When in Rome…

The end is near. Rome was our last stop on this wild ex-pat journey we embarked on two years ago. We had 24 hours to live out our final candy land adventure before boarding a plane to our new home in San Francisco. With a jam packed itinerary and eagerness to soak up as much of the city as possible, we loaded up the car and set out from Tuscany to Rome.

All was merry and bright until we couldn’t find the rental car return. For like, an hour. Round and round Rome Termini station we drove… starting to feel a bit hopeless. Even after talking with our hotel concierge, we still couldn’t figure it out. Finally, after guessing that it MUST be this unlabeled parking garage, we were told to circle the block (for the trillionth time) and go up to the top level of parking garage next door. A sign would have been helpful- there was nothing indicating that the seemingly standard parking garage had a rental car return at the top. One last challenge overcome, we hauled ass over to the hotel to try to squeeze in everything that was on our list for the day.

But first, this lady with a baby needed to eat some pizza!
IMG_1730Just in the nick of time, we made it to the Vatican for our 2:30 pm ticket reservations. With a WHOLE lot to see and only a wee bit of time, we walked through taking in what we could, but realizing that you could spend years wandering the place and marveling at its beauty.IMG_1742IMG_9109 0178bb7b8ea13093a025aa20f190496ae68de619b9 IMG_1756IMG_9124 The Vatican was stunning, but also suffocatingly hot! The poor guys were dying as shorts are not permitted if you want to see the Sistine Chapel. So, next on the list was a special gelato shop a colleague highly recommended we visit for tartufo in Piazza Navona. This gelato with a chocolate covered cherry center and chocolate shell was ah-mazing. IMG_9129 0195a3c466dfe182946fcb6ae6e353325e1b78f164On a sugar high, we wandered around the piazza, which in retrospect, was one of my favorite parts of the trip. From the busy street just around the corner, one would never expect such an elegant, picturesque piazza tucked inside the surrounding hustle and bustle. It was warm, sunny and wonderful to simply sit with hundreds of others, appreciating the ancient architecture.IMG_9136Once we felt refreshed and ready, we headed towards the Pantheon where we gawked at the two thousand year old masterpiece. We all struggled to see how the concrete dome could possibly be unreinforced, still standing, and the largest of its kind to ever be built given that it was completed in 126 AD. Impressive is an understatement.IMG_9138 IMG_9140 With just enough time to see the Colosseum, we walked that way stopping for a rest in front of this spectacular sight before finally catching a cab.IMG_9143 Fairly empty in the late afternoon hour, we again marveled one of the world’s most impressive works of architecture and engineering. It is unbelievable that this massive amphitheater was built in only 10 years. IMG_9149 IMG_9157 IMG_9159 IMG_9161 After a whirlwind half day of sightseeing, we relaxed at the hotel before one last dinner.
018a9f134e5c5fef92278d3a90fd0acb0f86ce11f6Matermatuta Ristorante was so enjoyable. Much more creative than the simple Italian (yet spectacular) dishes we’d had the previous few nights in Tuscany, we enjoyed very creative cuisine. Not always entirely sure what we were eating, the beautiful presentation and deliciousness of each dish was enough! It was a such a fun experience and fabulous way to end our trip. IMG_9165 All too soon, the hubs and I found ourselves on a plane to Canada. We had a quick stop before landing back in San Francisco, almost exactly two years to the date of when we’d left. Leaving this crazy, adventurous life behind was bittersweet, but we were over the moon excited to find our first home and welcome the arrival our of baby girl in March!IMG_9176

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