Thursday, April 21, 2011


I see why they call the A-Z blog challenge a challenge. It's because it's challenging. I've used a lot of words this month and while normally my blog is about nothing and everything all at the same time this month it has essentially been about one thing-travel.

If you read here you know what I consider my real happy place and its not Disney. Sorry Disney! I love Disney but Italy is my true happy place and I don't think the A-Z challenge would be complete without including her in at least one post.

R is for Roma

I try to keep these posts about a single visit, mostly for my own benefit. This way, all the photos from a particular trip are together in one spot.

We first visited Rome during our February school break back in 2005. We stayed in a little hotel within walking distance from the Vatican and we ate fabulous meals and saw incredible sights.

We spent one day wandering around the ruins of the Forum, visiting the Victor Emmanuel monument, and of course the Colosseum.

The Colosseum is staggering. We had not intended to get in on a tour but as we approached we saw a very long queue and an English speaking tour was just leaving so we opted to bypass the line and join the tour.

It was short and sweet and interesting and then you were left to explore on your own which is our preferred method of 'sightseeing'.

Some pretty gruesome stuff happened in this place.

The area around the Coliseum is full of wonderful things to see and explore. I hadn't heard much about the Victor Emmanuel monument before our trip but it is absolutely stunning-

...and you get a great view of the Piazza Venetia from the top steps-

As you wander thru the Forum and really all over this lovely city one thing seems apparent.

Everyone and their brother must have carried around chisels back in the day.

The amount of carved 'stuff' is unbelievable and someone in our group may have uttered the phrase 'Look! It's ruined!" once or a hundred times as we explored Rome.

They also might have cracked themselves up every.single.time.

Is this the smallest car ever?

One afternoon we walked up to the top of the circular Castel Sant 'Angelo. I didn't have a good photo of the exterior but found a free shot online so you can see what I mean by 'circular'...

We walked around and around and around. Through the years Sant 'Angelo has been an imperial tomb, a papal citadel, and a medieval prison. It was also windy but the views of the Vatican were not too shabby-

There are gorgeous fountains and squares and churches all around this city.

We wandered into the Pantheon which was built as a temple to the gods of Rome in 126 AD.

The Romans were gifted when it came to architecture and design...think about the tools they had to work with, or rather didn't have...

Of course no trip to Rome would be complete without a trip to the Vatican. We spent most of a day exploring the Vatican and the Vatican museums.

We had booked a tour ahead of time and I highly highly recommend that if you're visiting Rome. I do believe the queue to get inside the Sistine Chapel is the longest queue I've seen anywhere in my travels. We skipped right on by with our tour guide.

This picture was not taken on our February trip. The Sistine chapel is packed with people and I found it a little bit hard to see things the way I like to see things. Hubs had a private tour of the museum on another trip to Rome and their little group was the only game in town. I know...sometimes it stinks to be him. They were allowed inside after hours and could look to their hearts content. He was able to take some fabulous photos without all the crowds around.

St. Peter's is just beautiful.
The Swiss guard are there for protection...

If you read here you know how I feel about beautiful old churches and you know when I talk about them I always remind you that you need to read Pillars of the Earth and then you need to go see some up close and personal.

The statues on top of St. Peter's are of the twelve disciples...

and there are so many beautiful things to see in the Vatican museum-

Are you following this post because I know it's rambling. It's hard to capture the city of Rome in a, ahem, 'short' blog post.

We hung out on the Spanish steps one afternoon...

We needed to recover from the nearby shopping.
The high end stores are here and the prices make you swoon.
As does the merchandise.
Such great style in this city.

There is so much to see and do in Rome and I haven't even begun to talk about the food and the wine and the people that I love so much. We did visit the famous fountain Trevi...

...tossing coins into the fountain is supposed to guarantee you'll return to Rome one day.

We can surely hope.


  1. I sure hope so too! great post, I don't mind that it was long. Brought back some great memories!

    p.s can't wait to see you in a few hours!!!!

  2. Loved your Rome pictures. I would not take anything for seeing Rome with my daughter. We had a blast.

  3. What an amazing city! I would love to go there one day. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I still want to hear about the food, wine and people!

  5. daughter went there for her senior trip with her latin buddies...wish i could have seen it. she LOVED it; can't get enough of it!

  6. You never cease to amaze me, Joyce. So many places, so many names and details. How in the world do you keep it all straight in your head? I think you should write a travel guide!

    I'm trying to decide which place I like best...I'm still thinking! Great posts :)

  7. I've never been to Italy but I plan to go someday. In fact, I'd love to live there for about 6 months, to really get a taste of it. As for Disney? Pah, I'd rather go to the beach.

  8. My MIL and BIL returned in Nov. from a 3-week transatlantic cruise to Europe and back, again. They loved Rome and I so enjoyed seeing all their pictures, which look much like yours. What a blessing to be able to share all that excitement together as a family!

  9. I think you need a career as a travel writer Joyce!

  10. I hope you get your wish! Amazing shots! Thank you for sharing.

  11. You've sealed it for me. Italy it is for our 25th, Lord willing! I can't wait to see for myself the places I've only seen and read about in books.

  12. Living through you again. Wonderful pictures and it felt like I was there with you. You are really very lucky to have sees so much.
    Another "to see" place for my list. :)

    Happy Easter Joyce!

  13. What beautiful shots!! Brings back such great memories!
    Blessings for a wonderful Easter!

  14. More beautiful pictures! *sigh* Maybe someday!

  15. Joyce:
    The photos of Rome are stunning. I love your comment about everyone carrying around chisels. So funny!
    Have a wonderful Easter!
    Regards, Darlene

  16. I am with Mindee, I think you need to be a travel writer. I am so enjoying traveling with you. This was a wonderful idea. Thank you so much for sharing! Hope you are having a good time with your daughters! Have a Blessed Easter!
    until next time... nel

  17. I don't think I can read your blog anymore, seeing as how I only get to leave my house two days a week. And I don't get to go anywhere exciting.

  18. Breathtakingly beautiful! I'm so glad I found your blog! I'm stopping by from the A to Z challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

  19. What beautiful photos ... and what wonderful memories they hold for you all. I'm loving your A to Z challenge posts ... I can't wait to see what you have in store for us (especially part two of the post on Normandy).

    And does that small car have back wheels??

  20. It looks like an amazing vacation! I agree on Pillars of the Earth. Fantastic book and now I really need to go see a cathedral up close and personal! ;-)

  21. If I'd had something interesting to show and write about like Rome, maybe I would have considered the A-Z Challenge! Great pictures and good for you for keeping up to the challenge.

  22. I'll take Rome over Disney any day of the week---and while your at it, throw some Florence and Venice in there too. Ahhh, Italia! You took some wonderful pictures!

  23. Roma is my favorite ever. I am SO loving that your A-Z is totally a travel recap :)

  24. The pictures are beautiful. I wish I was going to be able to go to Rome. But I will settle for living vicariously through your photos.Hope your having a nice visit with the girls. Happy Easter.