and hit the road for Rome. These were neither hot nor spicy, btw.
Jon had booked a centrally located hotel room so we were able to walk to a lot of sights. Trevi Fountain was really close to our hotel so we went straight there. What a sight!
We had a good laugh about this over dinner. With no water in the fountain, does that mean we will never go back to Rome?? Next on our walking tour was the Pantheon, which was again, amazing. The only source of light is the hole in the top.
The engineering involved to provide light for an entire building with this design... my nerd heart was impressed. The inside was not too shabby either.
Jon and I ate a LOT in Italy, but when in Rome, we decided we would finally order two courses like you are supposed to do. It was painful but oh so delicious and by this point, we were able to finish an entire bottle of wine with no problem.
Feeling super stuffed, we decided to check out the evening action at Piazza Navona. It was packed with people milling about, tons of vendors.... oh it was great to be in a real city!
On the walk back to the hotel, we took a wrong turn. Jon apologized for leading us the wrong way and I was like HELLO LOOK AT ST. PETER'S AND THE TIBER! My Catholic heart was so happy that this was my first look at St. Peter's in person. Totally worth lugging the big camera everywhere in Italy.
Day 9 Jon indulged me to visit Vatican City. I felt like I couldn't leave Rome without seeing the Sistine Chapel. We made 9AM reservations and the line was already 3 hours long at that time. The Sistine Chapel is part of the much larger Vatican Museums which hold the art the Vatican owns.
You could literally spend an entire day in the museums.
The details were just spectacular. There were multiple rooms with tiled floors and it made me think about how many years and how many visitors must have worn down these tiles.
As we walked through the museums, we came to a few rooms that were air conditioned. This vast painting took my breath away as soon as I saw it. Then we realized we were in the Matisse room. We didn't do a lot of reading about the Vatican Museums before we came... I had no idea there was so much artwork from famous artists over the years. There was even a Salvador Dali room.
We made it to the Sistine Chapel where no talking and NO PHOTOS are allowed. We sat and marveled in the chapel, it is truly the most impressive piece of art I've ever seen. Fortunately I have a very nice camera that takes great photos in dark light and I'm realllly good at pointing it a general direction and taking a photo (called: shooting from the hip). TA-DA!
After this we went to St. Peter's square and I asked some super nice people with a really nice camera to take our photo.
I always hoped to one day go to Vatican City and it was everything I expected and more.
It was hot that day and crowded so we cooled off with AC back at our hotel and obviously some more gelato. My favorite of the trip was this tiramisu flavor.
In the afternoon I had booked tickets to the Colosseum. Again we bypassed a 3 hour line with reservations.
Again our engineer nerd hearts were blown away. IMPRESSIVE.
We ran into a couple taking photos of themselves with a nice camera and I asked if I could take a photo for them. The woman saw my camera and immediately started talking full frame so I knew we would be in good hands getting a photo of us.
We walked through the Forum as well. One thing Jon and I kept saying was that the scale of Rome is just so hard to convey. Everything is big and historic with so many simply amazing feats of engineering and design.
That night we walked around more and at dinner had our final lost in translation moments. We ordered 1/2 liter of wine and they brought a full liter. We tried but we simply could not finish it.
Day 10 we headed to the airport where we took four separate buses to get to our plane. Despite feeling we could have stayed in Italy forever, it was a good experience to make us want to get back home to our kids and our regular life.
I can't really imagine a better trip. Jon and I talked for hours. We listened to podcasts while driving. We laughed over some of the more ludicrous parts of travel. We played a daily game of "American or European" with most people we saw. It was a great way to celebrate the life we've lived together since we committed to spend our lives together 10 years ago. I wouldn't want to live this life with anyone else.