Monday, February 9, 2015

Lee & Sara's European Adventure Part 1: Rome, Italy

Italy was the first stop on our European vacation. We arrived in Rome on Dec. 22. We got there in the afternoon, and started by finding our hotel. We took a cab from the airport to the general area we were heading, and then walked a few blocks to our hotel. In Rome, we stayed at Hotel Paba, which was a hotel that Rick Steves recommended. Our first night we just walked around the city, exploring and looking at all of the beautiful buildings and Christmas lights.

Here are a few pics from our first night exploring Rome. We called this Rainbow Road. This was where most of the shopping and restaurants was. 

Lee's first Italian meal: Lasagna
My first authentic Italian meal: Pizza

On the 23rd, we spend the day touring the Colosseum. We did a guided tour, which I would definitely recommend. We booked through Viator several months in advance. I loved booking through Viator because we were able to pay online in US dollars, and have our excursions planned out well in advance. This tour allowed us to skip the lines, and was definitely worth it! We saved a lot of time not waiting in lines. Our tour guide was a college graduate, and majored in Roman history, so the tour with her was so enjoyable because she had so much information to give us! Here are a few pictures that we took from the Colosseum tour:


Later that evening we also walked around Rome and saw the Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, and an Ice Bar! All cool things! The Trevi Fountain was my fav of those 3 things. I loved how huge it was and how detailed all of the sculptures are. The Ice Bar is exactly what it sounds like: a bar completely made of ice. The bar there you order drinks, the cups, booths, decor, everything! It was all ice!
Here is Lee by the Trevi Fountain, 

This was our view from the top of the Spanish Steps. 

Here's my love and I at the Ice Bar. 

On the 24th, We spent the day touring the Vatican City. This was definitely my favorite part of Rome. Again, we booked this tour through, and I'm really glad we did, because with it being Christmas Eve, everything was closing early that day to get ready for evening mass, and we were so happy to be able to get our tour in before everything closed.

After our tour, we went back to the room and took a nap, and then that evening we went to midnight mass. We thought it was actually at mid-night, so we figured we'd leave our hotel around 9 and grab some late dinner, and then head to St. Peter's Square around 10. This way we would be 2 hours early and could stand up front. We already knew we couldn't sit inside the basilica because we requested tickets in October and they were already all gone! We got there right before 10, and mass was just starting! Turns out, it does not actually start at midnight. Thankfully, we still found a decent place to stand. In St. Peter's Square there were screens set up so everyone could see what was going on inside the church, and they had a large group of priests come out and give communion to everyone who was interested in taking it, so that was a really cool experience! Here are some pics we took from both "Midnight" Mass at the Vatican and our tour.

Here is the nativity scene in St. Peter's Square. Notice that baby Jesus is in this pic. They did not have him out yet that morning when we took our tour.

After Midnight Mass we went back to our room and FaceTimed our families. Christmas morning we woke up, packed up, and grabbed some lunch. Then we headed to the train station and boarded our train to Venice. Check out my next post to read all about Venice!

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