Rome Recap Day 2

Our second day began bright and semi-early with breakfast delivered to our rooms at 8:30.  We stayed in a hotel/bed-and-breakfast, so it was standard breakfast of rolls, jellies, and Nutella with a drink we had requested.  Mom, Dad, and I all opted for cappuccini 🙂

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It was a very pleasant way to start the day, but Blaine and I didn’t have too much time to hang around.  We had big plans to hit the Vatican Museum! We opted for the short tour which hits only the big shot items like the tapestry room, the map room, and of course the Sistine Chapel. The ticket office opened at 9 a.m, which was about when Blaine and I hopped in line. It took us almost 2 hours to make it through security and the ticket office, but we finally got into the museum.  He and I are both a little crowd-phobic, so it wasn’t 100% enjoyable being pushed along with throngs of people, plus two of the statues Blaine was specifically hoping to see weren’t on display due to renovations. Despite all this, we still really enjoyed ourselves. My favorite part was either the Tapestry Room or the room of the immaculate conception. Blaine’s favorite was the map room.

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The maps really were incredible pieces of art and they played a huge role in determining boundaries and authority when they were originally made. The Sistine Chapel was, of course, awe-inspiring. We brought a pair of binoculars with us in the hopes of getting a good view of the detail, but between the jostling crowds and the incessant “keep moving” call from the security, we didn’t end up using them. We didn’t really need the bino’s to understand how incredible the chapel is, and stayed as long as we could before being shuffled along.

 

As we were leaving the Vatican, I bought myself a pretty St. Francis medallion and a chain since I lost my favorite cross necklace in one of our moves. St. Francis is the patron saint of Italy, the U.S, animals, and ecologists, so I thought he was appropriate for me 🙂

 

After our march through the Vatican, Blaine and I met the rest of the family at the base of Castel Sant’Angelo to continue our Roman adventure. Blaine and I were pretty wiped after the Vatican Museum and were very happy to hear that next up was lunch near Piazza Navona. We stopped at a place called Zio Ciro, mostly because it had air conditioning, but also because it looked pretty tasty.  Hot weather makes me lose my appetite, so I stuck to basics and just ordered bruschetta and a Macedonia fruit salad.

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It did the trick, particularly the fruit.  When traveling I usually don’t drink as much water and eat as much fruit and veggies as I do at home so this big fruit salad felt especially refreshing. That plus a few glasses of water had me ready to go see Piazza Navona!

 

When we lived in Rome, the Bernini fountain in the piazza was almost completely under scaffolding because it was being renovated.  Now the scaffolding is gone and we get to see it in all its glory. It is seriously impressive and I love how each of the four major rivers are personified into identifiable men.

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We also did some shopping nearby and came away with a few presents for Blaine’s family.  Continuing our march across Rome, we turned towards the Pantheon, but I’ll leave those details for another post to avoid making this one 3 pages long!

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Striiiike Out!

Our plans today were a big fat BUST 😦 Quin and Mom had some errands to run, so Blaine and I were on our own. I thought it would be a great plan to go to the National Archeological Museum today, and then go to Pompeii tomorrow so we could get the whole picture. Pretty smart, huh? Too bad I didn’t do all my research. It turns out that the museum is closed on Tuesdays, womp! It had taken us a little over an hour to get out there, so it was a pretty harsh blow when the museum was sealed up tight. Luckily, we had just treated ourselves to a cappuccino and a graffa (a donut dusted in sugar) so the morning wasn’t a total loss.

We regrouped and decided to take a spin around the Flavian Amphitheater by the metro station near our house. There are some cool ruins there, I actually knew how to get there, and it was near a pizza place my mom had recommended. Win-win-win! Except when we showed up we saw this:

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What a huge bummer! Obviously I need to get a little smarter about these attractions. At that point, Blaine and I just laughed and decided to go get some pizza and beer. (Our landlord took us out to dinner one time and insisted that the only thing you can drink with pizza is beer.  I’m not going to second guess the advice of a 70 year-old Italian man). We went to a place called Zona A, right near the metro station, and I left Blaine to order our drinks and pizza. When I sat back down, these babies were delivered to us

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Like my point of view? 😉 It was a lot of beer, but surprisingly refreshing after a hot day of disappointments.

When our pizza came we were a little confused because we thought we had ordered a pizza with eggplant and friarielli (which is rapini), but our pizza looked like plain cheese.

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We decided to dig in anyway since I didn’t want to fumble around with asking for a different pizza, and it’s a good thing we did, because there was a surprise inside that crust!

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It was stuffed with sausage-friarielli-eggplant goodness!! That was the first time I’d had stuffed crust pizza here, and it was a real winner. We left full and happy, the day’s earlier disappointments  forgotten 🙂

When we got home, I coerced poor Blaine into watching the latest episode of The Bachelorette (anybody else disappointed in her picks??) and now we’re watching Casino Royale to make up for his pain 😀

Sunny Sorrento

Today Mom and I went on a mother-daughter date to the beautiful seaside town of Sorrento. It was lovely!

One of my only pictures of Sorrento itself... :/

One of my only pictures of Sorrento itself… :/

Sorrento is such a beautiful town, and I’m a little ashamed I didn’t take more pictures. Sorry guys!! The train ride from Naples to Sorrento took longer than Mom and I thought it would–about 2 hours! But Mom was asked on a coffee date with a friendly older Italian gentleman, so the ride was well worth the time 😉 (She declined, in case you were wondering).

Please ignore my awkward wink.  Mom's still got it!

Please ignore my awkward wink. Mom’s still got it!

When we initially arrived in the city, we needed a bit of a pick-me-up before we really got rollin’.  Can you guess what I ordered? Ayup, a cappuccino with an apricot ‘graffa’, which is like a donut

That cappuccino was on point

That cappuccino was on point

Then we were ready to rock! We wandered up and down streets, stopping at what looked interesting and catching a late lunch when we felt the rumblings of hunger once more.  Mom and I originally planned on sharing some appetizers, but for some reason when I opened the menu and saw the egg dishes available, I couldn’t shake my craving for eggs.

Lunch! Also my first time trying rosé. Not in love.

Lunch! Also my first time trying rosé. Not in love.

My eggs were just a little bit runny, which is exactly how I like them, and I was surprised at how much I liked the cooked tomato with the eggs.

After lunch we had to sort of hustle back to the train station in order to make it home in time to prep dinner, but it was an absolutely lovely day and I thoroughly enjoyed the high 70’s weather! And I finally found the purse I’ve been longing for for months.

The spoils of the day. Huzzah!

The spoils of the day. Huzzah!

Originally I wanted just a nice brown leather purse, but the yellow was calling my name. First the purse then the eggs…I’m sensing a pattern…

I love Sorrento and can’t wait to take Blaine back!!

A question for you: Is there a place you would visit again and again without tiring of it?

I think Sorrento and Rome are both places I could go repeatedly without getting bored. There’s just so much to look at and do!

Keep ’em Interested

The hardest part about wanting to blog every day is feeling like I’m writing something that will actually contribute to people’s lives.  Today…not so much.  Most of today was spent takin’ care of biznass which makes for pretty boring writing.  We drove to base to run our errands and the incentive in that is this delicious sandwich! 

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You make your own sandwich, kind of like Subway, but it ends up costing less than 2 bucks. Score!

Yummm. I also managed to squeeze in a workout at home today, once again drawing inspiration from Julie’s circuit workout page. I took her Jump Rope ‘n’ Abs workout and adjusted for the equipment I had to make it look something like this: 

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And that’s all my Wednesday turned out to be!

Germany Day 4

I guess my family likes routine because day 4 started off at the hotel breakfast as well.  No complaints here! No complaints here, the fresh squeezed orange juice is a great way to start the day.  We had been debating on whether to go to a history museum or the zoo (our friends told us the zoo was one of the best in Europe) but since Sunday dawned cold and rainy we decided the museum was a little more appealing.  We hopped on the U-Bahn and rode into Württemberg to check out the Landesmuseum.

When we climbed up out of the train station we came upon this charming view:

The band played hits like "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". Loooved it!

The band played hits like “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Loooved it!

We wandered around the square for a bit, half searching for the museum and half enjoying the architecture and little Sunday market that was set up in the square.  Once the wind and rain picked up we quickly stopped lollygagging and headed straight inside.  Unfortunately, we were told no pictures were allowed so I didn’t get any snaps of the museum, although we saw some families inside taking pictures so apparently the rule isn’t too heavily enforced. The museum started in the Neanderthal era and worked up to about the 1900’s.  It was a very extensive museum and I have to say I wasn’t too captured by it, although they had a few neat hands-on sections (intended for kids but I say you’re never too old) that kept me interested.  Audioguides were offered but we didn’t take any, I think I might have gotten more out of the museum if we had though.  The museum is quite large but we hit a hunger wall and left some of the exhibits unexplored in search of some food.

We only had to walk a little ways before we found a semi-fast food place that was open; a lot of stores are closed on Sundays.  I got käsespätzle and a drink that I’m still not sure of, but enjoyed them both.

Mystery drink!

Mystery drink!

In the restaurant we saw a girl (when I say girl I mean she’s probably around 23) who was extremely dressed up for such a low key spot and we were wondering what her Sunday plans were. Shortly after we discussed the options (opera? theater? wedding?) she was posing at a table with a phone while a bunch of photographers snapped away.  Who knew we’d see a model in a fast food restaurant!

After that bit of fun I asked my parents if we could go get something sweet, so we walked back to a little cafe we had passed earlier inside the Königsbau-Passagen. We ordered our individual slices of treats and then sat down to order something warm to drink.  It was lovely 🙂

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Cappuccino and a cookie

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The spread

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Dad was super impressed by his action shot, photo creds to Dad!

 mmmm 🙂 Now we’re home safe in Naples, back to knockin’ out errands left and right.

A question for you: Do you have a vacation spot that leaves you a little sad when you get back home?

              I’m definitely feelin’ that with this trip.  I loved how neat and clean Germany was. Such a contrast to Naples!