Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Colosseum Video

video

First Stop: Roma!

Also known as: Tales of the night life on a plane or the joy of ear plugs.

Yes, ladies and gentleman, I love ear plugs. Why? To drown out the sound of the screaming child sitting directly in front of us. Now, I try to be very understanding of families traveling with small children, but this could have been avoided. This little one was definitely a Mama's boy and all they had to do was let her hold him instead of ignoring what was happening a mere 2 seats away and let him scream in the arms of the father. Even the flight crew was giving them looks and up until then, they had been very tolerant. In my humble opinion, child rearing techniques should be amended while traveling with hundreds of other people in close quarters. I think you get the picture. We landed at 8:30 Rome time after flying all night, made a speedy trip through immigration, got our luggage, and within a short time were headed for the hotel. My first impression of Rome was just okay. We were definitely in Italy and seeing the houses, flower boxes, etc was nice, but I can't say I was all that impressed. (extreme exhaustion might have played a factor in this) We enjoyed a welcome drink and intro session with our fabulous tour director at 5:00, although I honestly don't remember much of this thanks to jet lag. I hope the other people are in the same boat because I looked awful!

The next day we were up and at 'em by 8:00 (after waking up at 2:00 and staying awake for hours) and were off for Vatican City. Initially, we had to line up next to a wall and Adam asked me what it was. Little did I know it was the wall to the city. Oops! Thanks to our group status we breezed through the line and security and were soon dazzled by the wonders inside. The art work, tapestries, and sheer history of the place are enough to give anyone goosebumps. I bought a coffee table style book so I could spend more time exploring it's treasures. There's simply too much detail to take it all in. However, it almost proved to be my downfall because I got held up due to the person in front of me having issues with their credit card. It took longer to process my purchase and by the time we finished I had completely lost my group. Mind you, the museum was extremely crowded and I had no idea where they went. Not good! We used a headset system called a Whisper and as soon as I could no longer hear the guide I knew I was in trouble. She was out of sight and out of ear shot. Fortuntely, Mother stayed behind a bit up the road saving me from going in the opposite direction. Whew, crisis averted!

Next up was the Sistine Chapel. My first impression was that it was smaller than I expected, but then the realization about where I am hit me. Especially when I looked up and found myself standing directly underneath the infamous creation masterpiece. That was a real trip! St. Peter's Basilica was the first of my churches I saw and it rates in my top 3. Unless you have been there it's hard to describe the magnificence of the structure. Following this, we spent time in the old quarter and toured the Colosseum! Me in the Colosseum, who would have thought. Naturally, images of the movie Gladiator came to mind as I walked the circumference and then went down to the lower levels where the animals were kept before fighting for their lives. All in all, it was a bit staggering to be in places I have read so much about. Reading about them is one thing, but seeing them in person...wow!

There is so much to say, but I don't want to bore people by going on and on. I'll post some pictures and hopefully a video (if I can get it to work!) for your viewing pleasure.

P.S. It would have been much easier to blog while I was gone, however I decided to boycott all computers and cell phones. I must admit, it was great getting away from it all, but now I have to play catch up...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Traveler Returns

The world traveler has returned and is now battling the most common and unwanted byproduct of traversing time zones: jet lag. Granted, this is not exactly the most fun thing to endure, but all things considered, I would say it is a worthy price to pay. I was downloading my pictures and video at 5:30 this morning and as soon as I get them organized, I'll start posting updates and photo galleries. :-)

I must be more out of it than I thought because in my haste to post I forgot half of what I was going to say. Oops! That's where the blogger 'edit post' feature comes in handy. :-) I loved traveling and seeing new parts of the world, but there is nothing like coming home. And to be honest, I was surprised at the things I looked forward to the most, such as:

  • Milk! I didn't drink any while I was gone because I am rather particular about the kind of milk I drink. (as those who know me can attest) I prefer a specific brand (Alta Dena), 2%, gallon not half gallon carton, etc, etc. Even Starbucks coffee tasted funny with European milk. My first order of business once reaching American soil (after clearing customs with the rudest immigration official I have ever met) was to find the nearest Starbucks and enjoy real coffee. And then today I had a delicious glass of ice cold milk. Hmmm.
  • Free bathrooms. Okay, paying to use the "washroom" is a rather ridiculous system in my humble opinion. Granted, it does help use up accrued euro coins, however, I must prefer the American way. I mean, please, should I really be paying 1.50 euro in Venice?? Come on!
  • Peanut Butter. It was such a lovely thing to enjoy peanut butter on my toast this morning. I don't think I saw any while I was away. (and believe me, we hit plenty of rest stops)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Bon Voyage!


Well, my suitcase is packed, iPod updated and fully charged, books packed, last minute items in a semi-neat pile, and I think I'm ready as I'll ever be. As of 11:30 pm U.S. time I will be landing in Rome, Italy, for the beginning of a 12 day tour of Europe. Our flight departs from John Wayne at 6:45 am and our travels will take us to Rome, Venice, Lucerne, Paris, and London. Right now I am most excited about visiting Venice and Paris. Coffee in a Parisian sidewalk cafe certainly hits the spot...then again, so does shopping at Harrods, touring St. Paul's, admiring the beauty of Venice...


I'll be sure to post pictures and a synopsis of our trip upon my return. I must admit, part of me can't quite believe I'm actually going. Hopefully, it will hit me on the plane. Bon voyage!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hollywood Blvd.

Last Saturday I took Seth to see Phantom of the Opera. We decided to make a day of it and spent time walking along Hollywood Blvd., grabbed a bite to eat, and then saw the show. I thought it would be fun to post some of my photos of the stars.

I pretty much forced him to take this picture with me. Since it was for his birthday,
I said he didn't have a choice!










Sunday, February 1, 2009

Europe


Two weeks from today I will be in Venice, Italy! Am I feeling ready? No!!! I know it's going to be the trip of a lifetime, and I don't want to miss a moment of the many adventures that await. I just hope I can pull my packing together because I can't afford to do it the night before we leave. :-) I always overpack when I throw my suitcase together last minute...