Our second day in Rome was our only full day here. We had tickets for a tour of the Vatican museums including the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica. Sydney was especially looking forward to this morning because it was a chance for her to see first hand a lot of the art that she had studied in AP Art History this year.
We gave ourselves a full hour to get to the Vatican from the hotel via metro, not realizing there was a public transportation strike. The trains were packed, so much so that we had to split up as a family onto two separate trains to get where we were going. Thank goodness our tour guide was understanding when we arrived almost ten minutes late for our tour! The Vatican complex is huge (second largest museum in the world behind the Louvre) and there were about 20,000 folks there to see the museums that day. So while I was able to capture a few pictures, most of the day was spent trying to navigate through the crowds to see some amazing works of art. My favorite was the first sculpture that Michelangelo completed when he was only in his twenties. It is a portrait of Mary holding the crucified body of Jesus. Considering it was one of his first pieces, it was stunning and it was the only piece of art that he ever signed.
We finished up at the Vatican slightly after 1 pm and headed for the Spanish Steps and the shopping district. Some of the best designers in Italy have boutiques in this area and while we enjoyed looking at what Valentino was offering this year, we did not go home with any of his new clothes. The girls did find some cute things in the one off stores that were more affordable and my husband did enjoy looking for a new watch in some very nice stores, our afternoon of shopping around the Spanish Steps would probably have been better spent elsewhere.
Our final adventure out was to the Trevi Fountain at night. We had heard this was beautiful, especially in the evening when it was well lit. After dinner in the surrounding neighborhood with Caprese Salad and Lobster with Alfredo Sauce, the girls gathered their coins to make there love wishes into the fountain. When I messed up the picture and asked for a reshoot, I was informed by them that they were only allowed one love wish and a reshoot would mess things up. So alas, I don’t have a real good picture of this moment.
I will be the first to admit that 2 days in Rome is far too short, but the time was well invested and we saw many wonderful things. On our next trip, I would like to spend an entire day at the Vatican. They estimate that to see everything in the Vatican complex, it will take 5 full days.
Tomorrow morning we fly to Tel Aviv where we meet up with our friends for a two week tour of Israel. Looking forward to more amazing vacation time!
Our first day in Rome started as our 12-hour flight from the US landed at 8:15 in the morning. We had all tried our best to get a good night sleep on the flight but the best we could hope for was about 3-5 hours each. Regardless, we marched on….
After taking the train from the airport into center city and then a taxi to our hotel, we checked in, stored our luggage and headed out for the two venues we had mapped out that we wanted to see on Day 1: The Coliseum and the Basilica San Clemente.
The Coliseum was a no brainer, it was a massive piece of history that stood about 4 blocks from our hotel. We were blown away by its size and grandeur (not to mention the crazy men dressed as gladiators standing in front of it). We took some great pics of the outside, but the multiple hour long lines to get into the Coliseum and our lack of sleep for the last 24 hours, lead us to move on to lunch. Our hotel rooms wouldn’t be ready until 2 PM, so we had no choice, but to keep moving.
It was time for venue #2, the Basilica San Clemente.
I first read about this Basilica when I was reading Mark Batterson’s book, Primal. In the opening chapter of this book, he describes a historic basilica with catacombs that has layers of history underneath it. Essentially, three buildings one on top of another.
In the late 1800s, archeologists discovered remains of an older basilica underneath the present building. They started digging and kept digging until they also discovered the ruins of a 1st century home underneath that. Today for 5 euros, you can see (and practically touch) ancient frescoes and columns that were once a part of that old church as well and pagan worship altars and an active spring that were once a part of the first century home. It was amazing to see such ancient history up close.
Our evening ended with dinner at Pasquale’s restaurant and with the girls returning home to rest while the adults watched the sun set and the full moon rise at the Coliseum and later on the rooftop of our hotel.
The internet connections here in Rome are not great, but I hope to update you on Rome: Day 2 as we fly to Tel Aviv tomorrow.
I got a call from my mom last night. Even though I am in my mid-forties, she never fails to check up on me when I am traveling, even to the point of asking me to call her when I get there. Since this trip is an international trip, she just asked that I post a blog….so here goes!
The beginning of this year seems like a bit of a blur. It started out with my husband being contacted by a potential new employer that was interested in interviewing him for a CTO position. In his line of work, he gets a fair share of these requests and while he was not looking for a new job, he often views such requests as great networking opportunities. The organization that called was Southwest Airlines and the “networking” that took place early in the year, turned into a job offer and acceptance by late April. He started commuting to Texas in early May and the girls and I followed once school was out in early June. Our house sold quickly in Florida and we were blessed to close on our house the last day we were in Florida. Our Texas house won’t close until mid-July, so we are homeless and debt free until mid-July.
Last fall, before any of this occurred, we had planned a summer vacation to Rome and Israel. We realize that we have only a few summers left with our girls who are in their late teens and we really want to expose them to as much of the world as possible. Last year it was London, Paris and Scotland and this year, when friends of ours who are missionaries to Costa Rica organized a trip to Israel, we decided to take them up on it. One lesson we learned from our travels last summer was that jetlag on the first day is a killer, so we decided to start our trip with a few days in Rome to transition to the time difference and because our oldest is very interested in majoring in Art History. After finishing her AP Art History class, she is excited about seeing all of the treasures of art that Rome has to offer. We will spend the first three days of our vacation there and then we will meet up with our tour group in Israel. If you want to follow our itinerary while we are there, I will try to post it when I have a better internet connection.
I always like to try to blog through our trips for several reasons: 1)I like sharing what I learn and see with others; and 2) I never got to travel across the ocean until I was an adult, so if for any reason, you won’t have the chance to travel this summer, I hope that you can travel along with me via blog, Facebook and Instagram. My instagram name is @janetmacc, but even more interesting is my husband’s photography. You can follow him on Instagram @ambassador_pancakes. He will also post his pictures to Facebook as well, if you are lucky enough to be his Facebook friend. Hopefully, you will enjoy this vacation as much as we do.
Wherever you are, may you have a wonderful summer!