Every now and then we tell the kids "Merry Christmas" or "HappyHanukkah" as this is definitely a gift that keeps giving to these kids and we need them to remember how spoiled they are once December 25 comes and there is little to unwrap but great memories.
We started our day after breakfast grabbing the metro again...big oops that Natalie and I boarded a train without the guys!!!! They were right behind us but didn't make it in before the doors closed. We had NO euros but thankfully our phones as I knew what stop to get off at. It all worked out but it felt like a movie. Our lunch place was a bust as by time we found it - it wasn't opened...who'd think that a place wouldn't open til 12:30 for lunch??? So we went to Old Bridge Gelateria for a quick snack before our 1pm appointment time. Kids love straticellia gelato ...it's like chocolate chip. The place was ok- not as great as books say- and right outside the Vatican wall. The street vendors surrounding the Varican were obnoxious today. We had online tickets (best thing ever...thanks mom!) but the vendors still try to scare you about the wait time and how awesome their personal tours are and by the way you need this ugly scarf or 'selfie' Bluetooth stick so you can use it to take pics of your party. I was getting mean with my 'no' which made kids laugh.
What can I say about Vatican museum... so much talent in one building! The map frescoes and gallery of tapestries are a great appetizer and then you see paintings by Raphael, Salvatore Dali, Matisse, Chagall...heard of these guys??? Then after much anticipation of winding through room after room the Sistine Chapel. Bigger than I remembered and still packed with people even in the off season. We quickly retreated from the tour groups and found a bench to take it all in. Normally kids are wanting to rush through this but ours were old enough to really enjoy it. After, we were ready for a lunch break so we looked up a place calked Al Musei (via Santamaura 5/5a)....one of our best meals...we all shared pizza, spaghetti carbonara, lasagna and Jacob's 'scallopini' he ordered expecting scallops. We all sampled tiramisu for dessert and some complimentary clementines. Recharged we were ready for St. Peter's Cathedral. The line slightly weaving in the piazza looked worse than it really was. Entrance to the basilica is free but they do scan your belongings on the way in. We chatted with folks in line and read up on the history in the guidebooks while we waited the 30-45 minutes. It's worth the wait! As you walk through these places you wonder how every nook and cranny or sculpture or painting was completed way back when. Michaelangelo's pieta was carved when he was 25! We opted to go into one area which was closed off for prayer only. So peaceful with just a small crowd and several nuns. Emotions were heightened as Jason, the kids and I all prayed for our family's health...particularly for both our moms. My mom has always wanted to visit Rome. I have to say that this city isn't for the elderly or unfit...cobblestone streets, skinny sidewalks, tons of stairs and walking...so mom is here with me in spirit.
Our hop on hop off pass was good for two days so we opted to trek across town on it with our next destination being Piazza Spagna (Spanish steps). I think about my PSU buddies Erin and Michelle throughout this trip. Spanish steps was one of these spots where it felt like I was there with them a short time ago. But this time we started at the top of the steps and it was evening so the view was lit. Lots of lingering folks or PDA couples.
We had some drinks nearby at 'Do bar-Do ris' on Via fellow Carozze. Natalie and Jacob hated their hot chocolate which was like Hershey syrup heated up but we all enjoyed the free wifi break.
The internet allowed us to scout out on Tripadvisor a good $$ dinner spot. We ended up picking a great one called Il Girasole (Via del Boschetto 28) even if the walk was longer than we thought. My dish we decided was the best...ravioli with spinach and ricotta in a white truffle sauce. Love is sharing a dish that you just want to face dive in. And somehow Jason chipped a tooth at dinner...wasn't even eating anything hard! After, we metroed home - our first metro at night. Felt safe but decided the cab right to our hotel would have been worth the extra 6 or 7 euros.
More pics later...I don't have many on my phone from earlier today in Vatican or at Peters....no one awake to share ones they took on theirs!