Baby’s 1st Plane Ride

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As new parents, you tend to hear a sorts of different advice. Advice on travel always seemed to be, that the best time to do it is before they can move around because then they will stay in one place.

Well, we decided to see what it would be like to take a long weekend trip with our then 4 and a half month bundle of joy. I’m writing this post a bit late and the little one is now 7 months.

The co-pilot and I love to travel. When we found out we were expecting, I was worried our traveling days were over. OK, we don’t have as much freedom as before and it’s not easy, but it is possible to travel with a baby. You just need to take a few precautions, give yourself lots of extra time and plan in advance.

If you have time off – Sweden gives a generous amount of “Mamma och pappa ledig’ (parental leave) – it’s nice to plan a trip or two during that time 🙂

Lucky for us we live in Europe where there are inexpensive flights to different countries. Rome has a direct flight with Norwegian Airlines and it’s one of our favorite European cities. We had a really memorable first trip with the little one!

Here are some tips for your baby’s 1st plane ride (from our own experience and from other friends with kids)

*Call the airlines so you can check what exactly you can check-in and bring on with you.

*Give yourself lots of time to make it to check in. They make you wrap your stroller and car seat in plastic. But don’t expect that to protect it, our stroller cot hood fabric was damaged and Norwegian airlines said they weren’t liable. Somewhere in the fine print, it says something about it.

*Going through security, if you don’t want to carry your baby, bring a carrier.
Some airports allow you to take your stroller all the way through to the gate. Check if that’s possible when you check in.

*Depending on how old your baby is, bring something they can taste. Our little one was allowed tastes at 4 months, we let her suck on a piece of dried mango on landing. She also breastfed on takeoff.

*Bring a change of clothes for baby, and possibly a change of clothes for yourself.

*Bring a water bottle and just fill it up after security (a good travel tip even without a baby)!

*Keep all the passports and boarding passes together so it’s easier to show it when needed.

In Rome

 *Now for taking your baby around Rome, a stroller is OK for the city streets.
*For restaurants, I asked my Roman friend about a stroller. She told me just bring it and don’t worry they will find a place for it, and its true! One rainy evening, we stopped in at a pizzeria and we kept asking what to do with our stroller, one server said to leave it and he took it to the other side of the street where the restaurant had their freezer stuff. It was very nice of him.

For different sights in Rome
Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel

Glorious ceilings are best appreciated lying down.

There were a lot of steps getting down and around the museum. It is nice for the baby to look up and get to see the ceiling, so if you don’t mind carrying the stroller to get down to the Sistine Chapel then bring it, otherwise you can check it at the coat check area and use your carrier to get around.


St. Peters basilica – no strollers allowed, you need to leave it at the check-in desk before you can go inside. So bring a carrier!

For the Colosseum and Roman Forum, we left the stroller at the hotel and took the carrier switched between ourselves.

Panthenon – This is OK with a stroller!
Best to avoid using a stroller at the Roman forum

Traveling with a baby has a challenges but it can be done! Make sure you take lots of breaks at a cafe or gelato place (I highly recommend gelato at Giolitti)! Pack some water and snacks for you and baby and of course, try to enjoy yourself 🙂

Cappucino and chocolate cornetto make a great breakfast or snack 🙂

Happy travels!

Giolitti
for delicious gelato!
Via Uffici del Vicario, 40
Rome, Italy
website

The Hunt For The Perfect Diaper Wipes

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There are so many diaper wipe brands to choose from. Some babies are more sensitive than others and we often want to give them the best of anything.

As new parents, we’ve tried quite a few different brands since our bundle of joy arrived. My co-pilot already a natural with holding and changing the baby, was also the one who decided to grab different diapers and wipes to test out since I was busy with the new arrival. We also had some wipes we can’t get in Sweden, sent to us as early baby gifts from home.

Gone are the early days when she was just a few days old and we didn’t need to use diaper wipes. In the hospital ward, they told us to just use paper and water, especially since it was the first poop, and sticky.

From Libero to Pampers and Seventh Generation to Honest Co., there are soo many choices! No one type is perfect but a few are pretty good.

Here are our favorites:

Libero – Swedish brand available at Swedish grocery stores. We use their diapers too and they are great. Affordable. Thin, Soft, Non-perfumed wipes. They come out of package one at a time.
Parent tip: Libero Touch One is perfect for a 5kg newborn.

Honest Co. – Made with Organic materials. Come out one at a time. Not available in Sweden so we brought from North America.

Water wipes – Really smooth, big sheets. Free of chemicals. Sometimes comes out one at a time but most of the time I need to separate it myself. Not available in Sweden but can order from Amazon.de.

Seventh Generation – Wipes have prints on them which make them a bit rough. Organic. Available in North America but not available in Sweden.

Naty – Another Swedish brand available at Organic stores in North America and in Sweden of course. Organic, unscented sheets.

Diaper wipes can get expensive and you do go through a lot, especially early on when it feels like you do 10-12 changes a day. One bonus to signing up for the babyboxes – you get signed up for different companies like Libero and Pampers and they send you coupons for their diapers and wipes.

As yu can see from our favorite wipes, Libero and Naty are the only ones we can buy here. Libero brand is the cheaper of the two. Overall, we prefer Libero and Honest Co. (which we bring from home whenever we visit).

Hope this post helps! Good luck with your hunt for the best diaper wipes for your little one!

Bring Your Baby to the Movies!

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Image courtesy of SFBio.

I’ve always enjoyed watching movies at a theatre. I used to go a lot, pre-baby, and when I was back home – since movies in Sweden are pricey. I love watching movies from the comfort of my home too, but going out to the theatre is always a treat. Now that it’s the post-baby chapter of my life and I am enjoying Mammaledig (maternity leave), I wondered if it was possible to bring your little one to the movies.

After searching, I found that in Sweden this DOES exist and the theatre is right in the centre of town. Note: It also exists in Canada, but theatres that offer this seem to be mostly outside the centre of the city.

Walking to the movies on a beautiful winter day

I took my daughter to a Barnvagnsbio or ‘Stroller movie’ of the film, “Hidden Figures”, on International Women’s Day. She was very well behaved compared to a few other babies who cried. She was watching at the beginning of the movie and after a change, I rocked her to sleep and she slept soundly until the very end of the film 🙂

One ticket for me and one for baby

At a “Stroller movie”, you can feed them, the volume is quieter, and the lights are just dimmed so you can see the stairs if you need to step out. They also add a short intermission, if needed (they ask before the movie starts). It was funny watching a movie and hearing babies crying or making cooing noises. While I was standing, one baby was staring and talking to us. His mom turned around and saw us and realized he was just trying to chat with us haha. Too cute!

If you’re on mammaledig or pappaledig (parental leave), and your bundle of joy isn’t too fussy, why not check out a movie? Nice to take advantage of this activity while your little one isn’t walking around yet 🙂

Popcorn is already pre-boxed here. Not as fresh as theatres back home?

Tips for going to the movies with your baby:

  • Come early so you have some space to park your stroller and change your baby if needed. There was only 1 change table in the main bathroom, the other bathroom that was labelled with skötbord (change table) didn’t have a change table in it anymore – guess they were renovating it.

“Drink is best at the movies” but you can bring your own milk for baby of course 😉

  • The movies change each week, check if it’s in English, otherwise the subtitles will only be in Swedish and that’s hard if you aren’t fluent in Swedish yet.
  • If you baby is eating snacks already, bring some for them.
  • Choose an aisle seat so you can get up easily.
  • Invite other friends to join!
  • Don’t forget to get a ticket for your baby – which doesn’t cost anything and is just for safety so they know how many people are in the theatre.

In Göteborg, there are 2 movie theatres that offer Barnvagnsbio or ‘stroller movie’. One is the Biopalaset right in the centre of town and the other is the Bio Roy on Avenyn.
Check out the theatre websites for more information on cost and movie times

BarnvagnsBio at Biopalaset
BabyBio at BioRoy

“Movie together with your baby”. Image courtesy of SFBio.

Enjoy your movie!

A Goodbye to Malta’s Azure Window

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We visited Malta in the summer of 2014, it was the summer of our wedding and honeymoon and the archipelago of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea was the first stop on our 5-week trip.

We had heard that Malta was not only beautiful but also that it has a lot to see and do. There’s the old historic sites, fortresses and grand cathedrals, the capital Valletta, beautiful beaches, diving, and even a ‘blue grotto’. The Maltese culture is it’s own and it’s cuisine is delicious. I especially enjoyed trying Maltese style pizza, rabbit pasta and fresh baked pies.

On the island called ‘Gozo’, one of 21 that make up the Maltese archipelago, Malta’s Iconic Azure Window stood. I didn’t know what to expect when my co-pilot said we were going to see something called the ‘Azure window’. It was recommended to us by some friends who used to live in Malta and some of their friends, one of which was from Gozo.

I remember when we arrived by bus and seeing how huge it was. It was beautiful.
I was in awe at how gorgeous a place this was, with the crashing waves against the cliffs and the window.

You could even go up on top of it, which we did. We were up so high and I remember seeing cracks in the top.

My co-pilot and I at the top of the Azure window. What a spectacular view!

 

I was saddened to learn about the collapse of the Azure window this week. A unique and beautiful rock formation crafted by the ocean was lost. Things like that don’t last forever so I’m glad we were able to visit.

Malta’s gorgeous Azure Window

There was one restaurant, a pizza place where we ordered takeaway veggie pizza. We took the pizza to go and sat and ate it at the bus stop, just in case.

That was one of the most memorable parts of our trip to Gozo and to Malta. It’s my profile photo because it deserves to be. We have seen a few other similar windows around Euripe, but Malta’s really stood out as something special.

Sitting back and enjoying the view.

The next time you are visiting something like the Azure window just remind yourself to enjoy it. After you are done snapping your photos, put your camera down and just really enjoy it with your eyes. Who knows, maybe one day what you were looking at will vanish…just as the beautiful Azure window did.

Feel like a real treat? How about a Cake Buffet!

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My co-pilot mentioned a Cake lunch buffet to me awhile ago. I was always curious about it but felt like I needed to save it for a real treat. When I was pregnant, I decided I would wait until after the baby was born as didn’t want to have too much sugar. I finally tried this so-called “Cake Buffet” when the baby was almost 2 months old 🙂

So it’s really a soup and cake buffet (soppa och tĂ„rta buffĂ©) but unlike other soup buffets in the city, there is only 1 type of soup available. The cakes are the real star, with about 5 different ones on offer, and all pretty delicious.

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The cakes that are in the buffet typically vary on what’s available. I’ve only been to cake buffet twice in my life and I remember trying 1 really good passion fruit cake and another delicious chocolate one. But the next visit they had different cakes, and I still found something I liked.

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Where is this amazing cake buffet lunch?

At  several Steinbrenner & Nyberg locations in Göteborg.

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Steinbrenner & Nyberg – this cafe/bakery has a few locations in the city but only a few actually offer Cake buffet. The ones I know of are the bigger cafe near Centralstation, the Lindholmen location and the Steinbrenner & Nyberg in Saluhallen (The Market Hall).
They do have other Dagenslunch items available too, but if you want cake it’s extra.
The Soppa och tÄrta includes different crackers, bread, butter and cheese, and coffee.
For more info check out their website

So the next time you want to Treat yourself, why not All-You-Can-Eat Cake?

Happy Eating!

Thursday Only Means One Thing…

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…Pea soup and pancakes!

During the colder and darker seasons of Fall and Winter, when it’s Thursday, the lunch option (Dagenslunch) in Sweden includes Pea soup and Pancakes (Ă€rtsoppa och pannkakor)!! This comes from an old Military tradition of eating both the soup and the pancakes.

Most of the time the pea soup is made from yellow peas and includes pieces of pork and ham. At some restaurants and even the grocery store, you can get vegetarian pea soup. If you get it at the grocery store, it will come in a tube shape like many other food items in the grocery store.

I’m not really a fan of the pea soup but I do enjoy the pancakes! Just a dollop of whip cream and some raspberry jam and you have yourself a tasty treat 🙂
20170216_123836Pancakes and coffee make a great combination!

Dagenslunch or ‘Today’s lunch’ usually has 3 options, a meat, a fish dish and a vegetarian dish. Lunch at most places in Sweden, includes salad and coffee and cookies (dessert). When it’s Thursday, the dessert is replaced by pancakes!

Note: Swedish or European style pancakes are thin like a crepe but doughy unlike the thick American kind.

Instead of topping with butter and maple syrup, these pancakes are topped with whip cream and some kind of jam. Strawberry and Raspberry are popular choices.

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When it comes to All-U-Can-Eat, ‘serve yourself’ pancakes, it’s not unusual for people to skip right to dessert!

20170126_125633Happy Thursday and enjoy your pea soup and pancakes today!

Fettisdagen!

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Fettisdagen or Fat Tuesday is here! It’s the day before the Ash Wednesday fast and in Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, it’s the day Swedes enjoy Semlor or Whip cream buns. Those little (or big treats) can be found at cafes all over the city. Similar to a Hamburger but instead of a beef patty, it’s a bunch of whip cream and almond paste in the centre of a cardamom bun. This treat can be quite filling.

20170126_133714There are different ways to eat this bun. You can take the top off and use it to scoop up the whip cream then bite it. I’ve also heard that you can soak it in milk before eating it.

Fork and knifing it or just pick it up to eat like a burger although I haven’t seen this one as the majority of Swedes I’ve seen still fork and knife their hamburgares (hamburger in Swedish)

There are few different Semlor or semla singular that I’ve noticed this year:

The Muffin Semla

20170204_114802The Muffin semlor are on the second to last level of the desserts above

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More muffin semlor with different flavors – instead of whip cream it’s cream cheese.

Semlor with colored buns

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7-Eleven in Sweden has an impressive baked goods selection compared with the 7-Elevens back home! With brownies, swedish cinnamon buns or Kanelbullor and even different chocolate cookies. They also offer a new Nuts semla.

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But the Traditional semla of course is a soft cardamom bun dusted with a little powdered sugar.

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Mini semlor are also available!

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You can even get them at a grocery store! Dahl’s is a bakery that sells their semlor in various Hemköps around the city.

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Happy eating and enjoy your semla or whatever huge meal or dessert you will eat on Fat Tuesday!

I cannot believe it’s our 4th year in Sweden. Here’s a look back at a previous Fat Tuesday blog

Weekend Brunch in Sweden – UPDATED

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Är du hungrig? (Are you hungry?)

Summer might be over, but brunch dates don’t have to end. Here in Göteborg, Sweden, Weekend brunch can mean an extravagant buffet offering delicious Swedish fare or just a quaint little spot in one of the cafes of Old town with some coffee and Swedish pastries.

Since moving here, my co-pilot and I have made it a habit to treat ourselves to brunch every once in a while. When it was warm and sunny, we would sit on the patio and catch up from the week’s events. Now that it’s winter, sitting indoors with a hot drink is my preferred choice, but if you’re a Swede and it’s cold but sunny then sit outdoors on the patio with a warm blanket!

And whenever have guests, it’s a must to take them for a nice brunch as a welcome to the city. Some brunch buffets are only offered on Sundays and start at noon, while other brunch places around the city end at noon. Check before you go. Swedes are very plan-y so if you want to try a brunch place, I would recommend booking a table ahead of time or going early.

We have been to a few really nice brunch places here in Göteborg. Here are some of our favorites.

Park Avenyn Cafe

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For a fancier brunch place, I’d recommend Park Avenyn Cafe. We discovered this place a year or so ago and it was unfortunately on break during the summer! Brunch buffet features some delicious typical Swedish dishes such as warm and cold smoked salmon, pickled herring, Swedish Kaviar and even thin European style pancakes. With a good selection of cakes and pastries, the dessert is a plus. Coffee and tea is included and the ambience is nice. Only indoor seating available.

Ritz Hotel

20150816_123123The Ritz offers dagens lunch(daily lunch) but on weekends they offer more smoked salmon, many different types of herring and traditional shrimp salads. They also have a hot food section with the usual breakfast items like scrambled eggs and sausage, but they also have roast veggies, bbq chicken and pannkakor. The buffet includes a large salad selection with many different potato and veggie salads. For dessert, they have some really good brownies with shredded coconut on top(I remove the coconut), apple
crumble. and fresh fruit. It’s a bit on the pricey side, but well worth a visit. Outdoor seating is available.

We have also tried the Casino Cosmopol brunch that offers an American style brunch.Of course, it’s Sweden so it’s Swedish American style. They had a few good dishes like the smoked salmon with cream cheese and they offered American Style pancakes (althought they kept running out).

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Smaller brunch places

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Most of the cafes in old town, ‘Haga’, offer a frukostbuffe (Breakfast buffet). They give you a plate that usually includes Yogurt (sometimes Turkish) and maybe a protein and you add muesli, nuts, fruit and scones, croissants, hard boiled egg, and whatever else they have that morning. Coffee is an additional cost. Frukostbuffe is usually served until 12pm and then they switch over to Lunch which is soup and various salads (Salad bar with lunch is common here).

Kafferosten

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Le Petit Cafe

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Haga and the surrounding area is a great location for brunch because afterwards you can wander over to the city park for a walk or the botanical garden and it’s a lively area already.

Eva’s Paley

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Cafe Kringlan

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Around here it seems like mostly couples or groups of girls go for brunch, but I think it’s perfectly fine to go for brunch with guy friends and/or alone. Why not treat yourself if you feel like it?

We are so lucky to be surrounded by so many awesome choices for brunch 🙂

Note: If you are a new parent (like me!) – you can still do brunch. Check out my Parent Tips below.

Happy eating!

Park Avenyn Cafe
Kungsportsavenyn 36-38 ‱ 411 36 Göteborg
website
Parent tip: Make a reservation and mention that you need space for a stroller.

Ritz
Bastionsplatsen 2, 411 08 Göteborg
website
Parent tip: Make a reservation and mention that you need space for a stroller. They are pretty accommodating.

Casino Cosmopol
Packhusplatsen 7 411 13 Göteborg
website
Bring Swedish ID or your passport as they check before you enter the casino.
Parent tip: Sadly, no babies or kids allowed at the casino even if it’s just to the restaurant.

Le Petit Cafe
website
They have a few locations around the city. The Haga location is a bit smaller so if you want more table room visit the Linné location which also includes a patio. Their brunch includes Turkish yogurt and now includes a hot drink, a smoothie, and unlimited scones/bread.
Parent tip: The Linné location is much better for strollers as the other location is cramped.

Kafferosten
Linnégatan 62 413 08 Gothenburg
This place remains our favorite frukostbuffe with it’s unlimited freshly baked croissants and a choice of salami and brie, Turkey or Ham. The breakfast is available all day, but if you get there before 13:00 they have everything out so you can assemble the plate yourself. On a nice sunny day, it’s nice to sit out on their patio!
Parent tip: AVOID this place if you have kids with you. They have since changed their policy to “NO KIDS” inside or outside on the patio. They also got rid of their kids chairs awhile back. Hard to believe they are anti-kids in a kid friendly city like Gothenburg…

Eva’s Paley
Kungsportsavenyen 39, 411 36 Göteborg
website
This cafe offers brunch on both Saturday and Sunday. You get a small hot drink of your choice, but you can upgrade it to a large for an additional cost. It also comes with a smoothie, All-you-can-eat flavored yogurt (Mango or raspberry), hard-boiled eggs, bread and cheese. They make delicious bread and sometimes they even have shrimp salad (called skagenröra in Swedish). Get there before 12:00 as they clean everything up promptly at 12:00.

*Pro-tip* It is a pretty popular cafe so get there early to avoid missing the brunch. One time we were waiting in line and it was 10 min to 12:00 when we finally got to the cashier and they almost told us it was too late..but we complained we were in the long line for at least 10 minutes..
Parent tip: Strollers can be brought it, but there are a few steps to get to the main eating area. There are also 2 small tables on the same floor as the Cashier so they are perfect if it’s just you and your baby.

Cafe Kringlan
Haga Nygata 13, 413 01 Göteborg
Göteborg Tourist website
Recently, we tried this Cafe in Haga and it included Pannkakor, or thin Swedish pancakes, and Eggs in a bun (similar to ‘Toad in the hole’). It also included a hot drink of your choice and a smoothie.
Parent tip: It’s a small cafe so strollers must be parked outside

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‘Toad in the hole’

Baby Boxes For the Baby On the Way!

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Hej! When you are an expectant or new parent, it’s always nice to get advice and tips from friends who have already been through the same things.

One of those friends shared a tip with me about ‘Baby boxes’ that are available for parents-to-be. Swedish ‘Baby boxes’ are literally boxes full of different baby items and samples and are offered free to residents of Sweden, not to be confused with the Finnish baby box that babies can sleep in. You only need to register online and then the Babyboxes are available to pick up at various locations around the city.

During my pregnancy, I made sure to order the babyboxes from babybox.se and another one I found on Libero.se.

I ordered 4 baby boxes total and each came with different items for baby AND mom.

Here’s a quick look inside each box.

Babyboxes from babybox.se:
Babyproffsens Babybox can be picked up at any location of Babyproffsen
Lloyd’s Apotek Babybox can be picked up at any Lloyd’s Apotek location
Apoteksgruppens Babybox can be picked up at any Apoteksgruppens location

Just give them your person number when you pick it up.

The Libero Startbox can be ordered here and picked up at any ICA Maxi location.

When I went to pick up my Libero startbox, they told me to put my name on a waitlist
and come back when they had more stock. But just before I left the store, they told me they had found a startbox for me, so I didn’t need to come back 😉

It only takes a few minutes to sign up and you should receive a confirmation email afterwards that you can also show when you pick up the babybox.

You may not use everything in the babyboxes, but it is nice to have little samples and coupons. You can see what you like when your baby is around and the boxes are FREE afterall!

Hope this post was helpful, especially for the English speaking Parents-to-be in Sweden. Enjoy your babyboxes and the special time before your little bundle of joy arrives 🙂

Weekend in Glorious Rome

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We met some family for a long weekend in Rome recently and although short, it was filled with some good eats and visits to all of our favorite spots!

Having visited Rome twice before, we had already seen most of the famous tourist sights. We were there mainly to spend time with family and show them what makes Rome so amazing. Whenever we visit a city, one of our favorite activities is to walk and explore. When we say ‘walk’ we mean walk all day haha.. Sometimes we actually tire out whoever we are with 😉

We got lucky with the whether that weekend as the sunshine kept us company for most of the weekend, except for a bit of rain that didn’t last very long.

What makes Rome so special and why it’s one of my favorite cities to visit? Rome has so much to offer. It’s not just the history, the museums, the squares or the food. It’s all of those things together. One can easily spend days just walking around to different neighbourhoods and there is always new things to see (and eat) when you come back for a visit.

Here are some of my favorite places in Rome:

Good Eats!

Giolitti
Offering some really delicious and inexpensive Gelato.
How can one say ‘No’ to the whip cream on top?
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Walnut, Dark Chocolate with a dollop of whip cream.

Pizzeria Ai Marmi
Located in the Trastevere neighbourhood, it is well worth the visit. It was full right when it opened with mostly locals. The Napoletana pizza is cheesy and salty and has to be my favorite. In addition to the pizza they offer other Roman/Italian snacks like Fried Zuchinni flowers, and Arancini (rice balls).

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Dolce Maniera
We stumbled upon this bakery on our first trip to Rome. It’s open 24 hours and popular at all times. They offer a multitude of desserts and snacks. Be sure to try their Tiramisu which they give you a generous portion.

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Nice views
The top of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome offers an amazing view of the Vatican and the city.You can stop along the way up at a cafe to take a break and take in the sight of the immense city below you.

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Roman Forum
Included with the Coloseum ticket, there’s a great view spot of the Roman Forum.

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“Typewriter building”
Monumento Nazionale a Vittorio Emanuele II (locals compare it to a wedding cake or Victorian typewriter)
It does cost extra to take the elevator higher, but you can still get a nice view in the ‘free’ area.

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Remember, when in Rome… 

Don’t forget to enjoy an Italian coffee at one of the cafes and people watch. Take it easy and walk around. You may be surprised by the beautiful square you find after walking down a random street. Walk into any random church and you’ll be surprised by how beautiful it is on the inside! And as in all countries you travel to, it helps to try to learn a few words in the local language, the locals will appreciate it:)

Happy Travels!