Veni Vidi Vici – Rome, 2015

Who would have known a series of unfortunate events would have lead to the wildest adventure of my life. I’m officially back in the States after an unexpected 9 day tour of Europe, ready to pin Rome, Pompeii, Positano, and Paris on the map. I promise to make this short and sweet as, my Facebook followers have likely seen 300+ photos already!

Italy definitely won my heart. We spent the majority of our time in Rome. I promise I’ll do another post for Paris, but Rome – Rome was perfect in every way. Definitely my new European home away from home.

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Eats:
I made a point to try all the flavors of the area, including my first glass of wine (ever) which was a local red, choked down in a little seaside town called Positano. Lunch on the Mediterranean was definitely a dream come true. Maybe by next trip, I will have aquired a taste for the stuff. Otherwise, Mr. S and I ate all the things! Pizza, Salami, Spaghetti, more Spaghetti, Cannolis and Tiramisu. I was a little more brave compared to Sam – but then again, he actually enjoyed all his meals. I struggled with food luck, but I made it!

Sights:
Colosseum
Roman Forum
Trajan’s Forum
Arch of Constantine
Arch of Titus
Pantheon
Sistine Chapel
Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain
Palatine Hill
Piazza Navona
Piazza del Popolo
Piazza di Spagna
Via Veneto
Via Corso
Campo de’ Fiori
Pompeii
City of Positano
Amalfi Coast

Reviews:
Tours of Pompeii with Lello and Co. – Oh My Goodness. Do not go to Pompeii without Lello. If you can’t afford Lello, at least promise me you will find a guide. We were picked up by Antonio at our hotel and he drove us to Pompeii where we were expecting a morbid hike through the ruins of the city. Instead, we met Lello at the gates and proceeded to walk through the daily life of individuals of all social classes. It was incredible to see the remains of such a rich and inventive society. Beautifully restored, Pompeii made it easy to imagine life before the eruption. The private tour also gave us time to ask questions and completely immerse in all that is Pompeii.

HQH Trevi – We fell in love with this hotel the moment we walked in the door. It was ideally placed right at the center of Rome, putting all of our must-see sites within a 30 minute walk. We felt completely safe, and had quiet restful nights. My only advice is, don’t expect a washcloth in ANY hotel in Europe. Between the 3 we stayed in, we never found a washcloth. Otherwise, the staff was so sweet, breakfast was delicious, and everything was clean and high quality.

Rome Marriott Park – This conference was out of the center of town, but if you’re looking to stay near the airport, you won’t find a lovelier hotel. The lobby was huge and gorgeous. Very classy, also with a multilingual staff who was very helpful. The restaurant provided us with a very romantic dinner, and we were relieved to be in such good hands when our plans got stressful.

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No, Seriously – I was Literally Stuck in Europe.

So everyone keeps asking me what I mean when I say I got “stuck in Europe” over spring break. I don’t think they realize how literal I was being. So to make this easy, the following is the actual email that I sent to my professors.

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Bonjourno from Rome,

I am writing in hopes that you could consider changing my exam date.

You see, I am currently in Rome, Italy instead of on my flight back to the States. I fly non-revenue a standby traveler and things didn’t work out for my trip home. First, our flight home was cancelled due to air traffic control strikes during the window of time our flight was scheduled.  Then, unfortunately, this weeks ISIS activity, along with recent threats on Rome, caused nervous  American tourists to book all the States-Bound flights. The next flight from Europe to home is out of Paris on Monday. We are relocating away from downtown for this last night in Rome, then we will try to get to Paris tomorrow, which seems quiet. So, we are safe.

Skipping to the point, should that flight sell out without seats, I will not make it home for the test. As of now, I should be ok, but I wanted you to be aware! Flying standby is very much a game of Roulette. Thank you for understanding and I will keep you updated!

Now For the Photographic Evidence:

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Luckily, I made it home safe and sound for the tests. But not without rerouting to Paris to catch the only flight available to us. I know there’s worse things than getting stuck in Europe for an extra 3 days, but with dissolving funds, creeping exam dates, and work shifts in limbo – the end of our trip was less than restful.

Thankfully, my sweet boss Jayne was flexible for me. My partner in crime, Mr.S kept me from freaking out, and my exams went by without a hitch! Thank you everyone for sending prayers and well wishes on our travels back. I honestly think they carried my plane home.

Expect a Spring Break Report coming very soon – right after I knock out this massive pile of vacation laundry!

My First Trip to the Lego Store.

You’ll have to excuse me, grown up Phoebe has checked out for the week and my inner child has completely taken over. It’s Spring Break and I’ve managed to get 6 days of school free, work free, untamed fun. There is no one around to make me act like an adult and I’m loving it. That being said,

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I went to the Lego Store. For the first time. That is the absolute coolest place – a perfect way to kick off Spring Break. Granted the building wasn’t made out of Lego bricks like I was expecting, you still should have seen me light up when I saw it. We were probably in there for over an hour. I just couldn’t get enough! It’s too bad the prices have gone up so much since I was younger. The sets cost practically double what they used to be. But, Hey. It’s Lego. They can do whatever they want and I will love them!

We went to the Nashville Opry Mills Lego Store. It was small, but just enough to be a blast. AND they carry Disney Princess sets now? I promise when I’m older and rich,  I’m gonna have a special corner of my Woman Cave reserved for all my future Disney Collection sets. I also intend to order a custom set – a Lego model of my future Mediterranean Dream Home. How amazing would that be? For this trip, we only got one set. But it’s safe to say I spent a good chuck of the morning building helicopter-turned-dinosaur-that-looks-more-like-a-kangaroo. It was awesome.

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