Italy: Day 1 Rome

Welcome to the Coliseum

Even rushing full speed from the airport, to the hotel, to the tour meet-up, we were a few minutes late. If you ever have the chance to go on a City Wonder tour, punctuality is key! They leave exactly on time. Luckily, they were able to squeeze us in to the next group, an hour later, so we had a gelato and caffeine break.

Sev, our tour guide for the Vatican portion of the day was amazing! He knew so many details and kept us laughing the whole time. My favorite line he used was when we were crossing the street to enter the Vatican. He said crossing the street in Rome requires a little faith, the cars will stop or they won’t. Which is true because the Italians drive like it is a competition and winning is everything. Its terrifying!

St. Peter’s Basilica

I had no idea the history of the Vatican. Starting as the Pope’s art collection, before becoming a museum, there is art from every era. The architecture, the statuary, the paintings, it was all so beautiful!

Sistine Chapel ceiling

We all were impressed with every part of this tour, even though we could barely keep our eyes open!

Chiara falling asleep on the floor of St. Peter’s Basilica

When we finished at the Vatican it was a quick trip to the Coliseum for part two of our tour. Tiziana was our guide for this portion and she was another delight. She charmed Chiara by calling her princess the entire tour, because of her Italian name and Italian descent.

Did you know it was oval?

The Coliseum was mind boggling. The size of it, the history of it, and there were details I was completely unaware of. I’m a little embarrassed to say I didn’t know it was oval. We were able to see the rooms where the slaves were kept, the ancient plumbing, and the fact that it’s still standing makes it all the more impressive!

It was a short walk over to the Roman Forum, to see more of these ancient structures and the tour ended there. By this point everyone was drooping, ready to fall in to bed. As we had skipped lunch, we were also starving!

On the walk back to the hotel, we found Pasqualino al Colosseo. Delicious does not begin to describe it! I had the tenderest steak drizzled with basalmic vinegar and I could hardly bring myself to share it. Stumbling the rest of the way to the hotel, up to our rooms, to fall into bed before 730. Approaching 48 hours awake, a walking tour that encompassed huge pieces of Rome, and we had all earned a good night’s rest.

Solar Eclipse August 8th, 2017

So how many of you were able to view any part of the eclipse a few days ago? I learned about it a few weeks ago, and decided this was something I wanted the kids to experience. Luckily, totality was visible a few short hours from where my parents live in North Carolina. It was a little funny because my kids started school on Wednesday, went Thursday, then I pulled them out Friday through Tuesday for this trip. Their teachers were all for it, it is kind of like a science field trip after all! 

This was the best picture I was able to get with my phone

It’s been 26 years since I was able to experience an eclipse, and it has been weird for me this time around listening to everyone freaking out. Schools in our area of Ohio were basically having a lock down, keeping all the kids inside during the entire event. When I was in school, we made eclipse viewers to watch the event with. Glasses were readily available, but people were against using them for fear of eye damage, a valid argument, yes, but a little research could’ve allowed anyone to watch this event.

We watched the eclipse from Lee State Park near Bishopville, SC. The rangers there had information about the eclipse available, crafts to entertain kids leading up to totality, and it was at a park, so it was a nice place to relax and enjoy during the event.

Allowing you to see the progress without staring at the sun

My kids especially enjoyed this eclipse viewer the rangers had, as it made seeing the progress very easy. No constant on and off with your glasses.

Almost at totality

Given our location, we had a short window of the sun being completely dark, and the experience was amazing. Night bugs started calling, nature seemed to hold it’s breath in confusion for a few moments, then the sun came back out and normality resumed.

Everything went dark

Arthur was amazed! Chiara was less than thrilled, but enjoyed being outside for the whole time, and the crafts. 

I know we’re all looking forward to the next one in seven years. Luckily no travel will be involved as we already live in the path of totality!

Ridiculously simple, but my favorite craft, made with chalk

Rhyme Time

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This is one of those pins that I can’t go to the original site. I’d love to reference who thought up this idea because its brilliant!
It took me awhile to remember to get my paint swatches from work, but I finally managed it tonight!
You start by picking which ending you want to use. I did three separate ones, so I had
B, C, D, F, H, J, L with the ending -OG
B, H, J, L, N, S, T with the ending -AG
B, C, F, H, M, P, S with the ending -AT
The kids were amazed and fascinated. This is also a good activity for learning to read. Arthur’s teacher said to focus on rhymes over the summer, so here we go. Learning fun!
Enjoy!