Tuesday, April 8, 2014

rome

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I don't even know where to begin with our trip to Europe. I guess I should share that it has been my dream since high school to visit Europe. While everyone takes Spanish in high school, I took French because I was going to live in France one day (in retrospect this wasn't the best choice since I now live in a Spanish speaking country). My only true regret in my life has been that I didn't travel more before I had kids. It has been a longing that got pushed aside when I became a mom at 22 years old. But I've never stopped dreaming of going to Europe. 

Enter sweet, sweet friends of ours who wanted to bless us with a gift at Christmas. Blake told them of my dream to go to Europe and they enthusiastically replied that YES! That is what they wanted us to be able to experience. Blake then delivered to me the biggest surprise of my life- a 10 day trip to wherever I wanted to go in Europe to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We are still in awe of our friends' generosity and joy from our joy. They have big hearts and we are blessed to partner with them in ministry and life.

Once I started breathing again and it sunk in that we were truly going to Europe, I began planning our trip. Our first stop was Rome where we spent three amazing days. I have to admit that ultimately Rome was our favorite city. I loved the vibe of the city, the history, the gelato, the pasta, the art, and the people. To us, Rome felt peaceful, yet exciting. I am dreaming of ways to one day be able to live there. It was our first taste of Europe and we fell in love.

Our first stop was the Colosseum. The history of this building (and everything we saw in Rome) overwhelmed me. I couldn't believe that I was actually walking among these ancient buildings. 
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Our first meal in Europe. It didn't disappoint. (I mean, what the what, I AM EATING LUNCH ON A SIDEWALK IN ROME!)
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Beginning of the Forum. My favorite site on the whole trip. To think of the historical figures that walked this road and stood in these spots 2,000 years ago was mind-blowing. And, of course, the grandeur of the ruins left me speechless.
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The only original bronze door still left in the Forum.
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The Temple of Antoninus Pius and Faustina has 50 foot columns, each made of one piece of stone!
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After the Forum we visited the Capitoline Museums. I could not get over the intricacy and beauty of Roman sculptures. This used to be a piece of stone!
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Dinner: more pasta on the sidewalks of Rome. Perfection. We also went to Palatine Hill and San Pietro in Vincoli church (where Peter's chains, Michelangelo's Moses and the unfinished tomb of Pope Julius II all reside). I'm not sure we could have fit more beauty in one day and I think this was my favorite day of all.
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Day two in Rome took us to the Vatican and its museum.
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No pictures are allowed in the Sistine Chapel, but we're rebels.
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Good gosh, St. Peter's Basilica is beautiful and grand. This picture doesn't even do justice to the size of this altar.
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We climbed to the top of the dome which not only gave us a great view of the church, but also...
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all of the Vatican.
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Gelato and pasta. Italy, you have my heart.
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Our last day in Rome (sniff, sniff). We spent the morning at the Borghese Gallery (where no pictures are allowed) and then we climbed the Spanish steps.
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And then we went to another one of my favorite sites, Trevi Fountain.
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And of course, the Pantheon. Another favorite. 
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As we were walking around that day, we saw lots of people from England in rugby jerseys. Blake obviously had to find out what was going on and much to his excitement found out that there was a rugby game that day between Italy and England. I sent him on to the game, while I strolled more of Rome and saw some last sites that where on my to-see list (Campo de' Fiori, Piazza Navona).
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The next day we were truly so sad to leave Rome, but found comfort in the fact that we were headed to Paris!

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