On our last night in Rome we spent time with a long lost cousin of Jeff's, Salvator. Salvator was instrumental in planning our trip to Rome. His tourist company Italian Splendor works with both the private and corporate sectors to plan and provide amazing trips to Italy. His agency helped us book our train tickets all over Italy and booked our hotel in Rome.
We were blessed to stay at the Trilussa Palace Hotel in the Trastevere district of Rome. The accommodations were amazing. We had a beautiful room which overlooked the street below and provided ample access to the center of Rome via the metro line. The hotel itself was clean, simple and classic with just a touch of Italian glamour. The best part was the staff who were super friendly and helpful when we needed to ask questions. We also got the best tip to check out the Domus Spa (one of two spas) which did not disappoint. I have never been to a private spa before and so Jeff and I opted to spend 2 of our 3 mornings in Rome at the spa. An hour in this peaceful retreat was the best way to refresh and prep ourself for the day ahead. The Domus Spa in particular is modeled after a traditional turkish bath and is beautifully decorated. [Watch for a full tour in our vlog series!]
Salvator also provided the best last night in the city by taking us to two of his favorite local spots. As a Roman native, Salvator was able to share with us so much about Rome and it's culture. He explained to us that people who are born in Rome (like many Italian cities) tend to not leave Rome. He went on to say there is such a spirit of family and community in Rome (because people stay) which helps the newer generations also want to stay. How amazing! This cycle of staying rooted was so encouraging to me because it's what Jeff and I desire for LA. We want to see more and more people stay in our city so that a multi-generational culture of community can thrive. It helps, of course, that Rome is a major world city with a lot to offer it's inhabitants. Hearing Salvator speak of his love for Rome reignited our love for LA. SO SO COOL.
We shared our city love over drinks at Cafe Propaganda, an upscale bar and eatery which serves an array of cocktails inspired by countries all over the world. We had some nibbles and drinks and swapped stories for over an hour. After we had our fill, Salvator had us pile back in his SUV and took us to Trapizzino in the Testaccio district. It was so good - and cheap! ThThe restaurant serves up fresh pastas, meets and veggies in triangle shaped bread crusts for about 3 Euros each. We ate, talked and watched the street life.
All in all our Trip to Europe was A COMPLETE AND TOTAL WHIRLWIND. I could write for days but in an attempt to not fill your head with any more ramblings I will leave you with this shorter breakdown of what we took away:
1. God killed my idol of travel. I thought I would get to Paris and feel like this super accomplished travel blogger and I didn't. It didn't give me this ultimate happiness that I expected. God showed up though and gave me a better happiness when I thought of seeing His kingdom grow in LA. Yes, travel is amazing and it gets me excited but it isn't (and especially then wasn't) my ultimate happiness.
2. I love LA and I love my house. I was so homesick at night during our trip. It was so much harder than I thought to be away from LA, our friends and especially our specific home. I knew I would long for those things but not to the severity I did during those sleepless nights abroad.
3. My husband is amazing. Not only did he show me INSANE amounts of patience and grace as I was heaved up in a ball sobbing in our hotel rooms but he ALSO spent days on end dreaming and playing with me in these amazing cities. He held the cameras and the water bottles and the bags so I could "look cute" in our "candid" street shots. He ran into traffic to get the best angles and smiled all the way through it.
4. The world is less foreign than we think. I got to witness so many moments that mirrored my daily encounters at home. Families ate together, children ran through parks, mothers held and comforted their babies, old men laughed together at cafes. It was beautiful. The human experience is universal and God is in all of it.
I hope you have enjoyed following along with our European adventures. We will have our vlog series up on our YouTube channel very soon!
~ A ~