Thursday, October 11, 2007

Totally not house related ...... OUR ITALY TRIP (Part I: Rome ~ Day 1)

Last month we had a wonderful vacation to central and northern Italy. We spent 15 days and 14 nights discovering the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and at least once a day gelato! We started in Rome, traveled up into Tuscany, over to Florence, and ended our trip at our most northern point in Venice.

Here are some pictures and commentary on our trip:

The picture to the left is one of the first images we saw as we began walking around Rome. We stayed on the West side of the Tiber river just over the Ponte (Bridge) from the central area of Rome. This area is called Travestere, and is said to be the "Romans Rome." We loved the area because it was a great mix of being tourist friendly but also getting to live more like a local. The nightlife in the area is also very fun as it is lively and has become somewhat of a trendy area for the twenty and thirty somethings. We were also pretty close to almost everything and if we needed to we could always grab a bus or metro to get somewhere that was a little farther then our lazy American legs could handle. The picture is of some ruins on a little island that is in the Tiber as you cross the pedestrian bridge, it is part of the Jewish Ghetto of Rome.

We walked over to the building that houses the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and went to the top of it where you had a panoramic view of all of Rome. In the picture above the Roman Forum ruins are to the right and the Colosseum is obviously in the upper left hand corner.

Next we went over to the Trevi Fountain and then the Spanish Steps. The Trevi Fountain was cool to see just in it magnitude and detail of architecture. We were a little disappointed with the Spanish Steps we just felt like it was a lot of people setting on some steps. Maybe we completely missed the amazingness of it or something. Although at the Spanish Steps we encountered our first of many times in seeing people fill up their water bottles from the fountains. Of course most American fountains are disgusting and we would never even consider drinking the water, but everyone else was doing it so we even tried it a couple of times. I must say the water did taste good, wasn't discolored, and never made us sick.

Then it was on to the last major site for our first day which was the Pantheon. This was definitely our favorite of the day. It is unbelievable how well this building has been preserved and by a long shot is the best preserved building of all of "Ancient Rome". The doorway into the building was huge and I believe I read that the large doors were the originals for the building. The domed ceiling has some pretty cool architecture and a large circle in the top that lets the natural sunlight illuminate the interior. The inside is basically just a circular room with several statues and paintings, it is used as a Basilica which can be see through the cross just outside of the main building.

We did pretty well with our jet lag and managed to only take a couple of breaks in the room during that afternoon. We went to a small Trattoria that evening for dinner and had our first infusion of real Italian pasta, it was very good. During our dinner we met a very nice but opinionated couple from New York and a couple on their honeymoon from Norway. The Norwegian couple was very sweet and close to our age. The husband spoke excellent English and they asked if we would like to walk around with them and grab some drinks or something. We spent the evening with them exploring the lively piazzas and Adam and Ror discussed episodes of the "Simpsons" and "Family Guy". I never knew these 2 shows were a universal discussion topic and the bond we all have internationally:)

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