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Landing in Rome, Italy caused a giant round of cheers from all the passengers aboard this overnight flight. As we took our first deep breaths of crisp Rome air we couldn’t help but grin ear-to-ear. We were in Rome!

Just in case you are wondering, Italy isn’t like going to Mexico or Canada… they actually speak Italian there, and not to be funny… they do it because it is the language that they know… and believe it or not… they don’t speak English! What a concept, I know. But this is actually quite intimidating, you go from being someone on vacation to occasionally feeling like cattle because you have no idea where you are supposed to go or if you will be able to say what you need to at the right time.

Of course I prepared for any extremely difficult translations by getting the AP for that put on my phone before I left. Reality check… in Italy, wifi and 4G mean nothing. Translator stares blankly back at you without 4G. Damn.

Once we land our rental car, we’re feeling fairly impressed with ourselves. We made it through baggage claim, renting a car, and getting out of the terminal without anyone getting arrested hurt lost. The rental was a Fiat Dalbo that is an extremely large SUV for Italy. One of the biggest on the road. It would fit in the back seat of my Toyota Camry at home, but let me just say this thing was a beast on the road over there.

Getting it out of the parking garage alone proved to be one of the most difficult things I would encounter. Now of course I went through the careful planning of google mapping all of my directions before I had ever left the states. I had step by step turns, distances… you name it. But one wrong turn out the gate and all my planning was garbage. Of course we took the one wrong turn as soon as we possibly could, you know to go ahead and get it out of our system early.

While we were lost we stumbled upon the Colosseum… which is a very strange landmark to just stumble into. But we did.

It took us nearly all day to find our hotel that was only 20 minutes away. Mostly because every time we turned the corner we saw something that made us stop and stare dumbfound-idly for 30 minutes. That and driving in Rome is pure madness. Roads change names at nearly every intersection, two-way roads randomly turn into one way roads dumping you into a street you weren’t expecting, nothing is labeled at all. Nope. You have to guess what street you are on based off of the landmarks…. not by street name. In the meantime you are 6 cars wide on a two lane street. Then add scooters. Shake, then stir… ditch that idea and head somewhere for wine.

After we landed our hotel we headed out for dinner, we sat on a beautiful terrace at sunset as the streets below began to fill with police officers and rioters. We had a front row seat. Dinner and a show, not bad for our first day.