It had been six months since we left home, so to say I was excited to see my mom and in Rome of all places, was an understatement. I arrived to the airport an hour before she landed just to make sure I was outside of the baggage claim gate ready to scoop her up. After big hugs we were on our way to meet Katie who was holding down the fort at our awesome Airbnb in the Trastevere neighborhood (great neighborhood to stay in btw). We spent the afternoon catching up, eating the delicious homemade cookie bar she brought (my favorite dessert!), and checking out nearby sites. There was a lot of ground to cover in her two weeks with us (Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, Venice and Munich) so we had to make sure she got rest on day one from her long flight.
My mom knew how much we cover by foot when we sightsee and she jumped right in and owned the day. Her first full day we walked more than nine miles throughout Rome and checked out the most famous sites including the Colosseum, the Pantheon, Roman Forum, Spanish Steps, Piazza Venezia, Palatine Hill, Altare della Patria and more (all pics below). Not sure how we got it all in without heat stroke, but we made it.
The next day we attempted to tackle the other big three i.e the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. We woke up early and were at the Basilica before 8am. Upon arriving were greeted by unfortunate news that the Basilica and surrounding square were closed until 1pm, but then learned it was because the Pope having a Jubilee at 10am. So this meant we were there multiple hours early and were able to get fifth row seat for it! Cue to us excited. While waiting in the heat wasn’t ideal, it was pretty amazing to see the Pope up close and also have him bless the crowd and tell us we could walk through the holy door to remove all our sins (winning!). For those of you who want to attend one in the future, be warned they are pretty drawn out. Everything the Pope reads needs to then be read in seven or eight languages by a cardinal so to get through each paragraph of content takes about 15 minutes. Just saying.
Post Jubilee we made our way over to the Vatican museums and spent hours inside viewing all the amazing history it holds and standing in awe at the Sistine Chapel. I’ll be honest though, I can only take so much at once. After two hours of listening to an audio guide, I just couldn’t absorb any more. I need mental breaks where I can go play with puppies or something as anything more than a couple hours, I’m toast (Katie accurately compares me to small child). After waiting through a rainstorm that began while we were inside, we made our way back to our Aibnb and got a tasty, quick bite along the way at Likeeat.
Our last day in Rome we went back and spent a few hours in St. Peter’s Basilica since the Jubilee day we didn’t actually get to go inside. If you haven’t been, you need to see it. The architecture and artwork are mind-blowing. It really deserves the accolades it receives. The only crappy part was waiting outside in the ninety degree heat to get in. Everyone was crammed into tightly packed lines trying to get through security which resulted in all sorts of rude arguments between people who were going to a holy place. Ironic, huh?
Now on to Florence!