>> Sunday, October 16, 2011
I know it's been a while. We are officially back from Italy, although my body still feels like it might be there. Jet lag, combined with 25 straight hours of travel on the way home (after only 5 hours sleep the night before), and going straight back to work the next day does not a happy body make!
Sorry it's taken me a while to get any updates on here, but that's just the way it is. :)
I thought I would do a recap of our trip in 2 day increments for the next week, and include some recipes. So if you don't care a thing about Italy, pictures of amazing architecture and food, and recipes of homemade Italian cuisine, you should probably tune out for the next week. But why in the world would you do that? So, without further ado, welcome to Italy!!! I know you're going to love it!
DAY 1 :
Leave San Francisco - flight to Paris/layover in Paris - arrive in Rome
Off we go - We flew AirFrance, and had a great experience! P.S. This is Tim and Jen (aka "Viviana and Doneroso"). We went together, so you'll see them a lot!
We had a 9 1/2 hour flight to Paris, and Paris airport was completely unorganized. We taxied for 30 minutes out on the runway, had to wait for buses to come shuttle us from the plane to the terminal, and missed our next flight. This is the ceiling in the airport. Very cool!
The perk of missing your flight?? Getting rescheduled into first class on the next flight - leaving only 1 hour after the original!!! This was our "snack" they gave us instead of pretzels!! Plus we got a meal voucher we used in the Paris airport.
We arrived in Rome, checked into our hotel, and went out to do a bit of exploring for the evening. But first, we needed to have our first Italian meal. Unfortunately, we walked over to a more touristy piazza, and sort of got suckered with an "okay" meal. I had pizza with mozzarella and mushrooms.
Archie had the Cacio de Pepe (Spaghetti with Black Pepper). We had this many other times, and this was definitely not the best one. Oh, well. We are in Italy!!!!
On our way home, our walk takes us down small, quaint alley's or via's. They are beautiful, surrounded by gorgeous homes, architecture, and then suddenly, you would walk into an opening or piazza. One of the piazza's we stumbled upon contained the Pantheon! It's so crazy, you're just walking down the street, and then there's the Pantheon. I thought it photographed so beautifully at night!
We had our first of MANY gelato stops that night too! I had zabione (zabaglione in English - see my recipe here) and chocolate. To die for! It was the one and only time I saw zabione flavored gelato. Glad I found it that night!
Our B&B was right around the corner from the Trevi Fountain, in fact it was called 3 Coins B&B. The fountain was seriously, so beautiful. Again, I had to capture it at night, it was so gorgeous!
We went to bed a bit early this night- since we technically didn't really get much sleep the night before on the plane. We had a FULL day of Rome touring the next day.
DAY 2 - Vatican Tour, Coliseum & Forum Tour, Spanish Steps
We began our tour at the Vatican. It was so beautiful. There is no way to capture on camera the beauty of this place. It's really stunning. We weren't allowed to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, but it was also amazing.
There are fountains all over every city that you can just fill up your water bottles and such. We borrowed a Platypus (similar to a camelback) from Tim and Jen, put it in our backpack, and it was such a lifesaver. Saved us probably hundreds of dollars on buying water bottles. You wouldn't believe how fresh the water tasted too! Not like our water fountains at all.
This is the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. It's so gorgeous. You'll get to see the inside of it in a little bit.
Stairs inside the Vatican museums. I just thought they were so cool. I wish I could have caught it with no people on here, but I would have been waiting all day. I think this would look so cool framed!
Outside the Vatican in the square by St. Peter's Basilica.
This is the shrine created where Peter was buried. It was seriously amazing to see where Peter - who talked and walked with Jesus was buried!! Awe inspiring.
Look at the ornateness of this church. To think that this was built thousands of years ago before the technology we have today is completely insane! This is the dome of the inside of St. Peter's like I mentioned before.
After we went in the church, we proceeded to climb - 525 stairs in dark, claustrophobic hallways to the top of St. Peter's Basilica.... Did I mention I was scared of heights before? No, yeah, I'm scared of heights!!! Big time. I tried to play it cool, like I was a big girl and it didn't really bother me. I didn't want to be the whiney, complainey girl off to the side making a big deal about it. But really my insides were screaming. This is the Vatican square from the top of the dome.
Halfway there - you have to go outside the stairs, continue to look up to where you're going to, and then walk in this treacherous terrace looking down INTO the church. You've gotta be kidding me. But at least I got a gorgeous picture out of it! :)
Made it to the top! Whew. It is a beautiful view.... but do you see how tight I'm holding on! :)
So, this is pretty cool. The triangle shaped building to the right is the Pope's apartments. The last window on the right is his bedroom, and the one right next to it is his study. I would have never thought it would have been quite so accessible.
The front of St. Peter's Basilica.
Next we headed towards the coliseum, but not without a little stop for some pizza, and of course, you gotta see nuns hopping on the subway when you're by the Vatican. :) haha. How cute.
As soon as we walked into the coliseum, this was the first sight. It was so amazing to walk around this very real part of history.
We took a tour of the coliseum (by "Barbara" - pronounced Bawbada, ha) and learned some really amazing things. I won't bore you with all of these details - but one of the most interesting things they told us was that this was not where the Christians were actually killed in the gladiator games. It was actually in a different coliseum.
The outside of the coliseum. It is really quite an amazing structure.
We used the Rick Steve's free iphone app for audio tours, which was a really cool thing to have. Free, great information, you could listen to it in double time, and it narrowed down what was important in some of the big areas that you could get lost in.
We then walked across the street to the Forum - kind of like the old downtown/political center. It was very cool, however my feet were like jello at this point! I love this green door!
This is the front porch/veranda of Julius Caesar's house. Yes, I said that right.... Julius Caesar!!! Talk about surreal!
We tried to pose like the Italian models! haha. Stick out your collarbones ladies! :)
Coming out of the "baths" area of Julius Caesar's house.
These were the views from the veranda at Julius Caesar's digs. Quite breathtaking, huh?!
We then headed back to the hotel for a quick clean up and some yoga stretches for the feet/legs! :) Then headed over to the Spanish steps as well as dinner at a really amazing restaurant. My pasta had a pomodoro sauce and mozzarella. So so good!!!
We then hit the hay! We were exhausted! So much walking, stair climbing, and history.
Stay tuned for Day 3 & 4!