Day 18 – When in Rome (Let Your Inner Tourist Shine Through)

colosseum

colosseum

Here is my philosophy on being a tourist:  You will not fit in.  You will not pass as a local.  You are a tourist.  Grab your camera, spread out your map and get on with it.  Living in Manhattan makes you privy to all sorts of bad tourist behavior from all ends of the earth.  More often than not tourists will stop right in the middle of the sidewalk for no apparent reason, or try and act New Yorker-y by crossing the street against the light and miss getting killed by a second.  But, I happen to think as annoying as these actions (or lack thereof) can be it’s really all right.  If you’re going to come to New York then by all means gawk at everything, but don’t think you will blend in.  You just won’t.

I sometimes wish I wasn’t from New York so I could have that experience of coming to the city for the first time.  I don’t even remember the first time I went to any of the museums or major sights.  I think it would be awesome to have that first WOW upon driving into the city and seeing the Empire State Building or the Statue of Liberty.  Flying into New York at night still gives me a tingle of excitement and it has to be the greatest lit up skyline on the planet, but that tinge of awe is always tempered by the settling, ho-hum thought that I am home.

I had that feeling of wow the first time I came to Rome over 20 years ago, Continue reading

Day 17 Staying Cool in Tuscania

We spent the the day in Tuscania going to the market and trying to stay cool on the hottest day so far.  I spent most of the day planning our field trip to Rome the next day when the heat was supposed to break.  I’m big on planning.  I don’t believe in just winging it when we travel, particularly with kids in tow.  My feeling is be as prepared as possible, and then hope for the best and be flexible when you’re actually at your destination.  So, with that in mind we booked a few things ahead of time.  I bought our Vatican tickets for Monday.  After a ton of research and emails I decided against getting a private tour guide for Saturday’s trip since I didn’t want to be tied down to anyone else’s schedule and figured the girls really didn’t need to be schlepped around according to a guide.  So instead we decided to go all out tourist and book tickets on the double decker red bus that goes around the city and lets you jump on and off all day long.

Now, I have to say as a New Yorker I have come to loathe these buses as they chug through the city, clog traffic and generally make me feel like I’m being perpetually viewed by tourists holding up video cameras as the bus whizzes up Broadway or Central Park West.  Continue reading