London, Rome, & Heart of Europe


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April 21st 2019
Published: April 21st 2019
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Today was a different kind of day. Shealyn says it was by far her favorite morning. We didn't set an alarm and didn't rush out anywhere. We took our time and leisure getting ready for the day. It was about 10:00 when we ventured out. Shealyn is quite a shopper and she had seen several shops she wanted to visit. We decided it was too late for breakfast and several of the lunch places we wanted to try didn't open until 11:30 or 12:00. Today was very busy with everyone trying to get to the Vatican to see the Pope. We decided it was enough to be nearby and we wouldn't fight the crowds.

We ate our lunch and it was delicious! Marsha had a great Greek salad so once I saw hers I ordered one. Shealyn ordered a deep fried pastry filled with various cheeses so I ordered one of those also. Both were delicious. While we were looking at the pizzas we met a young man from Maryland He is the second group we have met from Maryland. We also met a couple from Cincinnati Oh. This young man from Maryland was traveling around Europe alone. He'd already been her about 2 weeks and was really enjoying his travels. He gave us some tips of great restaurants he had visited in Rome. One was a steakhouse where he had the "best steak he had ever eaten!" So we are going to find it tomorrow.

After our lunch we headed to the Vatican to find a hop on hop off bus to get us around to the various sites. Shealyn particularly wanted to tour the Colosseum as that was at the top of her list. We walked around the Vatican, took pictures and bought souvenirs. My favorite was a copy of the Papal cross of Pope Francis. I didn't know the story behind it but women in a jewelry story shared it with me. It is based on the story in Luke 15: 4-7, the parable of the Good Shepherd. In the center is the figure of a man who represents Jesus. He has found the one lost sheep and is carrying it around his neck while the other 99 follow. At the top of the cross there is a dove representing the Holy Spirit who descends from God the Father to God the Son, helping those who are lost and in darkness and ringing them new life. I loved that story and loved that I bought one of those crosses. It is very simple but beautiful.

Once we were done shopping we found our tour bus and headed to the Colosseum. There were many, many people there so we decided to do a guided, skip the line tour which included Plaetine HiIl. Our ticket also included entry to the area where the gladiators entered the Colosseum. Typical entry tickets do not include this area on their tour so we were excited to get to see that area. I think the most amazing thing about the Colosseum is the fact that it was built without the use of any modern day machinery or tools. When you are there you realize just how big it is and what a feat building it must have been..

There are 80 entrance arches at the Colosseum that were all numbered. Tickets for spectators were free and they carried two numbers. One was the number of the arch and the other was the number of their seat. This method allowed 50,000 people to be seated in a matter of minutes. The Colosseum was a place used for entertaining however it was also where many Christians were killed. A cross has been erected there to commemorate those Christians that were killed.

Once our tour was finished we went Palatine Hill. It is right across from the Colosseum, but there was a lot of climbing involved. Rome had its origins on Palatine. There have been several excavations there and there is one going on currently. They weren't digging today as I imagine it was for Easter Holiday. It was the place where many affluent Romans built their homes. While we were there we realized that our hop on hop off bus only ran until 6:00pm It was 6:15 an we went on a dead run to get to the bus stop, hoping and praying all the way that our bus company would show up. There were several other buses present but not our. We were certainly thrilled when we saw our yellow bus start down the hill. It was a short ride back to our part of town. We were happy because we were all hungry.

Shealyn had already stacked out a place for us to eat tonight. It was such a lovely restaurant. They didn't speak any English but we managed to order. The waiter laughed at me when I asked for butter for my bread. We ordered different items and all tried one another's meal. As has been the case, everything was wonderful. Never fear we saved room for gelato. There was a shop right across the street that we spied last night and made it a point to get back there today. It was my kind of place! It had the cutest ice cream cone furniture and I loved it!

It was a short walk back to our apartment and boy was I glad! The is the most walking we have done and the least amount of sitting. My legs and feet were tired!

We don't have a plan yet for tomorrow. We have two days left here and we move on to our two week guided tour. Time is flying by. We all missed being home for Easter and have enjoyed seeing all the Easter posts on Facebook. Good night all!


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