This is Europe trip part II. If you missed Scotland, head back here and check it out!
After a few short days in Scotland, we hopped on a plane and flew to Rome. We stayed at a lovely hotel right next to the Spanish steps which was pretty awesome. Location location, people. I loved that as soon as we walked out of our hotel there were Italian restaurants left and right with tables set up right in the alleys so you could just sit down and have some pasta and wine. Yet, we weren't completely bombarded by people trying to sell us things, which is a frequent occurrence in the big Italian cities... as we learned :) Not that this was super surprising. We've been to a lot of other countries by now, and it's basically just something that happens when you travel anywhere touristy and popular.
My parents, aunt, and little brother met us in Rome and stayed with us for the rest of the trip. It was fun, basically like we were starting the vacation over again.
We arrived the night before our first Roman tour. Everyone else, unfortunately, hopped right off the plane and onto the tour. So they were super exhausted! But it was a pretty relaxed introduction to the city. Our tour guide took us to his favorite city plaza, where we browsed the market and bought pomegranate orange juice and watched them press it right in front of us (yes please!).
We drove around the city... and by that I mean our tour guide drove because if any of us had driven, we would have definitely died. Those roads and those drivers are absolutely terrifying. Our guide kept reminding us that in Rome, when you drive, you freestyle! Make up your own rules! It's all good! Mama mia! (I'm not making these things up. He often said "mama mia" when we failed his history tests. Luckily, we had my brother Cade to get us an overall passing score.)
The next day, we visited Vatican City. It's a huge place. It feels like a giant art museum. Work from Michelangelo and other great artists is all over the place. I enjoyed seeing everything they had there, especially the Sistine Chapel (no pictures allowed sadly) but I was pretty overwhelmed by all the people. I really hate crowds and I often felt like I had to shove through people just to walk around and see anything. What can ya do. We're Americans and we're spoiled with space.
You'll notice a lot of photos in the gardens. I think it was because that was such a breath of fresh air to me after being herded through crowded hallways. That's generally when I take my camera out... not when I see a cool piece of art. Pictures don't do those things justice very often anyway.
What really struck me with the artwork and the architecture in Italy overall was the MAGNITUDE. Everything is just enormous. The buildings, the columns, the statues, the tapestries. And for it to be so ancient and to have survived so well is just amazing.
I wanted this picture because there were no crowds! Huzzah!
Later that night after a recharge at the hotel and some dinner, we walked around and found a beautiful square. It had just rained, so it wasn't too packed and I thought how crazy it is that statues and architecture like this are so commonplace in Rome that you'll just walk around a corner and find these things. They're not special landmarks. They're just part of the city.
Our third day in Rome, we visited the place Erik wanted to see the most. The Colosseum! Telling you it's pretty huge would be kind of absurd right?
We also visited the catacombs, which was not as creepy as I expected. It actually all kind of made sense why they buried people that way and I wasn't too bothered by walking through the halls of tombs. They only allowed photos at the entrance here, so you can't see much. And afterward, we went to lunch at a restaurant located on the Appian Way, which is one of the oldest roads in Rome, built in 300 BC. Crazy for it to still be there. And then we took a few photos around the Spanish steps!
And that was Rome! These blog posts are mighty long. But you know I have to share and I hope you're enjoying them! Next time, we'll hit the cruise. Oh yeah, did I not mention we were also taking a cruise on this trip? Yeah, haven't even gotten to that part yet. Get ready.