Friday, April 3

Rome - Day 2

Saturday had us up early as we began the day with the Monuments Tour. If you go to Rome, this tour could definitely be skipped and done on your own with a good map and downloadable audio guides! It did take us back to Trevi Fountain and Pantheon from the day before so we got some nice shots. McKay couldn't be torn from these free flowing fountains on the steps facing Trevi Fountain.

Ryan and I both found the Pantheon to be one of our favorites in Rome, built in 126 AD! It is amazing!

When we got on the tour bus that morning, there was another young family with a 7 month old baby girl and they also had a 3 yr old son. This family had met up in Rome with the guy's parents, brother and sister-in-law for a little family reunion. The young family currently lives in India where he's an Intel processor distributor and they're also doing mission work. They were such a nice group and it helped tone down my irritation for our lame tour. Our guide was also translating for a German family and Spanish family so not only was I not really awed by a few of the monuments on the tour , but she gave such limited information that I needed distraction. Here's the impressive Vatican complex with St Peter's Bascillica at the end of our Monuments tour. Keeping tabs on McKay chasing birds as we waited half an hour in line just about put me over the edge! I sure am glad we chose to make this trip right before the real tourist season begins!

Easton would often pass time by playing with Morgan. She gets such a kick out of him!
Michelangelo's Pieta

Once we parted from this tour, we had to grab lunch before our Vatican - Sistine Chapel tour. Not a stellar meal, but nice to sit and have down time before the big one. I really had to wonder how the boys were going to do for two hours in a museum and on to Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. Turns out they did pretty darn good! During the long initial spiel the guide gave, all three kids did go a bit crazy, but once the walking began there seemed to be enough movement going from room to room that they were easily pacified. In fact, many of the rooms had these tall box stands that explained each wall's frescoes, tapestries, or other art and the boys thought this was their own designated cubby seat. Worked great for me! So much to see, so little time! The tapestries of the Slaughter of Innocents by Raphael's school really unnerved me and it still bothers me that such phenomenal talent, time and effort went toward portraying such horror. The artistry was so good that after looking at the second tapestry I was so horrified by the scenes, I couldn't handle looking at was at least 20 more down the corridor. As a mother carrying my little girl, I just couldn't bear the sight.

The Sistine Chapel did not disappoint. Wish I'd brought binoculars. Wish I could have had a whole day at least to just sit there and look it over. Incredible!!!

After the tour was done we feared impending rain and had to get back to the hotel to pick up our bag, eat, and be back on the train to Florence at 7:30. We passed time sadly at a McDonalds across from the train station but we were happy with all we'd taken in. The train ride was actually one of my favorite memories. We got to sit together facing each other with a table in between us. Ryan had the boys completely entertained as he taught them how to play Rock Paper Scissors, thumb wars, and his coin tricks from the mission. Man, I love this man! When Ryan busted out his coin trick and asked where the missing coin was, Easton screamed "In McKay's ear!" while enthusiastically checking his own. The coin was actually still hidden in Ryan's hand, but the boys were convinced it was going to fall out of one of their ears the entire time. At one point, Easton even asked how he could make money come out of his ear now that he knows what money is good for. There was a cute old Italian man across the way quietly finding great joy in watching our spectacle of a show. I enjoyed watching him watching us almost as much as I loved seeing and hearing my boys having the greatest time with their dad. It was one of those times I realized how much modern conveniences like the portable dvd player rob us of making memories with our kids.

We got back to Florence and decided to hoof it back to our apartment in the sporatic drizzle, wishing we'd brought our map to take us in a more direct route than our memories provided. Easton has become quite the asker of all questions and this long walk home had him fixated on the characters and superpowers of Disney's Incredibles. We sure were glad to be back in our apartment assured of rain the entire next day limiting our ventures out. I did laundry, read, began my write-ups of our adventures and just enjoyed a day in with the family. We got out for dinner and enjoyed the quiet night lights of the city - what an intoxicating place Florence is!