Previously, I mentioned that we would be taking a trip to Italy! This came about through the educational travel organization that I use to take students to France. As an appreciation and incentive to keep traveling with them, I was given a free trip for a "teachers' conference" to Rome! It was one of those take it or leave it offers, with specific dates already created...so I took it and added Captain America on at a discounted "companion" price. Our first choice was Vienna, but for the sole reason of being close to Hungary, where my brothers' live. As always, God works in mysterious ways and that trip was filled-up and so we had to choose Rome. As it turned-out my brothers were able to fly to Rome for cheaper than what it would have been for them to drive to Vienna. And, why not, meet them in Rome, of all places, right? Hands-down, out of all of the beautiful sights that we saw, the best part of our entire trip was being with my brothers...nine months was a long time without seeing them!
On Friday, we landed and hit the ground running, by seeing Trevi Fountain (which was under construction), the Spanish Steps, some Roman baths and a general walking tour of the city...
The next morning, we did the "Papal Tours" of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter's Basilica...
- All of my food made it into the country and lasted for the entire trip without any glitches!
- I learned that French is closer to Italian than I had originally expected. I believe I could learn it relatively quickly!
- This was our (Captain America & myself) first time traveling outside of the Americas together. And so this was a great 'first' for the two of us in making new memories in far-away lands.
- Since living in Eastern Europe, my brothers have become quite street and public transportation savvy.
- Somehow I was mistaken for being European and not American on multiple occasions. Our Airbnb hostess, said it had to do with my cheekbones.
- On a similar note, Captain America was never mistaken for being European!
- No, we don't want a selfie stick! We haven't changed our mind since the last time we were asked.
- Italy is quite cold in the winter; at least for walking outside all day. Don't be fooled by the palm trees and close proximity to the Mediterranean.
- Having euros on hand, in Europe, is a necessity! Restrooms are few and far between and when found, they almost always cost at least one euro.
- In our opinion, Rome and Venice are a "must see". The ancient ruins of Rome and the way in which Venice is built around the water, make them both unique in comparison to other European cities.