26 October, 2011

Pretty much the best trip EVER

Somebody has to call 15 yr old Shannon and let her know I am finally addressing her list of hopes and dreams.  That's right.  I'm talking about Italy:  Been there; done some of that; bought the coffeetable book.

For our 10th wedding anniversary Scott and I visited ROME!  Really and truly, it was all that we ever hoped it would be:  narrow alleys, cobblestone streets, sun soaked beauty and to quote one of our new friends - "a bunch of really old stuff".

We stayed in a boutique hotel that was a converted defense tower built in 1247 and was called Rezidenza Torre Colonna:  http://www.torrecolonna.com/ .  Since we were staying right in ancient Rome we did a lotta lotta walkin'.  Good thing because this was accompanied by a lotta lotta eatin'.

Though there were more quaint little restaurants along the cobble stone streets than any one city should rightly contain, we still managed to visit the same place twice in our four short days there.  Scott was having an affair with the ham they had there which apparently "really does melt in your mouth".   I was content to drown myself in cheese.  Mmm cheese.
We also found it incredibly cool that there was free access to clean, cold drinking water everywhere from fountains all over town. A refreshing change from Cairo where drinking water off the streets is not necessarily a good idea and where restaurants serve only bottled water which is certainly not free.

We truly wanted to have a relaxing couple of days and tried hard not to overwhelm ourselves with too many touristy activities.  Half the time we did not totally know what we were seeing, just that it was beautiful and a whole lot older than a whole lot of other stuff.  One of our two truly touristy ventures was touring the Vatican - namely the Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Museum, and St Peter's Basilica.  We did the whole bit - tour guide, headsets, hundreds of pictures.  We even got to dress as Roman soldiers where we purchased tickets.  No dignity spared here folks.

That said, a person HAS to be a tourist in Rome.  Everything really does deserve a history lesson and a good handful of pictures.  Scott even nabbed a few in the Sistine Chapel which was strictly forbidden... So of course I can't show them here!

The second full out touring adventure was to the Colosseum. Did I mention we had a view of it from the rooftop jacuzzi at our medieval tower hotel? That's right. Whose life am I living?!

Anyway Scott was all 'touristed-out' by then so I got the headset guided tour while he relied solely on all the information he had learned while watching the movie Gladiator.  Upon comparing notes we discovered the movie yielded about the same information as the audio tour (which lost points due to the decided lack of Russell Crowe appeal... movie wins).

Speaking of movies, we got to put our hand in that face thing like that couple did that time in that movie.  You know the one...  It was actually rather anticlimactic and fairly unromantic compared to Roman Holiday (and later "Only You" for all you non-movie buffs).  The experience consisted of waiting in a 15 minute single file line, snapping one photo each, making sure your hand wasn't lopped off, and exiting immediately.  Checkout the legend for yourself at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bocca_della_Verit%C3%A0

 And speaking of legends, we also visited the Trevi fountain and each threw a coin in.  The word is that those who toss a coin in the fountain will someday return to Rome.  I really, really hope it's true.


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