When planning this trip I knew we should take the kids to Italy. Originally I had considered visiting Venice, Florence (I really want to see Michelangelo’s David), Rome and far southern Italy. I quickly determined that wasn’t going to be very feasible and would be too expensive so narrowed it down to Rome. I figured Romans had such a huge influence in history, art and science we’d focus on that. We’ve already seen Roman handiwork in Trier and artwork in the Louvre, and will see it again in Barcelona, at Hadrian’s Wall and elsewhere.
In putting together this trip I spent hours on the airbnb website reading descriptions, looking at photos, reading reviews and looking at maps, trying to find places for us to stay throughout Europe. When this apartment directly across from the Pantheon appeared on the screen I knew this was the place for us in Rome.
Our plan was to fly to Rome via Brussels. I had hoped we could take a night train from Luxembourg to Rome but there wasn't a schedule that didn't require changing trains every few hours. Flying in and out of Luxembourg is expensive so the kids and I caught a train from Luxembourg to Brussels. Fortunately, the conductor came along and told us we should move to a different car as only part of the train was continuing to Brussels. That explains why several people got up and moved a bit earlier after an announcement in German I didn’t understand. We transferred in Brussels to the train for the airport and arrived in plenty of time for our flight. We had lunch (a surprisingly-good-for-fast-food-but-rather-salty-for-me) burger and fries at “Quality Burger. After eating we discovered a natural food restaurant in a different part of the airport- oh well, I’ll have to remember that for next time. We did get 1 slice of lemon meringue pie and 1 slice of cheesecake there to share.
The flight to Rome was uneventful. It was the first time we've flown on Ryanair, a budget carrier for cheap international flights. The base ticket from Brussels to Rome was about $25! There are special deals for kids too. Even with adding 1 checked bag each and confirmed seating so we could be sure to sit together, it was still under $200 total for the 4 plane tickets. Amazing. That's cheaper than train tickets. We could have actually carried the bags on and avoided the checked bag fee as our suitcases weighed in just under the cut off for carrying on the plane but I wasn’t sure they all would and there is a hefty extra fee if you have to buy it at the airport. It was nice for a change not to take our bags around with us.
I forgot to mention that in Luxembourg- Det55 got her haircut at a beauty shop near Catherine's house. She enjoyed the spa like treatment and Ltmgamer enjoyed relaxing in the massaging chairs.
Det55 and Ltmgamer fell asleep in the taxi but Enmgamer and I caught a glimpse of the coliseum as we sped through Rome and before I knew it, I realized the curved building we were along side was the Pantheon!
I thought we’d have to be dropped off nearby and walk the rest of the way to the apartment because Piazza Rontunda is a pedestrian area but the driver was able to come up around and behind the piazza and get us a few steps from the apartment. We found the apartment building door but there was no one waiting there for us and no phone messages. Hmm, what to do? We waited a bit. Ltmgamer curled up on the cobble stones and rested on the luggage. We waited more. Det55 began fretting. We were a few feet away from the sidewalk tables at a nice restaurant. We waited some more. I tried calling the airbnb host and the person who was to meet us but the calls wouldn’t go through. Surprisingly, I was able to leave a voicemail for Paul asking if he could email the airbnb host. Not sure what else to do I went into the little shop next to the apartment as I thought maybe I could ask someone in there to call or text the person with the key for me.