Monday, June 25, 2012

Last Minute Trip

 I was supposed to go to Oregon this last week, but due to other engagements, that trip was pushed back a week. Andrew had already taken a few days off work because he was planning on coming to Oregon for my birthday/our (first!) anniversary. Suddenly we had a few free days and we wanted to do something with it. First we wanted to do Madrid. But then the flight filled up. Rome opened up, and suddenly I was packing for me AND Andrew while he was at work, I met him there at the airport (there's more to that story but that's for another day), and we were off!

Our flight landed Thursday morning, we found a hotel, and starting wandering around the city. It's beautiful! Everything is old, colorful, and charming.

 And there's a church on every street corner. Not just ordinary churches, though. Big, grand, Catholic churches. We walked into a bunch of them.

 We went to the Victor Emmanuel II museum (it's air conditioned!). It's huge and beautiful. I do realize that building is cut off in this pic. Random passerby are not always reliable photographers, apparently.

 Gazing at the view of Rome from the museum.

 We pulled out our map probably every 20-30 minutes trying to figure out where everything was and how to get there. Andrew was a pro at navigating the buses, trams, and metro. The Italians don't seem to run on any sort of strict time schedule, so this made getting around Rome verrrrry interesting.

 Trying to stay cool in the shade. Did I mention it was HOT while we were there?

 There were a lot of musicians on the streets everywhere. I realize this happens everywhere, but I loved that a lot of them played the accordian. 

 Colosseum! We tried like 5 billion times to get in to do a tour, but we either got there too late in the day, or it was closed due to a strike. So we got lots of pics of the outside.

 There were a thousand obelisks all over Rome. Andrew took pics of all of them.

 The Pantheon! It was giant and beautiful!

Did you know you can get married in the Pantheon? How cool would that be?

 Walking over to the Spanish Steps. Notice the obelisk in the background? They really were everywhere.

 On the Spanish steps.

 The dome to the right of Andrew is St. Peter's Basilica. 

 This square was picturesque and awesome. We looked at all the art and sat by a fountain for a long time. The giant building to the right is the Brazilian Embassy. I have no idea how they got such a fantastic building--I thought it was a palace.

 In the same square. This is the fountain where the bad guy in Angels and Demons kills someone. We also tried to find the Fountain of Love from When in Rome, but apparently it's fictional. I was very disappointed. 

 Another shot of the Brazilian Embassy.

 The next day (my birthday!) we went to Vatican City. The Vatican Museum is not really air conditioned, and it was HOT HOT HOT. You're not really supposed to wear shorts, so I wore a long dress. Big mistake. I was dying, as was Andrew since he was wearing jeans. The museum was extremely crowded and basically we were herded along towards the Sistine Chapel past statues and tapestries and art while Andrew and I eavesdropped on English tours all around us.

 Sistine Chapel. It was huge and magnificent. I got a neck cramp from trying to figure out everything that was going on on the ceiling.

 Even the hallways were beautiful in the museum.

 After the Sistine Chapel we walked into St. Peter's Basilica. This is where our day took a turn for the worse. See how big the chapel is? It really is breathtaking. And HUGE. And old. And awesome. 

 See how pretty it is? I was unable to really appreciate a lot of this, however, because as we were walking I started feeling faint and nauseous. I ended up sitting in an alcove meant for people to pray in while Andrew finished an audio guide tour. We went into some sort of tomb situation underneath the altar and I almost threw up all over the floor of the church. 

 Outside the church. Right before we went to a nearby restaurant where I lost the contents of my lunch. And before I continued to lose my lunch as we traveled back to my hotel (throwing up in foreign cities on the side of the road is not as much fun as it would seem). What a fun birthday gift!

 Thankfully after a long nap I recovered and we took another trip to the Colosseum to gaze at the outside.

 The next day (after I slept in) we finally toured the inside. Those Romans were real good at building large structures. Go Romans!

 We also walked through the Forum. It was really neat to walk where Caesar walked.

 These doors are the original doors from when the building was built....a few thousand years ago.

 Then we went to some catacombs. It was not super far away from downtown but it felt like we were way in the countryside. We had to walk a ways from the bus stop to the catacombs, and the road was really beautiful.

 View from the road. There were a ton of old villas. We couldn't take pictures inside the catacombs, but they were pretty cool. We tagged along on a Catholic youth group from the US for no extra charge (the priest said it was ok!) so that was cool.

 Then we went to the Borghese Gallery (we didn't go in, it was closed) and checked out the sweet view. To the right of Andrew is St. Peter's.

Andrew was giddy when he discovered that they were playing Euro 2012 in a square downtown. We stopped and watched for a while with a very large crowd. As someone who is not a sports enthusiast, even I thought it was fun to watch with so many people who were so stoked about the game.

Since it was our anniversary, we obviously chose to have a fancy dinner to celebrate. It was also our last night in Rome. Happy one year to us!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Segway Tour

 I loved my segway tour in Atlanta so much that I bought tickets for us to do it in DC for Andrew's birthday. Meghan and Layne came on it, too, so it was doubly awesome. Things I love about segway tours: It's the elite way to cruise around any city, and it requires little to no physical exertion.

We saw a lot of the standard sights, but the tour guide was pretty informative, so it was real interesting. 

 Andrew being pleased with his gift. He was a natural on the segway.

 Layne's mission of photo bombing pics was successful.

 Helmet hair is gorg.

 Loving life.

Definitely the best way to tour any city. If you want Meg's take on the tour, here's the link: