stroller anywhere because we were covering a great deal of ground on foot and not backtracking.... (There is nowhere to check them at any entrance.) It was a long, hot afternoon and we were exhausted afterwards!

It was all fine in the end, 100% worth it. 

We had a late lunch nearby at Trattoria Luzzi. It was simple and lively with classic wood oven pizza and draft Peronis for the win! 
In a tale of small worlds the couple sitting next to us had just flown in from Boston, turns out we had mutual friends and they were attending said mutual friends brothers wedding in Tuscany! What are the chances at the most random side street Trattoria in Rome that we'd make this connection?!