This day we visited Rome, Italy.
This was a city that Jeff never visited while he was serving a mission here.
We did a marathon day to see as much as we could.
Initially Jeff was worried about transportation because we hadn't booked it before. We ended up finding taxi right outside the cruise ship that quoted us 550 Euro for our group for the day. Perfect!
The first stop was the Colosseum.
Using the perks of being handicapped Jeff got us to the front of the line and inside.
We were done in about an hour and on to the next thing.
It was so crazy because I remember studying about the Colosseum and seeing it in my history books and we were right there walking through it!
This was more of the grounds around that we didn't walk around to see. There was so much to see and do!
We walked around the ruins and read what we could about the Colosseum.
In modern times they have used the Colosseum for church things (you can see the cross on the right)
This would have been under the floor and covered while this was in use. There were passageways and rooms connected by corridors where animals and gladiators waited until their turn.
This monument that we stopped at was a huge place. It was steps that went up to a giant landing and collonade behind it. I guess this was called the Alter of the Fatherland and was built to commemorate the first king over all of Rome and Mussolini spoke from it. It was blocked off at the time but I'm not sure if we wanted to go up all the stairs anyway.
This was a column that I remember was one of the fist pictures in my Art History of Rome book. It has a pictograph of the history of Rome (up until the column was made of course). It was surreal that we were right there looking at it after remembering studying it when I was younger.
We saw the Spanish steps and the crazy big fountain in front of it. Again we were happy to look and not climb the stairs...it was hot that day.
Our driver couldn't get us to the Trevi fountain and instead just gave us directions to walk there. We couldn't find it at first and then ended up just grabbing a quick lunch and having a bathroom break in a McDonalds. Walking back we met our driver and he asked us if we saw the fountain yet and we said we couldn't find it.
He gave us directions again and encouraged us to find it. "It will be worth it" he said. After some more winding streets, more walking than we wanted, complaining kids and some more directions we found it.
It was crazy ornate and crazy big and it was worth it. Even the kids were glad we found it.
It was also crazy crowded...we couldn't even get near it!
Some of the narrow streets in Rome
It was amazing all the art, fountains and ornate details everywhere we looked.
Our final and most important stop of the day was the Vatican.
Again this is a place that you probably would normally need a whole day to see and we were rolling up a couple of hours before it closed hoping to pop in. Jeff pulled the handicapped card to get us in
(if we had to wait in the lines it probably wouldn't have happened)
I knew that the Vatican had the Sistine chapel but I didn't realize the whole thing was a giant museum of a crazy amount of statues, paintings, furniture and more. The collections spanned for years and covered a range of artists and time periods. I realized that we were viewing just a small portion of the extensive collection.
Everything was ornate, even the ceilings.
What I wasn't prepared for was the heat (it wasn't air conditioned)
and the crowds. It wasn't like a normal museum. Everything was like a one way maze that you had to wander through in order. We were caught in a sea of people and more than once was feeling very stifled and claustrophobic. The fact that we ended up getting separated from Jared and Jacob right at the beginning. They were nowhere to be found so it was more stressful. I started holding on to Jeff' and Taylor's shirt and made sure Ashley was within sight at all times.
Hold on to your family!
We had to just press forward and enjoy what we were seeing as much as we could.
I have to admit it was pretty crazy and impressive.
Finally we got to the Sistene chapel along with the famous paintings from Michelangelo.
These were a couple of covert pictures because they didn't want you taking them. They wanted you to buy their book of them instead. The only problem was this was supposed to be a holy chapel and the Swiss guard was yelling at us in full voice to be quiet and not take pictures the whole time I was in there. They seemed very mad all the time, ha ha. It was full of people and packed since it was the culmination of everyone's visit. Of course my rebel family got some pictures
(we weren't the only ones)
At the end of the maze we found Jacob and Jared sitting under a portable air conditioning waiting for us. We were glad to see them but now we were missing Virginia and Dean!! None of our phones were working in Europe very well and we mostly had them turned off. Luckily Virginia was texting us, finally. We got a picture in front of St. Peter's basilica but we couldn't go inside because we now had to find Virginia and Dean.
We tried to meet up where she said she was. We ended up outside of the Vatican completely since we didn't leave the museum at the same exit she did. We then had to walk over a mile around the wall to get back inside to try and find her. Ashley was about in tears and Taylor took pity on her and gave her a piggy back ride. You can see the frustration in Jeff and Jacob's face here.
Luckily we found Virginia and Dean and the driver and got back to the ship OK.