I apologize for the lengthy delay in my postings. Expensive internet cafes and lack of time have prevented me from keeping the blog current. So sorry!!! But now that I have a few moments to write, I will describe my adventures in Italy…
Venice: After a 24 hour travel from Prague to Venice (yes it was 24 hours) via train ride, Christie and I arrived to Venice at 11:00pm. We were thrilled to find a delightful hostel with a private room, walls painted with a red wash, elaborate decorations, and even a white curtain around our bed. The icing on the cake was our greeting from the handsome Italian receptionist with great wavy long hair, green eyes, olive skin, and of course a smile that both Christie and I noticed. It was wonderful! We woke up to a fantastic little breakfast in a cute and bright cafe attached to our hotel. Aaaah so wonderful! After breakfast we took a bus to the heart of Venice, and proceeded to take a waterbus on the Grand Canal. We explored the streets (uh canals?) of Venice and were in awe of the picturesque facades that adorned Venice neighborhoods. Nearly each window was decorated with flowers and yes, even clothes hanging on a clothesline. Everything that you imagine Venice to be, it was. We saw the sights (St. Marco’s Basilica, Galleria Academia, etc) and wandered through the streets. Walking around was our favorite part because each corner led to a new glimpse into a city that is truly unique. Per my mom’s recommendation from the Food Chanel, Christie and I went to Harry’s bar to enjoy their famous Ballini (a 15 Euro peach cocktail)… and it was worth every Euro. The drink was incredible and we laughed at the fact that we started drinking at 5:15 pm. We tried to make it last a long time, but it’s one of those drinks that you drink fast because it is sooooo good! Anyhow, we wandered around a while longer and enjoyed a simple Italian dinner of cannolini and dessert. Though we really wanted to take a Gondola ride at night, it was quite expensive and we decided to forgo it. Maybe next time… And that was Venice in a nutshell. Beautiful, unique, picturesque, and breathtaking….
Rome: On our way to Rome, Teddy and I tried to educate ourselves on the history of Rome and started opening up our Bibles to discover that Paul had written numerous letters in the New Testament from his prison cell in Rome. Galations, Ephesians, Philippians, the Timothys, Titus, Philemon (?), Colossians, and maybe more that I can’t remember. Needless to say, we were stoked to see such a historical place. We arrived with the heaviest luggage in the world, and after walking around for 20 minutes we found our hostel, and were told to go to another hostel, and then finally to the Madonna Hostel… the first and only all-girls hostel in Rome and possible Europe. We were the first to stay there because it was brand new, and it was beautiful! Even though our plans were messed up, God really blessed it and revealed to us just how much His hand had been guiding our every step. The delays, mess-ups, and confusion have all been to His glory and have all blessed us in some way. I think Christie elaborates on this more, so you might want to check her blog. She’s a diligent one :). We got to meet up with our friend Hilary (and my roommate next year!) in Rome and stay with her for a few days. It was so much fun to hang out with her, listen to her talk about her travels in Cambridge, and fellowship with a good friend from home. She’s pretty great ;).
The first night Christie, Hilary, a girl from Montreal named Chantel, and I walked around Rome at night and saw many of the famous sights including the Colosseum (wow), the Pantheon, several fountains (including Trevi Fountain), the WWI monument, and so much more. We had pizza and gilatto for dinner and had a blast exploring the city. The next day we hit Vatican city in the morning and saw the place where Peter was crucified upside down and Paul was beheaded. Such history! St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistene Chapel were incredible. A lot of walking for sure, but worth it. I almost missed the famous painting of David touching the finger of God, but luckily my partner in crime (Teddy) pointed it out to me… and I secretly snapped a picture before they caught me. After Vatican City, we went to lunch and seperated for a few hours. I walked around, saw some ruins, ate Watermelon off the streets, had some gilatto, and then met the girls at the Colosseum at 4:00pm. We explored the Colosseum. WOW. Absolutely incredible. The structure is magnificent, and to know the history is incredible. I really want to watch Gladiator again… you could almost sense the atmosphere and the tension of the animals in their cages and the gladiators walking around underneath the main floor. The crowds would have been vast and noisy, and the arena about the size of a football field. It was sombering and delightful at the same time. After visiting the Colosseum, Hil, Christie, and I went to dinner and had some more Italian food. The night life was hopping and we partook on a very moderate level and discovered that Italian men are very forward… ugh. On to the next day. Hil and I went shopping, got stuck in a rain storm, laughed a lot and talked over lunch, gilatto, and some more shopping. We met up with Christie and then after some more walking, I desperately needed a nap. I took a three hour nap and finally decided to do it. I treated myself to an all out Italian meal complete with bread, bruschetta, broccoli and pesto pasta, and Tiramasu. It was divine. I was treated like royalty and truly enjoyed every moment of the experience. After dinner I walked around and then went to bed. This morning I woke up at a decent hour and Christie and I went to the ancient city to visit the Mamertine Prison where Paul and Peter were imprisoned. It was sombering and probably my favorite part of Rome. Christie and I talked for hours afterwards about what it must have been like to be in chains, in a dark and cold cell, and to write much of the New Testament. Incredible. I must hurry because time is running out, but I will say that Christie and I had a great last day in Rome. We were treated to a free meal complimentary of Christie’s boyfriend’s great family and now I am going to pack. I have much to say but no time to say it. Stay tuned for final thoughts before I go to Colorado with the fam. Much love to all!