Friday, September 21, 2012


We flew from London to Rome for the last leg of our trip and went straight to the hotel to check in.
Daniel did a great job picking hotels in good locations, but this was my favorite hotel. It was just so pretty. European hotels are so different from American ones. It's the little things, you know? Real, antique keys instead of cards, winding staircases in old beautiful buildings... The location was perfect, because we could see the Castile de San Angelo from our balcony and and St. Peter's Square was very near as well. We did have to pay extra to have air conditioning in our room, and let me tell was worth every penny. Rome is hot. We ate at a nearby restaurant (more on that later) then mom, dad, and Nathan went back to their room to sleep. Daniel and I decided we couldn't wait until morning to see St. Peter's Square so we walked in the dark with the girls. I am so glad we did. We were able to see the square lit up at night and almost empty. It was so peaceful and lovely. They closed it for the night about five minutes after we got there.

View of Castile de San Angelo from our balcony
St. Peter's Square at night
Swiss Guard outside St. Peter's


The next morning we had a sad choice to make. We wanted to go to mass at St. Peter's Basilica, but Mass ends at the same time that the Sistine Chapel closes! So we'd have to do one or the other. We went to mass, and my parents and Nathan went to the Sistine Chapel. I'm bummed that we missed it, but it was really cool to attend mass at St. Peter's and get a close up view of the inside. Plus some sweet old nuns got to pinch the kids' cheeks, so that was fun. As soon as mass was over we looked around for a minute then went straight into the square, where we were able to see Pope Benedict giving a speech to the HUGE crowd from his window.I think he spoke in 4 or 5 languages, including a little English.

inside the basilica after mass

That's the Pope!

St. Peter's

Castile de San Angelo

random street
some government building?

Daniel took me back to the hotel so that I could meet up with my family, and he went to hit some sites on his own, since he had a much bigger to-do list than the rest of us, and a lot more energy left than anyone else. This worked out well for everyone except that I hate that we don't have any pictures of us all together in Rome. 

Colosseum: The first place we went was the colosseum. I had a wicked headache while we were there and spent most of the time sitting in the dirt with my eyes closed and my head resting on a rock. I found that it was not a very cheerful place. Anyway, if you go to Rome...go to the Colosseum. Duh. It's very cool. 

Constantine's Arch

At this point, we were a little tired of the miserable heat. It's hot in Oklahoma, and humid too. So hot and humid that I thought no other heat would faze me.  I don't know what it is, but the sun in Italy is brutal. Nathan had a travel book that recommended we search out the world's best gelato at a little place near the Trevi Fountain. We thought this sounded like the perfect place to cool off, so we set out for the Trevi Fountain. The fountain definitely lives up to the hype. It is really beautiful. The water comes out little spigots that are safe to drink from so we filled our bottles there. (most Roman fountains are this way) We found the tiny little gelato place, then decided to head home. We had pizza on the way back to the hotel, then immediately afterward we accidentally stumbled upon the Pantheon. It was late in the day so we weren't able to go in (it's a Catholic church now), but I'm glad we got to see it. We all hit the sack early in preparation for our early departure back to Germany the next morning.

with the girls, Trevi Fountain


Roman Food: Our first night, we ate at the first place we came to after checking into our hotel. The concierge assured us that we could not go wrong eating on that street, so we just picked one. 
We were a little out of place there. Travel-worn, casually dressed, exhausted, and with babies in tow. I think that's why they put us in the back room all alone. It's a good thing they did because we got a little silly. (perhaps it was all the free prosecco or the fishbowl sized glasses of red wine.) Dad ordered an appetizer of Italian cheeses with bread and fruit for the table. Yum, yum, yum. Mom ordered spaghetti with bacon, but by bacon they meant prosciutto. Mom did not really appreciate the aroma of the aged meat, so the rest of the family ended up eating her food. I had a veal meatball stuffed with spinach and cheese with veggies and some fantastic sauce. For dessert I had something very like tiramisu, except instead of powdered cocoa on top, it was covered in a hot chocolate sauce. Mom had fruit and chocolate fondue. YUM!
That was one of the best meals I've ever had, but unfortunately it was really the only good meal we had in Rome. Everything else was the equivalent of frozen pizza and canned Chef Boyardee pasta. Not exaggerating. You really get what you pay for in Rome I guess.
Oh, except for the gelato. We liked the gelato.The famous gelato place we went near the Trevi fountain is called San Crispino. There were magazine clippings all over the walls of rave reviews in food magazines. Apparently the character in Eat, Pray, Love stops by there on her trip to Rome. Anyway, it was really delicious gelato. Particlarly the peach and strawberry.
So that's all, folks. It was a great trip.