Buon Girono! We are back from Roma! I don’t even know where to begin! We had an amazing time and I’m struggling to find the words to adequately describe it all. I am speechless! It was everything we dreamed and more. We learned so much, we explored, we laughed and we missed the boys like crazy. I have a new level of gratitude for Jim’s mom (and my mom) for watching the boys over the last week. I just kept thinking of what a blessing it is that they are both healthy and willing to help us. I don’t know how many times Jim and I just shook our heads and said “can you believe we are in Rome?!” It was the realization of a very long dream for us. We took almost 500 photos so I think we have it pretty well-documented! 🙂 I’m going to post some of them, but I know I won’t do it justice in terms of what we saw and going into the details. A few of the things I learned are: Italians love their coffee and cigarettes!:) At every meal they ask if you want a cappuccino and it’s a staple there. The driving is crazy! The Vespa’s (scooters) weave in and out at a high rate of speed, the people park in all different directions (sideways, backwards) and they honk their horns a lot. The thing is, somehow it all works! It just systematically seems to fit and Jim and I were amazed by that. We LOVED the people. They were very friendly and it gave me a new perspective of how important it is to be welcoming to foreigners. The day we arrived I felt very uneasy. I was in a totally different place away from the comfort of my small town and mini-van and unable to communicate in Italian. Thankfully almost everyone knows English but it’s an isolating feeling when you can’t understand the people around you. By the time we left I felt confident and loved the adventure of it all. Jim was in his element! He was able to soak up history, navigate a map (my Army husband loves that) and challenge himself with the culture and language. He was in fine form! Anyway, I have so much more to write but I want to post some pictures before I run out of time. I might not get them all up today, but here are a few!:)
Our first day. We had a few hours to explore before going back to our hotel and getting some sleep!
Itinerary: Vatican City, papal audience (cancelled-Holy Father was out of town), Ash Wednesday mass (in Italian).:)
Itinerary: Bus to Piazza Barberini, St. Mary Major church, Trajan’s Market, Colosseum, Palatine Hill (according to legend where Romulus founded Rome). Trevi fountain, dinner atop hotel.
Itinerary: Scavi tour (underground at the Vatican, tour near St. Peter’s tomb-no photos allowed). St. Mary Major church (where Bernini is buried ), Spanish Steps, shopping.
Vatican museum tour, Sistine Chapel (Sylvester Stallone was there too), Castle St. Angelo, Pantheon, Piazza Navona.
Day 5 (Sunday)
Church at Santa Susanna (they have been celebrating mass there for over 1700 years)! St. John Lateran, Scala Santa.
Sorry for any misspellings or errors. I’m trying to get this updated while I can (in a hurry).
It’s impossible to pick one favorite thing about Rome, everything we did was so unique and amazing. I think one of my favorite’s though was the Scala Santa (Holy Staircase). They are said to be the stairs leading up to Pontius Pilate’s that Jesus climbed when he was on trial. St. Helena (Constantine’s mother) brought them back from the Holy Land. It’s 28 steps (now encased in wood) are only to be climbed while on your knees. Jim and I followed a group of young (looked like newly ordained) priests. The stairs are hard, and after about the third step…very painful. It was a powerful place to contemplate the Passion of Jesus, especially during Lent. To offer up the pain I was feeling for him, and meditate on his sacrifice for us. To learn more about the Scala Santa click here.
Well, I have so much more to write, but that’s all I have time to update for now. Oh! I do have an exciting thing for YOU possibly (speaking of vacations)! My friend Mountain, the “Catholic Traveler” is giving away a trip to Europe! You can register to win and find out all the information here. Good luck!