Our crew: Josh Van Vels, Emily Van Vels, Nichole Kladder, and Jeff Kladder. Rome, Italy. 

Our crew: Josh Van Vels, Emily Van Vels, Nichole Kladder, and Jeff Kladder. Rome, Italy. 

This entry is part of the 2014 Italy (& Turkey too!) Travel Blog Series. Read this story and then the rest HERE

 

We'd seen it all: the Vatican, the Colosseum, Ancient Rome, the Pantheon... all of it. It was our last day in Italy and we had 24 hours until our flight home and it was time to have some fun.

On this particular day, fun came in the form of a 4 person bicycle. For 20 euro an hour we rented this super awesome bike complete with two person bench seating and baskets for your bee... for your soda. What once were private grounds for the Borghese Family Estate is now a public park full of wide paved sidewalks, spacious green lawns, and fountains to explore. For an entire afternoon the Borghese Gardens was our playground, which is fitting because we acted like complete children. 

The first incident occurred within 10 minutes of getting our bike. With Josh at the wheel... what did you expect? Going full speed ahead and a dead end quickly approaching Josh made a turn for it and slammed our vehicle hard against the curb. Cups went flying, knees jammed into handle bars and we weren't doing ourselves any favors at keeping a low profile by laughing hysterically as people continued walking by. We all piled off the bike to turn ourselves right only to find we had popped one of the front tires. 

To say the least, the bike owner was not happy with us and did his best to get our confession that the popped tire was completely our fault.

In his broken English he ranted, "This tire has two holes... boom!" he said as he made the impact noise with his palm agains the delated rubber tube. In true tourist fashion, we stared at him with blank faces pretending to not understand a word he was saying. As I write this I do admit a pang of guilt for not fessing up, but I'm confident this was not the first time this had happened to the sweaty man renting bikes in the park. 

The man, sick of having to deal with us, directed us to a new bike and shoot his head. 

The second incident occurred after happening upon a zoo that was conveniently linked to the park.

"Lets ride our bike through the zoo," Josh said.

"I'm not sure that's allowed," I responded. "There's very clearly a sign posted saying 'no bikes'."

It felt like we were part of a movie. Characters moving in slow motion. Something about to go down. Us sitting idle, waiting for the right moment to sneak past security and roar through the gate. 

But we were in Rome, not Hollywood, so as soon as we made our move forward one of the zoo attendants was quick to wave us off. We most certainly gave him a good chuckle though; as we put our bike in reverse he laughed at 4 adults lame attempt at breaking the rules. At least this time we didn't break anything. 

The last incident was one of heroism. We were quick to find out that peddling up a hill was much more work than coasting down them. So there we were, probably going too fast than the sweaty bike renter man would advise, when we discovered a fellow 4 person bike stuck between two poles - thank goodness it wasn't us this time.

It was a family of 4 who had very clearly eye balled the size of the space between the two poles incorrectly in attempt to escape the park. They had successfully shimmied one axel past the two poles but were struggling with the second. Jeff and Josh being gentlemen of the highest standard, stopped for the assist. It was then that Josh ripped a hole in his new shorts. Dammit.

The 4 person bike was a huge success, ripped shorts aside. With no particular place to be that day, it turned out to be a ton of fun and a great way to bid farewell to our time in Italy. 

 That's us, The Kladders, overlooking Rome, Italy. 

That's us, The Kladders, overlooking Rome, Italy. 

This entry is part of the 2014 Italy (& Turkey too!) Travel Blog Series. Read this story and then the rest HERE

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