I’ve been at war with myself. For some reason, I have z.e.r.o. motivation to type about our trip. But so many new things keep happening in our life and I want to write about those! But my blog-conscience will not allow me to do so until I’ve cleared the Europe hurdle.So I sit down to write…and nothing. I don’t know how many drafts of posts that have come into existence only to be tossed after feeble attempts at gathering my thoughts
This is months old now, Ashlie! We’ve moved on! We don’t care about the Europe pictures anymore! I know, I know. But I…just…gotta…follow…through.
So here’s what we’re going to do. Forget writing a separate post for each day, over achiever. We’re going to set the bar real low and drop all the photos on you at once. With some captions. Voila.
Rome and Assisi:
Long story short: buy your tickets to the Vatican Museums AHEAD of time otherwise you will wait forever. We opted to rearrange ourschedule, get tix online and go another day. Get there early too, and go straight to the Sistine Chapel before it gets crowded!
Statue of St Michael at Castle Sant’ Angelo. This building stated has an interesting history – from moseleum for emperors to a place of refuge for the Pope when Rome was under seige – it’s worth a visit if you’re in Vatican City!
Dinner at Abruzzi. For some reason these photos and the next several seem very fuzzy.
Alright, here are some unique shots. We got to go back into Vatican City where the Swiss Guard live – they don’t give tours! But our friend Mike knows the Swiss Guard Captain’s son, and he was so generous to take us back and show us around!
Fountain in the courtyard where they gather both for recreation and for formation (if I remember correctly…)
Inside the armory with all the different uniforms
A rare treat: timing had it that we got to see the Pope’s doors open (ONLY the Pope walks through the center doors of St Peter’s) and go into St Peter’s when only security/staff were inside. We had the place to ourselves for about 10 minutes!
Marco, our guide 🙂
Dinner with Mike at Scarpone – so good!
Heading out to Assisi for the day
Inside St Clare’s in front of the Cross of San Damiano.
San Chiara, ie Saint Clare
Making our way toward the Basilica of St Francis
Stopped in another church along the way – not sure which one this was
Josh took like 10 photos of this.
Italian directions are confusing,
Basilica of St Francis – loved seeing the frescoes!
What. A. View.
The garden at San Maria de Angeli. Didn’t spend nearly enough time there as I would have liked, but so glad we stopped in!
The roses without thorns.
The little church that Francis rebuilt when he took God’s call to “rebuild the Church” quite literally. Wasn’t until later that Francis realized the call was much more than the physical repairing of a building. There’s a beautiful frescoe of the Pope at the time dreaming of Francis holding up the Church – quite profound.
Celebrated Pentecost Sunday at the Pantheon. Through the oculous at the top, they drop down thousands of rose petals as the Spirit’s Tongues of Fire at the end of Mass. So beautiful!
Mass was literally standing room only – everyone was right up against one another. I started feeling like I was gonna pass out and could barely find room to sit down where I was standing – nonetheless, such a good experience!
Opted for a touristy lunch right across from the Pantheon.
My tribute to Audrey Hepburn. Gelato on the Spanish Steps, just like in Roman Holiday.
Outside Mary Major – it closed before we got there though! 😦
Outside the Circus Maximus.
The Mouth of Truth – another Roman Holiday spot. It was closed when we got there though. Blame it on the hormones, but I did shed a tear over not being able to put my hand in the mouth.
view across the street from the mouth of truth…while I gathered myself and got over the whole hand in the mouth situation.
Having a “cold” cappuccino inbetween our tours. Happy little clam I am.
Temple of the Vestal Virgins
Wind. Drama. Delirious.
Worst bus ride ever. Up there with my 3 hour Fung Wah bus to NYC on which there was a rooster and I had a nasty cold. And this one was maybe 15 minutes. Body against body – I was basically on a strangers lap. Couldn’t breathe. Welcome to Italian transportation!
Our last night in Rome, Mike came over and cooked us dinner. It was such a blessed evening – prayed a decade in between in course. Clearly we loved the basil, as we were a little heavy handed with it… Arrivederci Roma!
From the dinner at Abruzzi. One cultured pup.
Paris. I have to say…while Rome was beautiful and so rich in history, I absolutely fell in love with France. The way Paris is laid out is so much easier to navigate, so logistically it was a relief opposed to the winding streets of Rome. Cities always have a sketchy area, but overall Paris proved clean and beautiful. I couldn’t get enough of the buildings. The food…we died. Josh said “I feel like I’m tasting food for the first time.” And it’s true! Truly the food there is an art, and not just something to fill the void. The apartment we stayed was a gem. Unlike the Rome apartment, it was EXACTLY the way it appeared on the internet. Plus, it really belonged to a Parisian, not a rental company, so it felt more homey – like we actually lived there. True, the apartment was outside of the city, but the trains there are so easy to use that it was no big deal. (However, there were train strikes while we were there, so that made using the RER line a little interesting. Overall, no major hiccups, though.) We went to the local grocery store, would cook some of our meals at home…it all felt very French. Without further adieu…
We arrived in Paris! Our apartment was perfect – just south of the city in Ivry Sur Seine. Here you can see it was laundry day ha
First full day in Paris, we went to the Louvre. I have to say, I think it was one of the best days ever. Just the perfect pace, perfect company.
Walking around the marble work, we guessed titles and what the statues represented. Josh said, “I know the title to this one: Josh on a Sunday afternoon.”
Napoleon III’s apartments
Want this chair.
Just a little gathering. Nothing special.
Golden Madonna and Child Jesus. I liked how He was touching her face, like a real child.
One bored little mademoiselle
and her French dog, too
Cupid and Psyche
French children in the gardens
An exquisite place to eat and have a cup of tea
Raviolis with truffles and cream sauce. “Rocket Salad” to top it off.
Josh’s salmon with chive mashed potatoes.
Angelina’s signature tea, The Angelina, and a peach pastry
You can just stop in for a pastry, too. Don’t necessarily need to sit down – but it’s worth it!
Spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying the gardens that sprawl out in front of the Louvre.
Taking it all in.
The next day we stayed in and relaxed and continued our laundry, but eventually ventured out to the Arc de Triomphe and the Eiffel.
Just so you know….when you’re going to the bathroom in one of these things…You shouldn’t press any buttons. Because the door will open and everyone walking by will see you try to pull the mechanical door shut while you’re going to the bathroom. YUP.
Eiffel in love with Paris and so did Josh.
Dinner at Cafe Constant – I had the duck – so good.
Josh had steak, which was pretty good, too.
Can’t remember what these are called, but they are basically cream puffs. But instead of having cream in the middle, it’s ice cream. They come out bare, and the waiter pours fresh, melted chocolate all over.
Versailles! Another amazing day.
One cannot believe the immensity of this place.
Gazing out the window from the Hall of Mirrors
In the courtyard
Walking through the bed chambers of the princesses. Each one had a series of 5 rooms. They more interior you get, the fewer people allowed in.
Some construction on the fountain behind us, sadly, but still a pretty view. There are pathways and restaurants in the trees that line the park.
Other direction, with palace in the background
Walking out to the smaller palaces and the Queen’s Hamlet. Seriously, this place is huge.
Visiting the Grand Trianon and the Petite Trianon.
You may have seen this area before – many a Vogue fashion shoots have been done in this location.
The warming room, where they would keep food warm after it was cooked before it was sent up.
My favoritefavoritefavorite part of Versailles – the Queen’s Hamlet. Adorable cottages all around a pond, with little farms and farm animals. I wanted to move in.
We saw pigs, chickens, cows, bunnies, goats and more! They were also crowing various crops in this area, too. So quaint.
A cool tree – the branch was growing down
Wandering aimlessly around the gardens of Marie Antoinette. Getting lost and loving it.
Eventually made our way back and the Trianon was totally empty of other visitors!
One final shot for the day. Exhausted in a wonderful way, we got on the train and headed back to pack up. Had to meet up with the pilgrimage group the next afternoon!
If you are planning a trip to Rome or Paris, and have questions do not hesitate to contact us! We took pretty good notes of how much things cost, where we ate, and tricks that we learned along the way. While I had originally hoped to type all of those things out…that’s out the window now. However, I am happy to share via comments/email if there is interest or questions! Of course, I don’t know the half of it, I’m sure. But I am happy to share whatever insight/knowledge we do have. Planning big trips can be tough!
I’ll save the pilgrimage photos for the next post/slideshow. This housewife has some cleaning and errands to run! Also more to come on our move and settling into PA and my increasing circumference around the middle region.