Monday, August 1, 2011

European Road Trip: Roma

So, back before Scott and I decided to tie the knot, I was planning a trip to Europe.  I had wanted to go ever since my first trip there when I was fifteen and figured, why not?  However, Scott told me that if I waited, we could go after we got married.  So, we struck a deal and I delayed the trip so we could get married, and I am so glad I did.  It was so much fun to share this adventure.  We were pretty much gone for the month of May.  I finished classes, we moved back to St. George and a week later, we were on our plane to Rome.  In fact we didn't even move into our apartment because the previous tenants hadn't moved out.  So we left on our trip with all of our stuff still on a trailer!  Ha thanks to Scott's family for moving it in while we were gone.

So we started planning our trip last October.  We signed up for a tour but it only spent three days in Italy, which was a lot less than I had wanted. So, we decided to go nine days early and spend that time in Italy before we joined with the tour group.   I always tell people, "This was not a vacation, this was an adventure!"  We were going a 100% all the time so we could fit everything in.   We went a lot of places so there will be many blog posts. I hope you enjoy the pictures and the stories as you share in our European Road Trip.

Day 1: Landed in Roma.  Excited yet exhausted. We had left our house in St. George at eight a.m. so we could make our flight from Vegas at eleven.  Flew to Detroit. Flew to Paris. Flew to Rome. Lay over time = 8 hours.  Flying time =14-15 hours.  It was long but so worth it.  We landed about 4pm in Rome and decided to just unpack, shower and then go into the city in the morning.  We decided to eat at the hotel and, well, lets just say this dinner began the first of many meals where we felt totally ripped off.  Scott ordered some ravioli and I ordered some vegetable soup.  I wish I had a picture of Scott's face when he saw his plate of food.  If you know anything about the Hoopes' boys, you know food is no joking matter. The plate literally had about twelve raviolis on it. They were not that big either.  Scott looked at the plate and then looked at me as if he was saying, "If this is how it is the whole time, I am either going to die or I'm going home."  I have never seen him look more sincerely concerned in his life. Ha priceless.

The next morning we had two walking tours.  We started at the Colosseum but couldn't go in at first because the workers were on strike (we found our striking is a very European thing to do and happens frequently).  So we started with the Palentine Hill and then ended up in the Colosseum at the end.  I won't retell all of the absolutely astounding history we learned that day but I will tell you walking through those places gives you such a unique feeling.  At least it did for me because I had wanted to visit these places my whole life.

We stopped at the Colosseum to take some pictures.  Notice that part of the outer wall of the Colosseum is missing.  There was an earthquake and all of the outer part fell off and then was taken by various Pope's to build religious buildings, as was much of the Roman Forum.

Oh the gladiators outside the Colosseum.  This story is truly a tribute to my naivety.  So, I see these guys dressed up like gladiators and I think to myself, "Cool, this is just like Disney Land, you can go take your pictures with these gladiators!"  I begged and begged Scott to come and take a picture with these gladiators.  I figured, hey, we are in ROME!  Lets do it.  So after begging and pleading and begging, I finally got my pictures with the gladiators.

So, we get our pictures with the gladiators and the one taking the picture hands me my camera and says in his Italian accent, "That will be ten Euro" SHUT UP!!!!! Ten Euro for three stinking pictures.  I was NOT about to pay this guy ten Euro's for these dumb pictures.  The worst part was the look on Scott's face which said, I told you so!  So what did I do?  I lied. Thats right. Flat. Out. Lied.  I told them I only had enough change to ride the subway and my credit card.  He kept pressuring me so I turned out my pockets.  Luckily I had hidden my money somewhere else on me.  I told him I would delete the pictures but then he just walked away, disgusted that I wouldn't pay him!  So there you go.  I was Naive but I conned a con man!

p.s. Take a note of the gentleman in picture one just behind Scott. In picture two, he is leaving and picture three he is gone. He knew what these guys were up to.  The gladiators were probably going to charge him too!

Palentine Hill

The inside of the Colosseum.  The floor and seats have completely decayed but interestingly enough, it makes for an even greater spectacle!

The Vatican.
It was breath taking to be here.  The Vatican museums are amazing. The artwork they possess are awe-inspiring. The history behind every piece is so rich.  We were glad we took a guided tour of the Vatican and were able to see all the highlights.  There is no way we could have done the Vatican without the tour.  We saw many works of art that I remember studying in Mr. Wegkamp's class at Dixie High.  It was so neat to see all of it in real life.  We saw where the Pope waves to everyone on sunday morning.  We saw were the smoke comes out when a new Pope is chosen.  St. Peter's is beyond description.  It was amazing to go and experience first hand where so much of our World's History was shaped.

We had our first Roman pizza at this little restaurant.  It was so good we had two!

Sunday, we hunted for the church.  We took the A line all the way to the end.  We got off and knew we were no longer in the tourist part of Rome, mostly because we could't find ourselves on our map!  We were slightly scared and first, and in the end, we don't really know how we found the church, but we did.  We found the church and waited for two hours for people to show up and no one did.  Turns out it was stake conference! Of course!  So we spent the day walking around and seeing all the sights that were free.  We started off with a lunch at the oldest restaurant in the Piazza Navona.  Scott had Spaghetti Bolognese and I had Spaghetti noodles with Garlic, olive oil and red peppers. I can't remember the name but I had it almost every day after that (along with Gellato) and it was delicious!

Trevi Fountain.  Yes we threw the coin in. Yes we made a wish. 

It was the most beautiful day that Sunday and we were so glad we were able to walk around and experience all the amazing sights in Rome.  Its so crazy because you are just walking through the streets and you run into a picture from your history book.  No joke, we stumbled upon the Trevi Fountain! Came around a corner and there is the Pantheon.  Everything was so close and in walking distance.  We walked our hearts our in Rome and loved every second.

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