Thursday, December 27, 2012

All Roads Lead to ....where ?

     This was our off year for Thanksgiving. All but one of our kids go to their in-laws. So we decided to have Thanksgiving dinner on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. We were sad that Joey couldn't make it because he had class on Monday. Dinner was delicious. Everyone contributed which made it really easy. Kelsey flew in just in time to join us for dinner. Then Warren and I left on the following Wednesday to go to Italy. We were totally pampered in first class seating the entire way there and back, which was such a treat. When we landed in Rome Thursday morning we hopped on a train that took us to the main train terminal and then we took another  train to Florence. It was very crowded but very clean and super fast. It was so fun to travel through the rolling hills of Tuscany. We took a cab directly to our hotel. It was a Hilton Garden Inn which was very modern and in a nice area. We spent two days in Florence. We used buses to get around which worked out perfectly and was very inexpensive. On the second day we went to see Michelangelo's statue of David. It was something I had always dreamed of seeing. It is truly magnificent perfection in art. If that is all I got to see on this trip then it was worth it. That and his paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Rome are spiritual experiences. We visited the Vatican the last time we were in Italy. We were not allowed to take pictures which was my only regret. We loved walking the streets of Florence and had some amazing gelato there.
     Saturday we took the train back to Rome. We sat with a couple from Turkey. The husband spoke perfect English but the wife didn't' speak any. He had gone to school in the states and was a Coke a Cola  rep. It was really fun to talk to them. We all have the same concerns about our  children and life no matter where we are from or what religion we are. We got to our hotel after dark so our day was pretty much done. We stayed at the Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria which is in a very quiet part of Rome. It sits up on a hill and you can see all of Rome from your balcony. We were in heaven. Thank goodness for Hilton Honors points which Warren earns all year from being out of town so much. I think it cost us $18 to stay there. What a deal. We discovered a local restaurant near the hotel which was so great. They were so nice and made excellent food. It was called Luciano's.
     Sunday we went to church. It was so fun. We attended the same ward the last time we were there. They had head sets for us to wear and the missionaries translated for us. After church we met one of the sister missionary's who was leaving to go home. Her parents were there to pick her up and they were from Mesa. They flew back on the same plane as us. Two of the other missionary's went part way with us to help us find the site for the temple that is being built there. They took pity on us when I told them I needed very detailed directions for us to be able to find it. Once they got us started it was pretty easy. We took two metros and 3 buses to get there. We had to look at it from the roof of a mall that is across the freeway from it. It took us several hours to get there and we spent all of 5 minutes looking at it and taking pictures. Then we hopped back on the bus and started back. We got back so much faster than we did going. We went back to the hotel and hung out until 8pm for our favorite restaurant to open. Italian's eat dinner really late so most nights we ate desert before dinner because we were so starving, either gelato or some great deserts at the hotel lounge.
     Monday we spent exploring Rome. We went to the Pantheon, the Jewish Ghetto and the Trevi Fountain. These were all places that we didn't get to see the last time we were there.  We had a great day and only got lost a couple times.
     Tuesday we flew home. We left Rome at 11:00 am and landed in Phoenix at 9:45pm the same day. It was a total of almost 16 hours flying. By the time we got on the plane in Philadelphia we were so done with flying. The last 5 hours our the hardest part of the trip.
     We had such a great trip but it is always so nice to come home. Sorry for the long travel log but everyday brought us new adventures of which we will never forget.

Loving first class.

Duomo di Firenze

Dates back to 1296. 
I expected the Volturi to come out at any minute.
Not the best picture but a beautiful sunset from an amazing bridge with buildings on it in Florence.
Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria in Rome..
Our beautiful room.
 A room with a view of Rome.
A delicious pool side breakfast every morning. Doesn't he look so happy?
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temple under construction in Rome. 
The Pantheon built around 126 A.D.
The dome inside the Pantheon. They used to sacrifice animals inside this cathedral which is why there is a hole in the top for the smoke to escape. 

I love the cobblestone streets.

The restaurant we ate lunch at in the Jewish ghetto.

This was built around 23 B.C.

The Trevi Fountain. There is a tomb under this fountain where they bury all of the internal organs of all of the dead popes. There bodies are on display in St. Peters Basilica in glass tombs.
 The next morning we flew home. This is our second time to Rome but we still have places there that we didn't get a chance to see. Rome is an amazing city with so much history and things to do. We had such a great time.


  1. What an amazing trip! Can I come next time? I loved all your pictures.

  2. Really I can't wait to go there someday! To think that there is architecture still standing from before Christ's time is just amazing! I love to see you both so genuinely happy in these pictures, love you both!