Sunday, October 4, 2009


Bridget has finally used her first European word, on our last day in Europe.  Scussi means excuse me...however she thought people were calling her a bad name the whole time.  But now, she uses it all the time.  Along with her other made up words.

Girls loved the Vatican yesterday...and we almost saw more of Rome, however there was multiple protests around the city about the metro, the subway, the trams, and the buses were all out of commission.  Needless to say we followed an English nun named Joanne, and we had to walk about five miles to the nearest place where luckily a subway was running its last trip - back to our neighborhood.

This morning...mass was going on and the Pope was doing it inside the Vatican.  We were outside the Vatican in St. Peters we were still able to see the Pope on the one of the two huge tele-prompters.

After that, we went to the market, where I couldn't help but purchase a couple of pairs of shoes.  We then walked to Piazza Venezzia where we continued to check out the Forum and the Colosseum.  We ended our day site-seeing with some good ol' cups of gelato...NUM!

We are just waiting for my sister to finish getting ready and we are heading to a restaurant that will over-look the city of Rome.  So exciting!

We are tired, we are spent...and we have one last sleep in Rome before venturing back to the states.  I definitely will need a vacation after this vacation!!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

No Place Like Rome!!

We finally made it to Rome yesterday!  Woot!!  We are staying in the center of the city and I couldn't be happier with our hotel location in the center of Rome near the Spanish Steps.  Last night, we met up with my sister for dinner and wine.  At the end of dinner, the server gave us each a small glass of Limoncello, an Italian liquor.  We all cheersed and slugged it down like a shot.  The server bursted out laughing and said "OH NO NO NO NO!!!!  Dis is NOT TEQUILA!"  This is to be enjoyed like dessert.  You are supposed to sip it.  So....the happy server he was...he swung by with another round.  Not that after the couple bottles of wine and one "shot" - did we need anymore.  Especially considering Limoncello is 50% alcohol!  ZEEKS!!

Oh well...better luck next time.

We saw the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain, Piazza Venezzia, and the Vatican at night last night.  Today, Bridget and Patti are visiting the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel.  Since I have already seen it, I am cruising the streets with my sister.  We are going to go to my sister's school and apartment and maybe do some shopping.  Tomorrow we hope to make it to Mass with the Pope - its all set up in the Saint Peter's hopefully we make it there!  Then the Colosseum and the Forum!

The best advice I got in Europe surprisingly came out of Bridget's mouth.  "Just look like a seems to be working."  That advice goes far in Rome, when everyone is hassling us to do a tour, or for money, or while we shop...we just pretend we don't know what they say.  Until Sno...butts in and says "NO!!  GO AWAY!!!"

Ciao for now!

Missing Trains + Cinque Terre = typical.

It wouldn't be a trip to Cinque Terre if we didn't miss a train.  Four years ago when Amy and I tried to go to Cinque Terre....we hopped on the wrong train and went to a town that was near the border of France.

So from Zurich, we had to take two trains to La Spezia, where we would take our final train into Riomaggiore, one of the five villages.  Our train from Zurich was supposed to arrive at 11:50 in Milan and our connecting train to Genova was supposed to leave at 12:10.  The Swiss brag about how their trains are ALWAYS on time...well, the Titanic wasn't supposed to sink.  So with our luck...our train arrives at 12:10.  As Patti, Bridget and I jump off the train with our luggage...we see our train taking off.  Ahhhhh!!

We had to buy new tickets on TrenItalia to head to Cinque Terre which luckily we made it there eventually!

WOW...Cinque Terre was all it was cracked up to be and more.  Besides their really crappy, inconsistent, confusing trains...the hike was A-Mazing!!  We started hiking the 7 hour hike at about 4:30pm...when most people were finishing.  A lot of steep drop offs, some with rails and some scarily without!  Some smooth terrain...mostly rough...and even some walking on paths in heavily wooded areas where you never knew when a stray cat would creep out.

There are three villages: Riomaggiore (where we stayed) is the first on the trail, then Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza, and Monterosso.  Being that Bridget forgot her watch, we didn't know what time it when we got to Corniglia (the third village) we looked at the sun.  We thought we probably had enough time to get to Vernazza...after we start walking...I look at the map and realize this is the longest trek between any of the cities...I start to be slightly concerned about how soon it would be pitch dark.   There are no lights on the path...and in many need to watch where you are stepping to either not sprain your ankle and trip, or strictly not to fall down the very steep cliff.  We finally see a sign that says Vernazza and Patti and I begin to cheer!!  That walk was so tough and we were thirsty and sweating like beasts.  We see a sign that says bar and says ice cold water, beer, wine, snacks!   So we get excited and go around the corner...only to see an abandoned shack.  And NO city.  We still had quite a ways to go.  No one else is on the trail but us...the sun is going we start bookin' it.  We finally reached the top of the city!!  And as we start walking down into the city (because the city goes way up into the hills) is FULLY dark!  Ahhhh...just barely made it.
We then went to a seaside restaurant and had a fabulous well deserved meal of pesto pastas (which Vernazza is known for their pesto), cheese, bread, caprese, and none-the-less a bottle of Lambrusco!

The next day Bridget and I planned to take the train to the final city, Monterosso, and hike to Vernazza...and then take the train back.  We go and buy our passes for the hike and train at 8am....only to find out the train doesn't come until 10:15!!  Even though the train schedule said different.  Since we had to check out of our hotel at just made sense not to go.  Boo!  Oh well, we had breakfast and shopped and then off to Rome!!