Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted
according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or
slow to do the humble work.

- Mother Teresa

About Me

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Sunny Florida, United States
I am the proud mom to 6 kids: Natasha, 24, Nikolai, 20, Reese, 20, Maylee, 14, Erik, 10 and Violet, 7. The kids come from Russia, Ukraine and China; I'm so proud of my family sometimes I think I'll burst and I needed an outlet for it - so I've created this weblog. :o)
If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one.
- Mother Teresa

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Mother Teresa

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Very early on Sunday morning, Reese and I disembarked the ship and took an excursion tour, which would eventually drop us off in Rome and we'd find our hotel.
Good-bye, Mediterranean Sea...!!
 First stop: the Vatican. What a beautiful bldg! I've seen it on TV, of course, but being there in person, like most landmarks, is really awesome. 

The piazza was PACKED, as the Pope Francis was canonizing 3 new saints that day.  What an experience to be there to see that!!
 To our disappointment, we found out that our St. Peter's Basillica tour was cancelled as Pope Francis was naming 3 new saints today. But we were free to spend time in the Piazza just the same. To our amazement, the service was just beginning and we got to watch the Pope right then and there, give this service! 

A Swiss Guard (not a court jester).  Rumor has it that Michelangelo designed their uniforms.  Hmmm...
 We watched for an hour until our tour guide had us go, but what an experience! We were hoping we could wait until the end when the PopeMobile drove through the crowds (we had a good spot, too), but we had to leave. Still...!!

The pointed roof that is slightly illuminated in the center of the photo is the Sistine Chapel.
The top floor to the right is the traditional residence of the Pope.  However, Pope Francis chooses to live in the Hotel with other guests, rather than isolate himself in the Residence.  Every morning when he rises early, he goes to the Hotel clerk and hands her some coins to pay for his room for the night.  I love that guy!!

After that, we boarded the bus and went to the Roman Forum, which I knew almost nothing about. It was really ...amazing!!

We saw the grave (what was left of it) of Julius Caesar, the castle of Nero and massive miscellaneous ancient structures.

Julius Caesar's grave

 It was really amazing to sit there on a collapsed marble pillar and look around and try to imagine where I was and what happened there ~2,000 years ago. I tried to imagine the Roman peoples going about their daily lives, the dignitaries and politicians strutting around in their togas looking so important, and Roman guards, always looking for trouble. Really hard to imagine that I was THERE, and not watching some documentary on TV, or reading about it in books. I was touching the marble, sitting on a column, looking at the tomb of Julius Caesar, himself...

Ruins of the Emperor Nero's castle
Onward. Next stop, the Colisseum! Simply put, the Colisseum is massive. How these people built this collosal building in 8 1/2 years is staggering.  

We walked around the outside and entered.

Much of the Colisseum was plundered over the centuries.  This explains all of the holes (metal pipes were removed), missing marble (the place was pretty much completely covered in marble - only one small section of original seating remains as the seats were marble and they were all stolen), and general condition of the place.


Our guide pointed out small details and gave us the overview of the place. Death. Torture. Blood. The Colisseum was the place for it. Murders by the thousands while crowds cheered on. The entertainment of the Ancients.

  I wished for a more extensive tour, but alas, we had to move on. Time to catch our taxis and go to our hotels...

The taxi ride to the hotel reminded me a bit of car rides in Russia, but I have to admit, this time it was kind of fun.  Roman drivers are crazy, fast drivers, simply put.  I, while clutching the seat with all of my might, equated the ride to a ride at Universal Studios.  I think Reese put it better when he compared it to a video game.  Where in Russia, I think drivers tried to hit the pedestrians, it did seem that Roman drivers simply were aloof to pedestrians.  I actually witnessed cars braking and once even stopping to avoid hitting one.  That impressed me.

We were so tired that we did almost nothing the rest of the afternoon and evening but rest, much to Reese's dismay.

One more day in Rome, then it's back home...


Jane Smith said...

There is SO much to see in Rome that I'm sure you could have spent a couple more nights there! You will have to go back some day...hopefully with ME!!

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If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap.
If you want happiness for a day, go fishing.
If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune.
If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.
- Chinese proverb
It is not the will of your Father that any one of these little ones should perish. Matt. 18:14

Whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me. Matt. 18:5

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

My family

My family
Nikolai, Mark, Missy, Reese, and Erik

Nikolai, 19

Nikolai, 19

Reese, 19

Reese, 19

Erik, 9

Erik, 9





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