• Understanding Autism from the Inside

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Autism Travels: Journey to Rome

After a 7 hour drive from home to Newark Airport, Adam, Matt and I boarded Norwegian Airlines on a red eye midnight flight to Rome . I was hoping to get some sleep on the flight but being unable to sleep sitting up and still nervous over our trip, sleep did not happen. Otherwise, the flight was very nice, everything went smoothly, and Matthew spent his airtime watch episodes of The Big Bang Theory. Thank you Norwegian for your personal entertainment centers and for stocking one of his favorite TV shows!

We landed in Rome, and although it took some time figuring out where to pick up our luggage, we were soon on our way out of the airport and on to a regional train into Roma Trastevere. Helpful tip, be rude and walk right past anyone trying to OR rather insisting on helping with luggage. One thing I have learned in Rome so far as that the street peddlers, and swindlers do not like to take no for an answer and are relentless if you are nice to them at all. Even when I was rude, and forceful, many still wanted to “help” or “give us gifts”. Very annoying. Tour guides outside attractions are pushy as well, so that was fun.

The first three nights of our adventure were spent in Rome walking and seeing sites until we literally couldn’t move our legs any longer. Fun, but tiring. The walking, and the fact that the first Airbnb apartment we rented was on the fifth floor of a very old and beautiful building in Rome without an elevator. Perhaps it wouldn’t have been such a bad climb, but the old building had very large stone steps that were uneven and high my short legs.

So what follows will likely be a series of short photo centric blog posts of our journey.

On our first day in Rome we made our way to the apartment and even had our first gelato while we waited outside the building for the keys!

Then a walk next the River Tiber to the Angel Bridge! Beautiful sights of Rome at nighttime.

On our way back to the apartment, we were looking for somewhere to eat. Unfortunately on our way through Campo di Fiori, we were convinced to eat at a little restaurant on the beautiful cobblestone street. Our first Roma lesson, when restaurant staff have to run after tourists to convince them to come eat, there is a reason for it! Bland tasteless pizza, and spaghetti that looked as if it came out of a Chef-Boy-Ardee can—just without the flavor.

The boys had a hard time in Rome the first few days trying to find anything that they would eat. Matthew in particular was a hangry grump until he followed the signs and dragged me to McDonalds. Yes—we ate at McDonalds in Rome—repeatedly. Welcome to Autismland folks.

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.