Wednesday, March 11, 2020

October 2019 - Rome

Our hotel in Rome was the one that New York Life was having the convention at. It was a beautiful hotel on top of a hill with a view of the city. The bad thing was it took 30 to 40 minutes of driving to get back to the city. 

The first day in Rome Jeff and I didn't have any New York Life commitments so we took the hop on-hop off bus and saw some things around town. 

We saw the Spanish steps.

The Colosseum and some of the other ancient ruins in the downtown area.

We saw the Capitoline museum that housed a variety of artifacts that had been excavated from Capitoline hill. Jeff's handicap pass came in handy at most all of the museums which let us in for free. 

This statue was of Romulus and Remus drinking from the she-wolf. 

Next to the museum we went to the monument that was called the Alter of the Fatherland. We took the elevator all the way to the top and enjoyed the view of the city. 

We then hopped off the bus at the Trevi fountain. We didn't get the best pictures but we enjoyed the fountain despite the crowds. We bought a selfie stick on the street but it took a bit to be able to take a picture without it being obvious, ha ha. 


On our trips to Europe we like to visit the open churches as we pass by. This was a church that was at the top of the Spanish Steps. 

The next day Jeff skipped out of his meetings at 10am and we went to the city with a group of New York Life people. We saw a lot of the same things as we saw the day before. We were there with Ash Seth, Mike Oneal and his girlfriend Drois and her daughter. 

Some of the interesting things we saw that day.


When Jeff was on his mission he said he didn't really see Italy celebrating Halloween but we saw some shops and houses with Halloween decorations. This one was a unique toy shops that was all decorated for Halloween.


The next day we accidently slept in and missed the breakfast that we RSVPed for. We threw on some clothes and ran out the door in 20 minutes. We got a taxi to the temple and with only a couple of looping turns trying to find how to get there we arrived. Our taxi driver had never seen the temple and he was impressed with the beauty. He asked if there was a bathroom and we asked for him and directed him to the visitors center. We ended up having him take us to the airport at the end of the trip and he liked the visitor's center and was glad he got to see it. 

We ended up doing sealings at the temple because we had to back for a tour we booked but it ended up working out better. We went into the session and Jeff's old mission president from 30 years before was there. He didn't show emotion at first and Jeff said that's how he was when he was on his mission, stern and without emotion. When there was a break however President Conforte got up and gave Jeff a hug and he announce to everyone in the room that Jeff was his missionary from 30 years before, and he was his best missionary. Before we left that day they had hugged, I was hugged and both of them got emotional. It was a sweet reunion and it gave Jeff closure knowing that his former mission president had such warm feelings for him when he felt like he didn't really care for him all those years before.  Jeff remembered sitting with him right before he went home and him challenging Jeff to come home and find a wife and wondering how that was all going to happen and now he was back 30 years later with his wife of 25 years. 

While we were at the temple we were encouraged to explore and take pictures on the grounds. We had to go quickly so we could get a taxi back to the hotel to leave for our Vatican tour. 


We had been to the Vatican before in the summer with hords of people. This time it was nice to be led with a tour guide who gave us some background about the paintings done in the Sistine Chapel. It helped understand what we were looking at once we got to see it. The only shame was we were rushed through the rest of the Vatican.  The tour guide would basically say "Here is the hall of animals" as we walked by. We got to stay for 15 minutes in the Sistine Chapel (we weren't allowed to take pictures). 

The ceilings were all a work of art as well. This tapestry of Christ was made so it looked like Christ is looking at you no matter where you are in relation to his picture. 

After we were done seeing the things in the Vatican we got a tour of St. Peter's Basilica which is something we weren't able to see the last time we were there. 

They had to put Michelangelo's Pieta behind glass after a protestor vandalized it in the 70's. 

They think that the original medieval wooden columns looked like these. They had either burned down or were rotted away so they made replicas that were made out of stone.  

The costumes of the Swiss guard were designed by Michelangelo and they are still worn today. 

The next day I went with Jeff to the first speaker and got most of it before I left to go with the New York Life families to the outing at the Borghese Park and gallery. 

At the park I explored some on my own. I tried to go to the Globe theater replica (which was closed) and saw the pagan temple replica in the middle of a man made lake and found out that the pagan god of medicine was a snake and that's why there is a snake on the staff of doctors (according to the Italians)


As I was making my way back to the villa gallery I happened upon Scott and Ronda. We walked back together and ended up hanging out at the gallery together. 

The villa was beautiful with ornate and impressive works of art. The best ones were the sculptures done by Bernini. He was a master and the way he was able to make the marble look like it was soft and life like is amazing.

After the busy got back with the families Jeff was done with his meetings so we took the bus back into town and went to the Colloseum. We were the last people that they let in for the day and we had to beg to get in.

We got to explore and enjoy it as the sun was getting ready to set. 

The night we celebrated Halloween by having a celebration dinner with New York Life. 

We were all able to pick from Venetian masks as we walked in. They had dancers, entertainers, singers and variety of food. We stayed for awhile and then came back to our room to pack. In the morning we were hopping on a train to go to Venice.