Friday, January 23, 2015

When in ROME...

Being in a funk was a precursor for me getting sick.  I think my soul knew it was coming, so to slow me down before face-planting into a proverbial wall, the universe put me in a slight funk, because I ended up getting a cold that hit me so hard and so fast a day and a half after telling y'all that I was stuffing my face with chocolate.  

In between my sleeping, sneezing, coughing, blowing my nose an unbelievable amount of times, and being super bummed that chocolate doesn't fix everything, I told the Universe that I had to be better by Friday!  I had to be better by Friday because we were going to ROME!!!  And I wasn't going to let a cold get in my way!

I can't tell you that I was all better by the time we arrived in Rome, but I can tell you that I didn't care anymore!  We had arrived in Italy to 60° weather, pickpockets, peddlers, ancient architecture, pasta, vino, and all the splendor that is Italy!  When in Rome... drink vino! 

We spent our first full day in the Vatican City, which happens to be the world's smallest country, making it the 11th foreign country we have visited together as a family!  I was excited because photography was allowed inside the Vatican Museum!  I was allowed to take pictures of sculptures, tapestries, furniture, and paintings that were hundreds, even thousands, of years old!  Thousands!

Put Isabelle in a museum and she'll be the happiest kiddo all day long! 

 The Belvedere Torso- dated 1st century.

The only part of the Vatican Museum where photography was not allowed was in the Sistine Chapel- which was maybe a good thing because I got emotional and nobody needs to see that.  The ceiling at the Sistine Chapel was.... indescribable.   It was absolutely one of the most breathtaking moments of my life, getting to sit in between my husband and my daughter admiring one of Earth's most incredible works of art.  We sat in complete silence, staring up at the ceiling, for almost an hour.

It was hard to leave the Sistine Chapel, but we eventually did, and headed over to St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica.

St. Peter's Square 

St. Peter's Basilica behind us

The balcony where the Pope stands!!

Our first steps inside St. Peter's Basilica stopped us in our tracks.  I can't even begin to describe the beauty.  It is so magnificent, so grand, so incredible that it's impossible for me to find the words to describe it- any attempt I could make would only sound cheesy and lessen the absolute grandeur of the church.  Trust me when I say that St. Peter's Basilica is beautiful!

 The Pietá by Michelangelo

Isabelle stopped to say a prayer, she does this at every cathedral we visit.  And then I always say a prayer that she continues to pray for her entire life. 

We spent almost our entire time in the Vatican City looking straight up at the most magnificent ceilings ever created!  Ceilings that were so intricate, and went up so high, with detail in every single teeny bit that your eye could see.  I wished that I could float upwards and look at the detail up close, but sadly, my feet stayed planted firmly on the ground.  Although, my heart did, it floated upwards and found it's way up to the highest part of the ceiling.... and that's where it stayed.

Our first day in Rome was spent touring the Vatican Museum, getting emotional in the Sistine Chapel, skipping around St. Peter's Square, and trying to catch our breaths at the grandeur of St. Peter's Basilica.  If that isn't enough to get your mind off of a stupid cold that couldn't be fixed with chocolate, then I don't know what is!  When in Rome.... who needs chocolate?!

Our second day in Rome included a lot of walking, but no less magical.  I was excited to spend the morning touching, walking around in, and taking pictures of ancient Roman buildings.  It's hard to wrap my brain around anything 2,000+ years old.  Except the land and Native American culture, there is nothing that old or preserved in the States, and I don't know as much about the Native American culture as I'd like (I imagine they hold a wealth of historical knowledge that my brain would love to soak up).  I just couldn't get over the strength of the buildings and the genius in the designs that were thousands of years old!  Maybe I get giddy about silly things, and maybe y'all roll your eyes at me every other post or more, but I really try to appreciate as much of the world we live in and the people we share it with, and I'm fine with people rolling their eyes at my excitement over "silly" things.  Rome made me giddy!  When in Rome.... be happy!

The Colosseum

I know this might sound silly, but I truly felt like we had gone back in time two thousand years while we were walking around the Colosseum and Roman ruins.  I know Rome isn't as sparkly and white, as I'm sure it was back then, but huge stone arches and buildings, even in their faded glory, had a way of transporting a person back in time.  It was so neat!

This is what happens when my daughter has the camera- pictures of our backs and a gazillion pictures of birds and rabbits.

The Arch of Constantine & The Colosseum- but Isabelle is more stunning, don't you think?

Taking a break walking around the Roman Forum

Palatine Hill- isn't Rome gorgeous??

The Colosseum makes for an incredible backdrop. 
Arch of Titus

After walking around the Roman ruins and feeling like we had gone back in time 2,000 years, we decided to walk to the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and the Pantheon.  Eric & I had opted to go to Rome during the off season because we can't deal with extremely hot weather and insane crowds, but also because plane tickets and hotels are a lot more affordable.  And It turns out that January was the best time to see Rome!  The weather was perfect and even though there were still a ton of tourists, it wasn't unbearable or crazy.  But one teeny downside to going in January was that a few of the sights were under construction.... like the Trevi Fountain.  

But the upside to the Trevi Fountain being under construction was that we were able to walk right over top of it on a catwalk and get a very up close view of all the details in the fountain!  I'll take that over 100+ degree weather and ridiculous crowds, anyday!

Isabelle sitting on the Spanish Steps

On our way to the Pantheon we did a little shopping and checked the map to make sure we were still on track at Piazza Navona- well, Eric checked the map, I took pictures.  When in Rome... take pictures!!

 Four Rivers Fountain

Yours truly
 The Pantheon- completed in 125 A.D

I don't think I could fit another picture into this blog post, though I wish I could!  We spent 3 1/2 days in Rome and it turned into one of our most favorite trips!  I don't even know what else I could tell you about Rome... my face was either stuck in my camera or staring straight up at a ceiling with my mouth wide open, and I'm still trying to process all of the memories we made during our weekend in Italy that I haven't figured out anything good to tell y'all about.  I figure my pictures can do the talking for me.

Rome is everything you imagine it to be- yes, the peddlers and pickpockets are real (and really annoying), the food is amazing, and the art and architecture is breathtaking!  Their subways are packed and some people are are pretty stinky, but life is exotic and romantic there.  Life is easy-going in Italy, and I loved it!  When in Rome.... love life!  

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