Vegan Fast-Food

universo veganoI never thought I’d be in Rome and stumble across a Vegan fast-food joint, but I did. If you are vegan/vegetarian or need a break from a meat centric diet then check out Universo Vegano @ Via Verdi, 4 – 21013.
The burgers are gigantic and should definitely be shared. Universo veganoThe fajita-like wraps look awesome, I really wanted to try the Veghani Lupino but it was sold out. They offer more like soup, vegan hotdogs, a bunch of sandwiches and potato and soy croquetas. If I was them I’d offer fries instead of their croquetas, they are just too heavy and more than enough bread after eating a burger or sandwich. If you eat here you will be fine ordering less than more because the portions are bigger than you’d expect.

Rome Metro

subway no jokeBe careful catching the metro in Rome.  Heed the “doors closing” warnings, don’t take them lightly.  It happened to me.  I was running to catch up with my partner who had made it onto the train.  Unfortunatly, I was a bit too slow and this picture is what happened to me.

Luckily Tom is strong and was able to pry the doors apart but for a second there I thought I was toast.

When in Rome

 

There is just too much to see when in Rome. We saw an incredible amount in 4 days.  The main tip I can give you is START EARLY!!!
VATICANVATICAN ZONE
If you head to the Vatican (early!) first get in line for St. Peter’s Basilica because by noon the line is impossible. We spent maybe 3-4 hours at the Basilica. We paid the extra euros (7,00) to take the elevator halfway up the cupola and it was well worth it because after that we climbed a million more stairs to the top. If you are claustrophobic then do not venture to the top, the spiral staircase continues up, the walls narrowing along the way.
Next, get in the long line for the Vatican Museums (Sistine Chapel). The line can be long but it goes fairly fast. I think we waited in line for at most maybe 1 hour (we got in line at about 12:30/1pm). The tickets are 16 euros if you don’t buy them through the internet. You can reserve them online, the wait is shorter but you will still have to wait in a different line.

Roman ForumROMAN FORUM/COLOSSEUM
Don’t miss out. This is the best part of the trip.
Set aside almost a whole day for this visit. Buy your tickets for the Colosseum and the Forum at any entrance for the Forum because the Colosseum line is always way too long. The tickets are good for 2 days but only one entrance (meaning you can go to the Forum one day and the Colosseum the 2nd or vice versa) If you pay for a Forum Tour, then visit the Palatine Hill beforehand because it is not included in the tour but it is one of the best parts of the Forum. colesseumAnd if you want to get in on the Colosseum underground and upper tier tour then book in advance because the tour tickets sell out fast! Also, if you don’t book the tour then you don’t have access to the underground or upper tier of the Coliseum. I wish I could tell you if it is worth it but it was sold out, yet I’m sure it is worth it because even the regular entry experience is quite impressive.
And there is so much more to see! Definitely don’t skip the Pantheon.

Treviso Airport Bus

Our flight to Barcelona was from Treviso Airport about 40 minutes away from Venice (cheaper airlines like Ryanair fly out of here).

airport bus

Instead of waiting in lines at the bus stations you can buy tickets from the tourist office at the Santa Lucia train station; the guys there were very helpful and even had a timetable of bus departures handy.  The tickets are for the ATVO airport transfer bus and cost 7 euros one way.

Then you head to the bus lot at Piazzale Roma and find the parking spot for the airport busses.  Be careful not to get on the wrong one as there are multiple airports, for the most part the spots are marked accordingly.  It is good to get there early because the schedules never seem to be up to date but they try to coordinate the schedule with Ryanair flights.  Also, busses can fill up quick depending on the time of year.  When you’re on the bus just put your ticket in the little yellow punch box and you’re good to go.

Palazzo Ducale

Christmas vacay 1250The Doge’s Palace is a must on a rainy day.  Although the outside may be overshadowed a bit by the extravagant cathedral, the inside is beyond words.  You can book tickets online in advance so you won’t have to wait in line;  But the line moves fairly quickly during the off season.  palazzo ducaleTickets cost €16 and give you access to theDoge’s Palace,  Museo Correr, Museo Archeologico Nazionale and Monumental Rooms of the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana.  The ticket is also valid for 3 months.  You can’t take photos or film but the place will be embedded in your memory; you could also sneak a few photos when the guards aren’t looking.

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Venice by Night

The streets of Venice were deserted the night we arrived.  The feeling cannot be expressed through pictures but only experienced.  Definitely, explore Venice by night and get lost in the maze of its narrow winding streets.  But beware, you could walk the whole of Venice as it is easy to get carried away by the night.

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Christmas in the Alps

Christmas vacay 417Christmas vacay 458I have no words for our time spent in Trentino; the food, the wine, the company, the language… I could go on for pages and pages on what a wonderful time we had.

So when in Italy you must visit Trentino.   It is a province full of quaint little mountain villages and of course Trento, amazing hikes and vistas, history, tradition, the incredible Dolomites and much more.  We headed towards Pedazzo and Bellamonte to spend the heart of the holiday with family.

Here are a couple must do’s:

-Go hiking or skiing amongst the Dolomites.  Or even sledding under the moonlight (or lack thereof) like us on Christmas night.

-Take the Skibus for FREE everywhere.

-Visit the Geology Museum in Predazzo (if you are into that sort of thing).  It is super cool and great for the kids.

-If there from December 8-January 13th you MUST go to the village of Tesero and follow the display of nativities through the town.  Even if you are not there during the winter you MUST visit Tesero, it is magical and as if you have stepped through a time warp.

-Spend at least a day in Trento.

-Explore, explore, explore!

Off to Italia

Here we go.  We downloaded a couple Italian apps and are heading to the Alps for xmas on a bit of a whim;  We’re super excited.  First we fly into Milan, well Bergamo (its Rynair, they don’t usually fly into big airports)  then we hop a train to Trento.   What happens is you take a bus from the airport to the train station.

I’m posting this part after the fact because well, I just haven’t had time for much with all our movements.  Anyway, you can buy your train tickets from a machine or a teller.  We chose teller since we were winging it and had time.  But brush up on some Italian before attempting this although you could get by fine with just Spanish and it doesn’t hurt to look into some train transfers before you show up.

We ended up getting a train to Verona and then transferred from one to Trento, regional and super affordable about  €20 a person total.  Don’t forget to validate your ticket in the yellow punch box near the ticket window or stairwells.  If you don’t validate your ticket you could get a fine.  We lucked out,  it was a rush to catch our train so of course we forgot to validate.  At the last stop we got checked by the engineer.  Luckily we had wrote the time we should have punched in and signed it on the back of the ticket; he saw this and saw we were obviously dumb tourists and said we better punch in at the next stop Verano.  So if you forget then play dumb and do what we did (otherwise it is a €200+ fine) but we lucked out with the friendly cool looking ticket master.  We punched in at Verano and had no problem the rest of the way.