Italy- a Fantastic Place to Visit | Part One | 2017

This trip took place in October of 2017

This year my husband and I were given the opportunity to travel with a College class to Italy and Germany. It is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation this year and the class toured a few things that had some connections to that. Neither me or my husband have ever been there before and given this is the year of our 20th anniversary of our marriage, this trip was a fantastic way to celebrate that.

 

We took a overnight flight and landed in Paris staying at a cheaper hotel for one night so we could acclimate our bodies better to the time zone change before jumping into our tour. I have been in a position of being on a trip where the jet lag is so bad, you are just miserable walking around when you should be enjoying things. We decided to try and not let that happen again and I think our plan went well. We slept as much as we could on the airplane which was our home daytime and Europes nighttime and then took a short nap to refresh ourselves in Paris.

 

The Paris customs took forever. We think they must have been looking for someone in particular because towards the end of waiting for what seemed like hours, the line started to speed up quickly. The French didn’t seem to picky about us, and didn’t ask many questions. One custom booth and we were in. A big difference from coming back into the U.S.

(There were multiple places we had to get through and many people we had to talk too to get back home.)

Rome was our starting place for our tour. The group we were with numbered about 20. We shared three different airbnb’s for our hotels.

My first thoughts walking around in the warm sunny weather was, I can’t believe I made it to this place with so much history and its still going strong! Everything seemed charming in its old vintage way. Cobblestone streets, tiny little cars, statues and buildings and remnants of the city, hundreds sometimes thousands of years old. Of course where we live, a few hundred years old is about all we can manage, so to be in a place where so much history has occurred is really overwhelming.

Chris and I spent the first of three days in Italy, in the city of Rome, walking around and putting miles on our feet. We visited things we didn’t even know what their names were, but we took a lot of pictures anyway. We had a bicycle rickshaw ride to the famous Trevi Fountain and at one point Chris almost had his camera stolen. You don’t leave your valuables anywhere not attached to you. We ate some of their famous pasta and gelato. The gelato shops seemed to be as numerous as our coffee shops.

The second day, five of us almost missed our tour in the Colosseum and Roman Forum with the rest of our group because we got on the wrong bus. Luckily my husband figured it out and we turned around almost thirty seconds too late. That was a little embarrassing and stressful, although it wasn’t our fault, we were following someone else’s lead.

We had a walking tour audio guide through the Colosseum and then through the Roman Forum. We lost someone in there at one point and paused the tour to wait a bit. A somber place was the Colosseum with an estimated over 1 million people who were killed there at that location. They had a retractable roof on that thing and before it was made a historical building, the Romans started taking it apart to recycle the building materials which is why it’s somewhat in pieces today.

We had another walking tour through the city later that day. It seems almost everything in the city has some sort of story and significance behind it.

 

 

The third day was a tour of Vatican City. Chris and power walked a ways to get there bright and early. Our feet were screaming for a break when we were done. I found a few things incredulous. The first was how many people they allowed to be in one place at one time within the walking tour of famous paintings, halls and of course the Sistine Chapel. I’m telling you if you have any problems with being claustrophobic this tour is probably not a good idea. People were standing face to face in some of these spots, absolutely no way to leave quickly if you wanted too. Some dude inside the Sistine chapel was feeling in control with his microphone telling us all to be quiet and Silent! I would have personally thought a little music or something would have made the experience better. One may not use their camera in the chapel.Then just when we thought the place couldn’t get more extravagant, we walked into St. Peters Basilica. One of the most renowned works of renaissance architecture. Then our jaws really did drop to the floor. I may have sunk down to the ground to give my aching feet a break and rub my overstimulated eyeballs a bit. These museum places are a wee bit stingy with offering a spot to sit, and when they do have them, they are usually populated by someone else already.

 

 

I’m telling you, a camera just can’t capture the grandeur of what we saw in Vatican City. What was a little baffling to me, is why the Catholic church had artifacts from Egypt and even other cultures. Housing statues of other gods seemed a little sacrilegious to me. There also seemed to be a lot of statues and sculptures and paintings of demonic looking faces and creatures.

That same day, my husband who is the absolute best to travel with, got us super tasty sandwiches for lunch and then we rode in a taxi to the Priscilla Catacombs. Some of the oldest in the city. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside for whatever reasons. It smelled old inside. I guess that’s because it was actually old. There is about seven or so miles of tunnels. The tour was only thirty minutes however it was relatively cheap. We walked by some graves still closed up and saw a few human bones here and there. It was both fascinating, sobering and gross all in the same thought. If you don’t know what Catacombs are, do your own research, I’m already typing way to much here.

I asked my husband to take me to a Rome thrift store. It was a little frustrating trying to figure out the right bus. Eventually we decided to just bite the bullet and pay for an Uber ride. Uber wasn’t really cheaper than a taxi in Italy. But finding a taxi was proving to be very difficult in the area we were in. We found a store. It was just clothing, but I love clothing and it was so cool being in Rome and a thrift store at the same time.

We rode the bus back to our location from the thrift store and was on it for over an hour. We watched a lot of Italians get off and on and were grateful we had bus tickets that were not expired when a group of young men were getting ticketed by the bus police.

I love riding on buses in big cities. I feel safer somehow. One is able to watch from the windows everything that goes by and it’s just a great way to not have to pay attention to other drivers. However, riding a bus, you’d better pay attention to when your stop shows up lest you be on a perpetual bus ride and that doesn’t sound fantastic.

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