Ed and I got back from Rome a week ago and my ankles are still aching from all the walking we did! It was definitely worth the pain! This was one of the best trips Ed and I have ever had! We flew to Rome on Air Berlin - a charter service out of Germany. I was pretty impressed, our tickets round trip were only 109 Euros! They were actually great flights - I guess if you can call flying great. I think I have flying short distances manageable - I sure still hate those big trips over and back from the States though. I know, get over it!
We got to Rome on Monday, checked into the hotel. We stayed at the Residenza Farnese Hotel, close to Piazza Farnese and Campo dè Fiori. The hotel was originally a palace in the year 1000! In the 19th Century, the palace was bought by the Church and became the seat of the Ecclesiastical Institute for the formation of young new priests. We got a great deal from our new best friend, Carola - our travel agent!
We headed out for a walk and to find a place for lunch. We found a great little restaurant and sat outside - (yeah sun!) The food was wonderful - in fact it was wonderful all week. I have even grown quite fond of expresso! After lunch we headed out walking and were just amazed. Ed had been to Rome for a day several years back, but this was my first trip to Italy, (except for lunch over the border from Austria several years ago - so I don't think that really counted.) I felt like I had been dropped among a movie set. It was difficult to comprehend that this was Rome!
While walking, Ed and I came upon a building with ruins around it. Ed got his map out and said, - hmm, this is the back of the Pantheon! We walked around the front and there it was - just like I had seen in dozens of history books. The mosaic tiles and the domed roof were amazing. I know I keep saying amazing, but if I had one word to sum up Rome, that would be it.
There were liturgical shops everywhere with beautiful robes, crosses, and altar pieces. And of course lots and lots of nuns and priests. I'm not fond of nuns, I've never had a good experience with one. Maybe, I've just met mean ones - I guess they're allowed to be cranky. When I was 13 I wanted to be a candy striper (volunteer at the local Catholic hospital) and I went with my best friend Debbie to interview with the nun in charge of the program. This delightful nun told me, you know Laura, you should lose weight, boys don't like fat girls! When I was in Rome, I wanted so badly to go up to a nun and say - ha! I found a boy that loves me just the way I am!!!!! I told Ed that story and he made me promise I wouldn't accost a nun while in Rome, he wasn't sure he could get me out of jail.
Here is another naughty nun story. Maybe it was me that was naughty! When Ed and I met, I lived in an apartment building that was owned by Catholic nuns. It was a residence for single working women. Well, one night Ed and I were caught necking in the recreation room and I was called in the following day to the head nun's office about our inappropriate behavior. I was told if there was another indiscretion, I would be out! Of course, I totally played innocent, shame on me for not being truthful to a nun! Any way, back to our trip-----------
Monday night we went on a tour of Rome at night. I love city tours at night. The fountains and buildings are so beautiful lit up. We saw the Trivoli fountain, so beautiful. I was severely pestered by a rose carrying conman. These guys hold bouquets of roses and give one to the ladies saying they are a gift and once you grab it - you are expected to pay for it. Well one guy would not leave me alone, he would not take no for an answer. Ed stepped in and yelled at him to leave me alone. The guy bumped Ed, and well, you just don't bump Ed. Ed bumped back a little more forcefully, they exchanged a few words and then the guy finally left. Eddie, my hero!
Tuesday we headed off to the Coliseum and the Roman Forum. I hadn't realized the Forum was so large and had soooooooooooooo many ruins. Yes, amazing. We had another great dinner out. Wednesday we took a bus down to Naples and Pompeii. The port at Naples is so pretty - so blue. Pompeii was much larger than I thought it would be. There were stray dogs sleeping everywhere. They looked like people were taking good care of them, but it still made me sad.
We went on a tour of a cameo factory. Yes, Ed bought me one for our anniversary. It's beautiful!
Thursday we went to the Vatican. Wow! We saw the Vatican museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Cathedral.
St. Peters Cathedral is beautiful. I have seen some of the most beautiful churches ever built, but my favorite churches are still the small white country churches that you see in the rural United States. I saw the strangest thing at the Vatican. There was this middle aged man with short hair that had twisted the hair on top of his head to form two "devils horns." I thought he was pretty bold walking around the center of Catholicism, maybe a nun had been mean to him when he was a child also!
Friday we took a bus out into the countryside to the Appian Way. So beautiful. We stopped at the catacombs at St. Sebastions Basilica. I actually went down into them! I'm getting brave in my middle age! We had wonderful lunch at a restaurant that use to be the stopping place for travelers on the Appian Way to rest and water their horses. It looked like a dive on the outside, but on the inside it was so charming. Their wine cellar was in one section of the catacombs. We then went on to see the aqueducts and some more of the Appian Way. We ended our stay in Rome with another wonderful meal. The wine was wonderful, though wine and cobblestones streets don't mix well with me!
On trips Ed and I usually ask each other what our favorite thing we saw was. I honestly could not give an opinion this time, the whole trip was my favorite! Click here to see more Rome pictures!