Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Travel Day: Rome to Paris

Monday, October 16, 2017:

It was time for us to say arrivederci to our Roman Holiday and head on to the final week of our journey in wondrous Paris.

The day started on a good note from Las Vegas . . .

Kevin lost his first tooth!

I hope that the Nevada chapter of the Tooth Fairies Union was more than a bit generous with him last night.

We did not need to leave for the airport until little after noon so we opted to roam the streets near our AirBnB apartment to catch up on what the locals were up to.

 Nice Barber Shop Sign

 Is that Mike getting a shave?

 One of many Roman cafes we passed

I like red machinery
as it turns out

 We were strong and passed

Our travels led us into an indoor marketplace.

For sale we found lots of produce . . .

. . . and cheeses . . .

. . . and meats . . .

. . . and zucchini flowers . . .

. . . and even a pigs head!

As for me, I was happy buying
a small wedge of parmesan
cheese from this great daughter-
father run shop

It was INDEED a beautiful
day for a walk in Rome

Is she staring at us?

Our time was up so we boarded our taxi for the ride to the airport.

 We missed out on one of these
loungers while waiting for
our easyJet flight

We scored exit row seats!

The two hour flight to Paris was thankfully as smooth as could be.

Welcome Orly Airport

And welcome to Paris
as well ladies

We were picked up at Orly by the Johnsons who wanted to stop at the newly opened Paris Costco to stock up on needed supplies for our latest AirBnB and our traveling group that had now swelled to an even dozen.

Susie thought that a set of
new wineglasses was in order

Finally she realized that they
might be a bit too cumbersome

 Laurie in our new bedroom

We did not unpack as we were off to dinner at a fine little bistro just a block away from our digs, the Chez Mamy.

Part of the Chez Mamy menu

Laurie's sweet duck on the left,
my tartare front and center

They were both incredibly good as was the wine!

Two happy diners

Our traveling troop of twelve
thoroughly enjoyed our two+
hour Parisian dining experience 

The sight seeing begins in earnest tomorrow!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Shocking Score, a Papal Mass, Visits to St. Peter's Basilica and the Colosseum and, Finally, Dinner with Good Friends

Sunday, October 15, 2017:

Wow! What a busy last full day in Roma!

Unfortunately, an otherwise glorious day began with sadness.

The Huskies lost

After getting over the initial shock, we all regrouped and headed down the street to St. Peter's Basilica so that Sandy and Loren could both get there first peek at the world's largest church.

We hurried along so as to be in time to go through the Vatican Security system before the start of the 10:30 a.m. Mass began.  

Wait, what was this?

We made it on time but because eight new saints were being canonized today, the 10:30 a.m. Mass was being held al fresco in St. Peter's Square not in the Basilica.

As a matter of fact, St. Peter's Basilica would not open until after the Mass ended in the Square.

On a scorching October morning the fact that it was also to be a Solemn High Mass for our new saints did not bode well.

On the plus side Pope Francis was saying the Mass so we were all a little giddy as this most non-Trump of world leaders was in our presence.

The 10:30 a.m. Solemn High Mass did not end until 12:15 p.m.

While the crowd, when we arrived, was large but manageable, by the time that Mass was over St Peter's Square was PACKED!

My mind and cellphone camera
wandered a bit during this long Mass

Still strong after all of these years

Who are all of these saints?

Crowd Control
courtesy of the Swiss Guards

Loren and I found a shady spot
to worship from afar

The columns fascinated me

After the Mass, Pope Francis hopped
on a large, Segway type scooter
to high five the assembled multitudes

Finally, with Pope Francis safely in his Vatican apartment, the doors of St. Peter's Basilica were opened to the public at 1:00 p.m.

The Entry Portico ceiling beckoned

St. Peter's Basilica was consecrated on November 18, 1626.

But this photo-op beckoned more with
St. Peter's Square in the background 

Immediately Sandy was in awe
of her first sighting of . . .

. . . Michelangelo's Pieta


We said our final goodbyes to Sandy
in the main hallway fully knowing
that at any second she would 
indeed blissfully ascend into Heaven

Those are two BIG angels

Bernini's Main Altar

Bernini's Canopy is over the
Main Altar while St. Peter's
tomb lies below it

Pope Gregory XIII

Marvelous Marble Floor

Air vent for the basement of
St. Peter's Basilica

Pope Pius VII

Jesus Christ
and friends

Another Mass in progress
it was both shorter and cooler
than the one we attended outdoors

On the other hand, it was not Pope Francis leading the faithful.

Can't get enough of
Bernini's Canopy

Swiss Guards on duty

St. Peter and the
Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven

The façade of St. Peter's Basilica

Our final photo op on
St. Peter's Square

We sat on a nearby sidewalk to share sandwiches and beverages while debriefing each other on the wonders of our visit to St. Peter's Basilica and Square.

There was a lot to consider.

And then we taxied . . . 

To Rome's iconic Colosseum

An amazing structure
built between 70 and 80 A.D.

The Arch of Constantine

The view through the
Arch of Constantine

The Roman Forum
in the distance

With the Arch of Titus
as a backdrop

And then we taxied . . .

We were all a tad haggard by this point and opted to head back to our AirBnB apartment to rest up before dinner.

And then we taxied . . . 

We were off for some Roman Cuisine
with more American Football friends
both old and new

We have been fortunate to meet so many wonderful people over the past decade while getting involved in EuroBall coaching.

Tonight we would be joined for dinner with one of Europe's very best coaches, Bart Iaccarino, his wife Chiara, their son Bart, Bart's assistant coach Mattias Giovagnoli and his friend Carlotta Vallecoccia who is a sommelier.

Her choice of red wine with dinner was amazing! 

The two Barts

Talk about a cute baby!

This is what a GREAT Roman
Cuisine dinner looks like

Team Photo at Ristorante Pecorino

What a great way to end our last full day in Roma with good friends both old and new, amazing food and drink and, of course, some American football talk!

And then we taxied . . . 

The Adventure continues tomorrow as we fly to Paris in the afternoon to rejoin Mark and Susie Johnson and a few other couples.

Stay tuned . . .