Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What The Sistine Chapel Looks Like (and other assorted Roman and Florentine places))

After we left Venice (with a short stay in Padova) we started on our way to Rome. I'd have to say, my favorite thing about Rome was to wander among the ruins. There's not much that's truly amazing and horrifying at the same time, but this city had an abundance of landmarks that left me with this feeling. We arrived at night and took a wonderful walk down to the Colosseum. 

 Look at the size of the humans compared to this place! It was much, MUCH grander than I thought. The knowledge of what it was used for made walking around it much more scary than you would think.

( can you find the famous Creation of Man scene?) 
(did you know Michelangelo painted this entire ceiling and laying flat on his back - paint sometimes dripping into his eyes?) Amazing.

The next morning we decided to go to the Vatican City and tour  the museum and the Sistine Chapel. That was probably one of the most horrible museum experiences I have ever had.  Let's just say the NYC Subway doesn't even begin to describe how crowded the ENTIRE museum was. (and I'm from NYC, remember?) By the end of the 2 hours we shuffled shoulder to shoulder with everyone else, we were sweaty, smelly, thirsty and just glad to be out. I should also mention that Rome was having a severe heat wave this day. 

One thing you should know about this: while you're shuffling along  in the corridor and stairs leading into the Sistene Chapel, you'll hear an announcement in about 6 different languages: "You are about to enter the Sistene Chapel. Please remain silent while in the Sistene Chapel. No Photos Please." (haha, like that's going to happen. (there were about 2,000 of us in the chapel at once) The next thing you should know is that when you actually get inside the Chapel, there will be 5 or 6 security guards shouting "SILENCE PLEASE!" about every other second. So much for the silence. 

 The beautiful pines of Rome. 

There were lot of colorful mailboxes in the Vatican City. It's "the thing" to send a postcard home from the Vatican.

 A few days later we traveled to Florence, a beautiful city in which we had only 4 hours. The heat wave was still in full boom (one of the hottest in history, by the way) and we were anxious to get to our next destination- the Italian Riviera. (hello, beach!)

The bridge above is the Ponte Vecchio - extremely old (built in the 12th century) and beautiful.  Originally built for shops selling gold and silver it has changed very little since then. It still has the quaintest shops and silver. 

 A view of Florence from a little garden on a hill I found.

Church where Galileo and Michelangelo are burried. 

So there my friends, in a tiny-little nutshell, are some picts. from our time in Rome and Florence. You should know that the best gelato I've ever had (and we had some almost every day in every city) (it's the only way to keep cool) is in Florence. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Let's Talk About Croissants: What We Ate In Europe Part 2

We are now home in our little Connecticut town. Our European travels and adventures have come to an end, but not for you, dear reader! I get to remember all the fun times we had by blogging about them and sharing them with the whole wide world. Not a bad deal :)

So today we're talking about food again (and in my opinion, you can never talk too much about food. who's with me on that?) and this time we have pictures from Paris. Unfortunately we didn't take pictures of the amazingly delicious steak meal we had in Switzerland at a friends house, or the meal we shared with a couple in Madrid, or all of the meals we ate during the last week of our travels. But these will have to suffice. So grab a snack (I'll wait right here) and read on!

This was probably one of my favorite meals during the whole trip. Beef bourguignon at Chartier's. The meat was super tender (like you've never had before) and the stew part had an incredible amount of flavor. Drink this with a good wine and you will be happy for many days. (I was.)

This is what Karl had at the same restaurant. A thick steak with fries. Except they call them something fancy like pomme frites. We followed this meal by going to Haagen-Dazs for dessert. 

One of the first things we did when we got to Paris was to get some pastry! We stayed with a couple who have been living in France for 20+ years and they recommended this place. We were not disappointed. Here's Karl trying a chocolate pastry. (if he can involve chocolate in something, he will.)

Moments later, I made my selection at the pastry stand and choose a baguette with camembert. This was sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good. I'm super sad you can't get bread and cheese like this where we live. Experiencing cheese in Paris is something really spectacular. (you may feel like a cheese virgin for a while)

AHA!!!! The whole time I have been alive (give or take a couple years), I have been wondering how different croissants could be in France. Well. Let me tell you, they taste nothing like what you get in the   States. This one (and every one we ate) was fresh and warm. The outside is incredibly flaky and toasty. The inside in buttery and gooey and a little bit like heaven. I think we ate one (at least) almost every day we were in Paris. (it was money well spent)

Ok, so we didn't eat this, but we stopped inside this chocolate shop and they had an Eiffel Tower made out of chocolate. MADE OUT OF CHOCOLATE. (what?!?!) yeah. super cool.

When we went to Latin quarter we saw crepe shops every. where. In the latin quarter you can get quite a bit of food for not a lot of money. Plus, while you're there you can visit the Shakespeare and Co. bookstore, which you wouldn't want to miss. (more on that in another post)

 Here is Karl's nutella and banana crepe. Nutella is like "the" thing over there. There are lots of little nutella crepe stands we saw all across Italy and also in Paris. These places have like 72 oz. bottles of nutella. 

can't leave Paris without trying a macaroon! My delightful husband surprised me with this right before our flight was supposed to take off. Raspberry macaroon.