Italy has completely ruined me. I will forever spend the rest of my life pining to be there. We spent most of January exploring, basking, and gawking amid the ruins, art, vistas, ambience, and majesty of one of the oldest civilizations. It was glorious. Paco super-sized our trip in his characteristic maximizer style. We purchased a one country Eurail pass, stayed in modest digs, ate out of grocery stores, and came in just under an all-inclusive $2,000 a person (minus modest souvenirs) which is phenomenol. Lest you think it was skimpy in any way--I will hasten to assure you that it was nearly perfect. Who knew that January held such intrigue?? If you're willing to put on a hat, coat, and scarf you can skip the lines, cash in on the bargains, avoid the heat, and see and taste it ALL minus the exuberant crowds of summer!
We began at the Colosseum.
A couple of our more astute BYU China Teachers recognized Italy's potential and joined us! This is an old BYU roommate of mine, Kayleen. She was a most congenial traveling companion, and if you gave her some time to drool at jewelry she was perfectly content. Had we given her free reins to set the pace, we would have been running daily marathons!! That is her thing! Is that red hair behind her or am I seeing things?????
I'll let most of my pictures speak for themselves.
"The Lady or the Tiger?"
Roman ruins are vast and mysterious. We wandered through the Forum. I personally had to resist the primal urge to don a toga and orate.
Ye olde massive ornate monument originally erected to Victor Emmanuel, first king of Italy in 1861. Now it houses a tomb to the unknown soldier as well.
That horse left of the flag is so immense that a "banquet" was held in its belly! (probably a small group, but I bet the food was smashing.)
Santa Maria Magiore Church. This is actually touted as part of the original manger of Jesus Christ. You can see the wood in the middle of the edifice.
Jerry and Meghan interrupt their revery for a photo. Meghan has a bit of a "checkered past" which caught up with her in Rome in the way of a trip in a carabineri car to their headquarters. Wait for that! The cathedrals of Italy are the world's grandest. The art and sculpture were truly breath-taking over and over and over and over...