Rome, Italy

Can you believe I'm still posting about my trip to Europe? I have two more posts after Rome! It's going to be a struggle to write about what we did, but it's important for me to have each city posted for me to remember - especially since the last one will be one of my favorites!!

I can't believe it's been close to a year since my grandma, mom, sister and I left. This time last year we were gaining excitement and already making preparations! I've been missing these places a lot over the past couple months and hope to return as soon as possible!

Today's post is on Rome, Italy. While I didn't fall in love with the city itself, it held some of my favorite sites! The city was huge, busy, and not great for walking. Our hotel was in a great location in that it was very quiet, but we didn't feel like we were close enough to walk to any of the popular sites. 

When we arrived, we had almost a full day so we went to grab a late lunch and tour our area of the city. We were craving authentic Italian food, but the restaurant we ended up at served mostly American food. I think I ended up with a burger! After lunch we walked to the Trevi fountain, the closest tourist site we were familiar with. The Trevi fountain was about the only place close to us and the hot, summer day wore us out so we spent most of the evening in the hotel. We did venture out to get gelato and fresh strawberries. Gelato was always on the menu for dinner in Italy! We took full advantage of the delicious dessert. 

The next day was our tour day. In the morning, we woke up for an early breakfast. The picture above was our view from the dining room. I was blown away when I first saw it. It was absolutely beautiful!! After a quick breakfast we headed to our first tour of the day in the Vatican. I enjoyed it, but now that I've seen it I wouldn't be interested in going again. One of the halls (pictured below) was gorgeous. It was very colorful with beautiful maps along the walls. It was also neat to see School of Athens and the Sistine Chapel. I learned about Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel the semester before our trip, so I appreciated having some historical knowledge (and a few fun facts!) in my mind as I was there. The semester after we returned I learned about it again, so it was fun that time around to learn after having already experienced it. It truly is an incredible work of art! 

That afternoon we toured the Roman ruins and the Colosseum. This tied along with Greece (post coming soon!) as my two favorite tours! I love history, and being at these places I was able to step back in time and put them to the stories I heard in the Bible and school. Our tour guide did a wonderful job recounting the history and allowing us to envision what the ruins would have looked like in their time. How I would love to step back in time and see the grandeur for myself! I would definitely love to return to the ruins and walk them without a tour group. As you'll see in the pictures below, the ruins are beautiful and it's a very fun place to walk around. 

That evening we took a taxi back to our hotel and then we across the street to a cute little pizza place. The lady working there was so kind! One of the most fun parts of the trip was meeting new people and I think it's something I'll try to do more on my next trips. After pizza we went for... can you guess?? Gelato! I wasn't joking about it being an every night occurrence! 

Our last day in Rome we had nothing on the agenda. We found out it was a national holiday - I think their independence day - so most of the stores were closed. We spent most of the day relaxing; after two full weeks of going non-stop it was nice to have a day to catch up on rest! We ate lunch at one we had been to one of the other days where we found some of the best pizza we had in all of Italy. My mom still craves it! For dinner we had, you guessed right again, gelato. My mom and Lauren, surprisingly, didn't venture forth for one more night of gelato, so my grandma and I hunted for a gelato place. We liked the one we had been to, but we were still wondering if it was real gelato. It's very similar to ice cream, and even though we had eaten it for several nights, we weren't quite experts. We found a place nearby where the line was out the door! We figured that was a good sign, but decided to walk the streets some more since the line was so long. After walking for a while we couldn't find another place so we decided to stick out the line and hope the gelato was as good as the place across the street from our hotel. We became a little stressed when our place in line finally reached inside because all of the flavors were in Italian! We assumed that to be a good sign since it wasn't geared for tourists and must be the real thing. The place was so crowded we didn't have time to ask what all 20+ flavors were, so we asked a couple questions and then hoped for the best! It turned out to be the best gelato we had on our entire trip! They poured chocolate into the cone, then stacked on three large scoops of gelato. Are you drooling yet?? Just writing about it makes me want to fly back for more! Grandma and I took a picture with our successful find and then ate it only a little guilty that Lauren and my mom weren't able to enjoy it as well ;). 

And that's our trip to Rome! If you made it through reading the entire post, congratulations! :) Now I hope you enjoy all the pictures and are looking forward to the last two posts. They're two of my favorites!!