Monday, October 29, 2012


Good evening from lovely Rome..... 

Our last day in Rome was wonderful!  We had a leisurely start to our day, and Matt fixed us a great breakfast of scrambled eggs with some of that wonderful smoke cheese from dinner last night.

We took a taxi to the Vatican, our plan was to climb the dome early in the morning, and then go to St. Peters Square to see the Pope bless the crowd (and us!)

Our taxi driver dropped us off a few blocks from the Vatican, as the streets were blocked for some reason.  As we got closer to the Vatican, we noticed a large crowd in the streets.  We weren't quite sure what the occasion was, but it was a procession of some sort.  Eventually we found out it was a delegation from Guatemala and Peru on a pilgrimage to the Vatican.  It was quite a treat to watch them, especially the beautiful Peruvian people.

The procession:

Women in the procession were wearing lace mantillas, and were carrying incense burners--the fragrance was quite strong:

Another picture of the procession.  There was singing and a band marching along behind.  Strangely, the marching band was wearing Tyrolean looking hats with feathers--maybe German?

A beautiful Peruvian woman marching alongside the "float"

A sweet little boy marching with his mother, he was fidgeting with his robe sash, and his mom kept trying to settle him down.  He was adorable!

We enjoyed the procession for a while, then continued our walk to the Vatican.  We passed this wonderful water fountain.  I love the dragon motif:

We walked into St.Peter's Square, and the security line for the Basillica was l-o-n-g!  We would have to  go thru security to climb the Dome of St. Peter's, so we gave up on that idea!  Instead we went to have a cappuccino, and then explore the area around the Vatican until it was time for the Pope to appear.

Here's Matt in St. Peter's square, filling his water bottle in yet another fountain:

We explored the streets just outside the Vatican walls, stopping in a few gift shops to look for a certain religious medal for Jeanne's mom.  The guys decided this was a really cool car.  As you can see, Matt was thrilled to have his picture take next to it!

I liked this small stenciled street art on a nearby building: (hi Pat!)

We kind of let the time get away from us, and had to practically RUN to get to the square in time!  Along the way Dave and I got separated from Matt, but weren't too worried about it, as we had set up a meeting point just in case.

This is just part of the crowd in St. Peter's Square.  David and I were perched up on the base of one of the columns around the outside.  It was a precarious perch, but we weren't too worried about falling off--we couldn't have fallen to the ground if we'd tried, it was solid people!

I did manage to see the Pope, by leaning waaaay over while David held on to my belt!  Here he is--the Pope!

After the Pope was finished blessing the crowd, we hurried to meet Matt at a small cafe. We sat for a while sipping our cappuccinos, talking about how much we all enjoyed seeing the Pope.  It was a neat experience.  Matt was able to have a few rosaries blessed, as well as a St. Catharines medal for Jeanne's mom.  He also had with him a fridge magnet that he had just bought for his Grandma--so we are pretty sure that it was blessed by the Pope, too!  How about that, Grandma!

We decided to walk back towards our apartment, just taking our time to enjoy our last day in Rome.
We crossed the pretty Ponte Victorio Emmanuelle (bridge).  Here is one of the many statues on the bridge:

We found a nice little trattoria for lunch.  I think we might have been the only American's there, although I did hear some French.

Matt chose an interesting dish of rabbit with roasted cauliflower and herbs.  It was really good!

I had spaghetti with a simple sauce of olive oil, fresh parsley,  garlic and chili peppers.  It was spicy and delicious!

David ordered his usual pizza, here he is eating it like a true Italian--with fork and knife!  He said it was the best pizza he'd had in Rome:

We continued our lazy stroll through Rome, and came to the Column of Marcus Aurelius.  The carvings depict his victory over the Germans in about 160 A.D.  The statue on the top is of St. Paul.

The detail is amazing, and I wish I'd had time to study it all:

By now it was gelato time--it's against the rules to NOT have a gelato every day while in Rome!  Flavors of the day:  mango and Frutti di Bosco (fruits of the forest) for me, and banana and strawberry for Matt.  Pretty good stuff!

And here is David's choice.  I think he just broke the rule--cheater!

We just kept wandering--eventually walking up hill to the Galleria Barberini, the National Gallery of Ancient Art.  We decided we didn't have time to go inside, but the palace and grounds were very pretty.  This fence surrounded the grounds:

The palace:

An old fountain with spouting faces:

As we were leaving I spotted this old capitol-just sitting in the grass.  I love the bee motif:

Soon we found ourselves back in our neighborhood, and this lovely church was open so we went inside to look around.

The interior was as stunning as the outside, very baroque.  The ceilings were wonderful:

This is probably the most ornate pipe organ I've ever seen:

We went into the Sacristy, it was lined with these beautiful cabinets:

We were right around the corner from our apartment, so we decided to go back and tidy up the apartment and pack our bags for our early flight to Paris tomorrow.  Our ride to the airport is picking us up at 6:45, so we'd better be all ready to go tonight.  It really didn't take us too long, and we walked around a few blocks to choose a restaurant for our last meal in Rome.  We ended up right back where we started, the same one we'd chosen the first night.  We had the same waiter, and he remembered us.

Matt ordered spaghetti with veal meatballs.  He said it was just delicious.  I asked for a little taste--do you think I got one?

My ravioli with wild mushrooms.  I was surprised that it was in a cream sauce, my Italian must be rusty!  It was quite good, but very rich.

Guess who ordered pizza again?

We were having such a great time, relaxing and chatting about our experiences in Rome.  It was interesting to hear Matt's thoughts on Rome--his expectations versus his actual experience.  He said Paris will have to be pretty amazing to compare to Rome! 

We didn't really want the night to end, so we ordered desert!  (is that a good enough excuse?)
We shared a Panna Cotta in  Caramel Sauce.  It was silky smooth,  delicious but not too sweet.  The caramel sauce had an ever so slight burnt taste that was great.

A Baba Napolitan--really good, soaked in some kind of liquor, but not rum.  It was very sweet and rich.

Our delightful waiter brought us each a small glass of limoncello--as if we needed another bite or drop!  But of course we drank it.

It was a short walk back to our apartment, and one last climb up those tortuous stairs.  Thank goodness our apartment in Paris is only up one flight!

It's been a perfectly wonderful time in Rome, and a very special family time for us.  I have sure enjoyed Matt's company--he's a great traveling partner just like his dad!

Stay tuned for our adventures in Paris!


  1. Finally time to read your posts...So much was wonderful! But how can that Matt make me giggle? His facial expressions by the pink car and his look with his knife not wanting to share his meal. You look like your a traveler too Matt and enjoying every minute. To see the Pope and the Vatican...the smile of David and I LOVE how David keeps ordering pizza. It's kind of like me and my BLT's. The gelato...yummy. The ornate buildings and fountains...everything so wonderful. I may lose electric power from this awful storm tomorrow....Keep having fun and be safe...

    1. Be safe, Dear Bren. We will be thinking about you. If you have power please let us know that you are OK.

  2. Ending wth Limoncello - in a way I am joining you. This was a gift for me for house-sitting in Orofino, so I, too, was sipping Limoncello last night.... Seeing the Pope must have felt really special. How many Americans can say that? You all look like you are having a wonderful time. The pictures have been great - what a beautiful church you had in your own "back yard." Even if you aren't religious . . . the art work surely feels like a religious experience. Brenda - I hope that you stay safe. This storm is looking pretty nasty today from all the news coverage that I can see. Di - I hope this doesn't mess up Matt's return trip. Most all the Eastern airports are shut down right now so this will be a real mess. Take a picture for me of the well-known cafe in Paris if you go there again.... (I'm thinking theftery - cup, spoon, menu..... ;) Sure miss you guys and know you will have a wonderful, wonderful visit in Paris..... Stay safe. Brenda - you too.

  3. Love the picture of the guys by the tiny pink car. As always, your pictures are wonderful. I have to agree, I think David broke the rules to have a beer instead of gelato. Your dinners and dessert looked very tasty, even the pizza.