Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Roman and Venetian Holidays

Ok, I started this post 3 months ago...I'd love for it to be witty, reflective and meaningful, but then, it'll never get posted.

So, Rome was really fun, and we didn't see half of what I had hoped. Here are some things I learned:
1) Every church has a different flavor and feel. And, I was thrilled to find that just about every church had some woman represented somewhere in it. Awesome.
2) I also learned what Italians mean by Americans love of oversaucing pastas and I'm going to try and do better when I get home, though I fear oversaucing is done more because of a lack of quality ingredients than being greedy.
3) I also found I had no heartburn in Rome, which I initially thought was a testament to the Italians' fine cooking, especially when I was plagued with it on coming to Austria (incidentally, austrians don't use baking soda in their baking; I didn't bring any of my own because I assumed that baking soda was western european product).Tessa diagnosed my problem. Carbonation. Austrians have this lovely lemon verbana soda that I was enjoying at dinner. Now, I see I do best with no carbonation at all. A sad lesson to learn, but a helpful one.
4) One must consult those who have spent some time in Rome to truly know what to see and what to skip. I would have been lost without Jen and Janessa's excellent and trusted advice.

Here's a view from our apartment in Rome...lovely!

Here are my inestimable travelling companions. I miss them so much; they're much more reasonable than the current group I live with (well, I guess Nate is pretty reasonable, but those other two/three?), and they like to do the same things I do.

Roman ruins because, well, isn't that why one goes to Rome?

St. Peter's Basillica. Just enormous...I could have spent days there and at the Vatican Museums. Yet, here I have a few complaints. Romans don't dig signage, so we were never quite sure which line to stand in or what we were looking at. And, we noticed that Romans are completely arbitrary in their enforcement of rules. Look like you know what you're doing, walk with purpose, and most of the time, you can get away with not following a rule (like walking in the right area). Look timid and unsure, and they'll yell at you.

Courtyard at the Etruscan Museum. I think Nate and I should build one of these in our yard.

This is a Santa Maria church, I can't remember which one, but if you go into my Flickr folder you'll see. It's one of the older churches in Rome, and what's that on the top of the Church? A mosaic of women adorning the Madonna and Child. I got all excited, thinking they were famous Church leaders. We found out they're actually the Ten Virgins, but still, lovely to see female representation on the outside of a church.

A lovely mosaic.
If you're not bored yet, there are more pictures of my trip here:
Now, Austria was an equally wonderful trip. I loved Austrian food--meats, cheeses, and breads with delicious fruit and herb flavored sodas, but I wasn't nearly as diligent taking pictures.

But, while Rome was seeing monuments and art, Austria was a time to relax with Nate's lovely aunt, Gail. We talked and lounged at her beautiful home in a monastary and got a chance to meet some of her dear friends.
I thought I'd be chomping at the bit to get home the whole time I was in Europe, but I wasn't. In fact, I was a little sad to come home. To think, I almost didn't take this trip because I was worried about missing my family and well, frankly, I was also concerned that the house and the boys might have spontaneously combusted in my absence. But, they did well (thanks to grandparents and friends), and the break did me a whole world of good.
Thank you, Maren and Nate for a birthday/Christmas/Mother's Day present I won't soon forget!

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