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Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome July 26th 2019

And back to Italy. First stop Verona where we headed out to the Arena Di Verona, a Roman amphitheatre which is used during the summer months to host Opera. Tonight it was La Traviata a tragic love story ( aren’t they all?) set in France. Starting at 9pm it finished just after midnight! As an open air venue it was brilliant and we had terrific seats which were head on to the stage. The singing and the music were not miked and the acoustics in the arena really worked well. The stage setting was also fantastic and in a similar venue (and to a different opera) I could be persuaded to go again, although I don’t think I will ever be an opera convert. I still prefer a good film or musical with a decent story ... read more
La Traviata
amphitheatre Verona after the Opera
Verona at night

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome July 2nd 2019

(Travelers were Rob, Dina and Laurel) Days 1 and 2 Friday June 14-Saturday June 15 We left the house at 9am and made the 3 hour drive to Atlanta. We encountered some traffic in Atlanta and there was a lot of congestion at the airport, but we got off okay. It was a quick flight to Charlotte where we caught our flight to the Rome airport. The flight was more than 9 hours long, through the night. We did manage to get some rest and it went by fairly quickly. We even had a fairly good dinner on the flight. When we landed in Rome it was already 9:40am on Saturday, Rome time. We were all so excited to be in Italy, that we stayed pretty alert on the easy ride (thank you Welcome Pickups) to ... read more
Rob and Laurel in the Golden Light.
Jewel of the Seas
Our Room

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome June 22nd 2019

Today was our first full day of our tour and our first real test of our stamina. It's an early start day, as they expected us at the bus by 7:30 AM ready to head over to St Peter's Basilica. Breakfast at the hotel opened at 6:30, with a good sized breakfast buffet. The eggs, bacon and pastries were great, the orange juice, not so much, but this isn't Florida. And of course there was lots of coffee. We both slept great last night, jet lag is almost over and we're ready to hit the trail! By 7:30, we were all at the bus and ready to go, before one of the women failed the "Fashion Police" test and was sent back to her room to change clothes. Evidently her knees were visible, and that is ... read more
Swiss Guards
Michelangelo's Pieta
St Peter's Altar

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome June 21st 2019

After completing travel to the lower 48 states by motorcycle, and finishing Alaska and Hawaii by cruise, Jody and I decided it was time to tackle Europe. I have been to a few European countries during my time in the military back around 1975 (England, Germany, Italy, Turkey), and I have been on a short business trip in the early 2000's to Scotland and Germany, but in 1975, I was too young to appreciate anything more about Europe than the local beers, and in the 2000's there wasn't really any time to explore. Jody has never been outside the United States, so it's all new to her. Since we have been on many cruises, we considered cruises to Europe, but dismissed them for the most part as we wanted to actually experience staying in local hotels ... read more
Trump & Kim On The Bus
Hotel Room
Palazzo delle Exposizioni

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome April 23rd 2019

This was an easy day. Probably the most relaxing day we have spent so far. We wanted to walk around and revisit some shops. We wanted to stop at an outside cafe that the waiter had been trying to pull us in for two days. Every time we walked by and shook our heads "no" he said "I'll see you tomorrow"! So today we went there first. We really didn't want a full breakfast but something light and of course a cappuccino. This guy, Simon, was a delight. He remembered us for the previous days and seated us at once. He was very attentive and even took some pictures for us and with us! We have certainly enjoyed the people we have met in the various shops and restaurants. Following breakfast we decided to walk around ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome April 22nd 2019

The goal today was to get to Trevi Fountain, The Spanish Steps, and the Pantheon. We had a great breakfast at McDonald's! Its fun to go to another country and see what fast food restaurants are there and how their menu might differ. I kept telling Shealyn and Marsha that McD's had a great ham and cheese breakfast sandwich when we were here before and it was still on the menu today! It is called a ham and cheese toast! They had all kinds of pastries and various coffee drinks but the most unusual item was a ham and cheese deep fried bite! It was excellent. What we loved was that the McCafe drinks were served in real dishes it you ate there. Once breakfast was over we headed toward the bus stop. Each day we ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome April 21st 2019

Yesterday was a tough day. We had to be at the airport at 7:00 am. Gatwick was an hour taxi ride from our Balmoral House Hotel. Our friend Flavio transportation for us at 5:30 am so we were up at 4:15 getting ready. Shealyn is NOT a morning person, AT ALL! So this was not a favorite morning for her. We were sad to say good bye to our home for 4 days, especially when we could smell the breakfast wafting upstairs and knew what we were missing. Security was easy to get through, though the sparkles on Shealyn's shirt got her pulled aside. It was interesting that Easy Jet is so automated that you put your ticket in a scanner and it printed all your luggage tags which you attached the yourself. Once the important ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome April 21st 2019

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. ... read more
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Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome February 17th 2019

If you are quiet and open-minded, you can sense the souls of those who were here before us. I first felt the energy when I visited the Catacombs. Although actual bodies no longer lay in rest there, the Catacombs are full of those spirits who once resided there. A person does not have to believe in the afterlife to appreciate the underground cemetery. When you see the recesses where the bodies were once housed – especially the ones which kept the infants and children – it will have you re-evaluating your life. People also do not need to believe I could sense the energy emanating from my surroundings – I just know what I felt. As much as I enjoyed the Catacombs, I found the Capuchin Crypts far more intriguing. When our tour guide told us ... read more
Capuchin Crypts

Europe » Italy » Lazio » Rome December 18th 2018

We woke up and got ready and then crossed the street to the café we found last night across from the hotel where we got fresh orange juice and a chocolate croissant. The guy running the café remembered us from last night when we stopped by and asked if he served pastries in the morning. We went back to the hotel and checked out, but we got them to hold our luggage. We then walked the 15 blocks to the metro station and took the metro to the Coliseum. The Roma pass we bought in the states and picked up yesterday allowed us to get on the metro free, but we couldn’t figure out how to use it. We showed it to a guard and he smiled and opened the entrance for us. Ok, so that ... read more
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