Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

After eight or nine trips overseas, Andrew and I are pretty seasoned travelers.  With each trip, we learn something new that will improve our experience, such as having the right footwear or packing less and keeping our bags light.  When we first started traveling in 2007, we didn’t dream of buying toiletries in-country and the thought of renting a car didn’t even cross our minds.  Now, we don’t think anything of popping into a pharmacy for toothpaste (In fact, it’s fun!) and we can’t imagine NOT having our own vehicle, at least for part of any trip.  But, this year’s voyage across the ocean was going to be a little different with me being pregnant (into my third trimester), and I wanted to be as prepared as possible.

Now that I’m back, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about traveling while pregnant based on my own experience. Continue reading “Tips for Traveling While Pregnant”

Book Review: Rick Steves’ Sicily 2019

When Andrew and I found out Rick Steves’ book on Sicily–the first ever–wouldn’t come out in time for our BABYMOON, we were dumbfounded.  How would we plan our trip? (OK, who am I kidding?  Andrew plans the trips.)  Should we scrap the Sicily idea in favor of returning to a favorite destination, like Paris or Florence? In our 12 years of traveling, we’ve never gone to Europe without a Rick book, and I’m not about to start now.  I furiously emailed Rick’s people and publisher, detailed our plight and even attached the photo of ourselves with Rick when we met him in Civita in 2013.  I begged politely requested an advance copy of the book in exchange for a review on the blog…and within days I had a link to the rough draft in my inbox.  All the praise hands!

If you’ve never used a Rick book (that’s what Andrew and I call them) for planning and on your European travels, you are MISSING OUT, my friend. Continue reading “Book Review: Rick Steves’ Sicily 2019”

Rome 2016

Last week, I went on a trip with my mom and brother, Josh, to Rome.  For the day.

(Disclaimer: my mom is a flight attendant. The tickets aren’t free, but they’re pretty cheap–especially when you get to ride in First or Business Class.  It’s livin’ the high life–pun intended–for sure.)

I left Buffalo on the zero-dark-thirty in the morning flight to DC, where Josh picked me up and took me to our parents’ house to hang for a few hours until our flight to Rome.  Along the way, he bought me Starbucks, opened up doors for me and divulged he intends to run for sophomore class president at Liberty University in the fall.  Then, my other brother, Aaron, wanted to take me to his new favorite coffee spot in Manassas, Jirani Coffeehouse, where we enjoyed sandwiches as an early lunch.  Who ARE these pseudo-adult, conversational young men who about three seconds ago were overgrown toddlers, waffling between tears and pummeling each other?!

Josh and I got seats next to each other in Business (praise God–it’s like a nine-hour flight) and we watched a movie together before he conked out.

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Flights with mom are always fun; the entire crew knows who you are and treats you like gold, and it’s fun to see her in action.  She’s definitely the life of the party–joking around and making sure work doesn’t feel too much like work.

After we landed around 8 a.m. local time, we rode the bus with the crew to their hotel where fresh croissants and a cappuccino machine awaited.  We changed clothes, made a quick stop at a local grocery store for cheap wine to bring home and breakfast for the next morning, before heading out for the day.

I’m almost ashamed to admit it, but our first order of business was to get me the beloved souvenir I DIDN’T get when Andrew and I visited Italy in 2013: a mywalit wallet. Three years ago, I fell instantly in love with the rainbow-colored leather products and practically drooled over them our entire trip.  They’re made in Italy and obviously on the pricier side (but still probably less than Coach), so I didn’t end up getting one.  Well, I didn’t end up getting one this time, but it wasn’t for lack of trying; the only retailer we found didn’t have a large selection and I chose not to purchase without being sure of the one I wanted.

Again, to Italy, I must go!

Our main sight-seeing adventure for the day was outside the city, but along the way we stopped off for take-away pizza and a view of the (freshly cleaned!) Trevi Fountain:

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We jumped back on the metro and then to a train to get to Ostia Antica, a ruined city similar to Pompeii and a Rick Steves must-see.  Surprisingly, Andrew and I didn’t make it there on our previous trips, so he suggested it as a possible activity.  Having visited Pompeii as well, I can assert that it is indeed better preserved and Rick’s walking tour is very enjoyable.  I can’t wait to bring Andrew here next time we visit Italy!

The preserved bath house mosaic floor:

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A view of a main gathering area and existing walls:

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We were pretty burned out after walking around Ostia in the heat, so we headed back to the room for showers before dinner.  Along the way, we walked the Via del Corso, a pedestrian-only shopping district and by the Pantheon, because, you know, it’s THERE. In the middle of a busy square stands this amazingly old structure that all but transports you back to the time of togas and sandals. It’s a simple coincidence that the emperor, Hadrian (our dog’s namesake) finished the building in 126 AD.

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Our first stop was the ‘Steelers Bar.’  No idea if that’s its real name or not, but the inside is covered in Pennsylvania paraphernalia–including a Penn State flag(!!)–and seems to be the local hangout for ex-pats, airline crews and perhaps even some tourists.  We sat with some Air Canada pilots and sipped our drinks: Stout for me, cider for mom, moscato for Josh.  (He thinks he’s SO COOL because he gets to drink overseas.)  Speaking of drinking…  I discovered a new favorite drink: an Italian ‘spritz.‘ It’s made of Prosecco, Aperol (made of bitter orange, among other things) and club soda.  It has a surprising flavor that grows on you.

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Lucky for us, the EuroCup was on and it was a great game.

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Dinner was next door to the bar and just off the Piazza Navona, a public square filled with locals, tourists, cafes and men peddling selfie-sticks, glow-in-the-dark frisbees and caricature drawings. It’s magical at night.

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Thankfully, all the stars aligned on this trip and travel was a breeze–which is not always the case.  I’m already excited to plan another trip with my mom in August!