I enjoyed my birthday on the ship - Andrew celebrated his 17th in Rome. Happy Birthday!
The kids begged us for this helmet. We, being horrible parents, said no. Can you imagine trying to lug that thing through customs?
Our first day roaming Rome alone, we headed to the Roman Forum. We quickly realized that the biggest downside of not traveling with friends: No family group pictures!
After the Roman Forum we went to the Rome Museum.
Apparently, I didn't pay attention in history class - ever. The kids knew all about most of the things they saw. I was amazed at what they taught me.
I was feeling a little like Medusa with this rainy weather.
Next stop was the Pantheon.
To celebrate Andrew's birthday, we stopped for lunch at a great little bistro just outside.
The amazing feat was the construction of the Pantheon with the center of the ceiling open. It is still open today, so when it rains - it pours - literally, inside the building.
See the area that is roped off behind us? That is the wet area from the rain earlier in the day.
On our walk back to the apartment, we saw these street performers. It was pretty impressive.
The boys told me (again with the kids teaching me things) that the man on the ground is sitting on a larger piece of wood that has a 2x4 attached to it vertically - with another 2x4 attached horizontally to the vertical piece (like the number 7). These two pieces are hidden under the man on the ground's clothing. You see the 2x4 that is exposed? That is attached to the wood hidden in his clothing. He is resting his arm on the wood and "holding" the piece to appear like he is supporting the weight. The man on top is actually sitting on a larger piece of wood. So all the balance is dependent on the man sitting on the piece of wood on the ground. If he moves - it all comes toppling down.
Still - even when you know the trick - it is cool!
Our final day in Rome was a long one. We were all starting to feel exhausted but we still had things to see. We headed to Vatican City. It was amazing. It was like you could visit museums from all over the world in one central location. We went to most of them. The final stop is the Sistine Chapel. I'll admit, that after having seen so many unbelievable things, that the Sistine Chapel was "yeah, that's nice". It was cool - don't get me wrong, but there were so many cool things. You have to see it but it isn't the only thing to see. There is truly an unbelievable collection housed there.
When we came out of the Sistine Chapel, we were beat. It was past lunch and we were starving. We walked into the eating area and the Nutella stand was like a beacon of light. The boys were so excited. We had pizza and a Nutella crepe.
The famous spiral staircase was beautiful. Everything in Vatican City was beautiful. Not one detail was overlooked.
Much to the kids' dismay, we headed over to Saint Peter's Square.
This is the area where the Pope addresses the people. We're not Catholic, but that is still pretty cool! It was a beautiful, massive courtyard where people were stopping and having lunch around the steps. The sun was starting to peek out and felt like heaven. It was so very cold.
Dad wanted to get back to Trevi Fountain for one final stop before we called our Rome Vacation over. It was beautiful - but nothing compared to seeing it lit up that first brisk night in Rome.
The cold and week full of fun had gotten to the kids. We wanted a picture of them throwing in their coins. Legend has it that if you throw a coin in the fountain, you'll get to come back and visit again some day. I love that we have these great pictures - showing them completely thrilled with the idea.
"yeah, Trevi again...."
Goodbye Rome! We'll never forget the time we shared together in your city. Thank you for the amazing memories. The time we spent together on this trip will be treasured forever.