In June of 2015 I joined a friend of mine on a leg of his 50 state capital ride he was doing for Allstate Insurance. I met him in San Francisco and my journey took me through 8 states, 3 Canadian provinces and on a ferry for 4 days. Saw old friends and made new friends. It was a great adventure!
Belgium is an interesting country, we spent a week in Brussels and took a couple day trips on the train to Antwerp and Bruges. Brussels is a beautiful and busy city filled with beer tourists, and as the capitol of the EU it is also filled with lawyers, politicians and lobbyist. With Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent all just short train rides away Brussels was a great place for us to set up a "home base" in Belgium.
Some of the things I saw in Munich
Hello! I just added a few of my photos from Venice today, please have a look!
For me Rome is at it's best in the morning. Quiet open spaces. Walking around the city while it is sleepily waking up, un-impeded by selfie sticks and the tourist attached to them. This part of the day is something you cannot miss while visiting The Eternal City.
Our perfect day starts at the oldest coffee bar in the city, Cafe Greco (Tazza D'oro is also a great choice), with a cappuccino and marmalade cornetto. After breakfast we walk to a basilica I had read about named San Silvestro in Capite, famous for enshrining a fragmented head purported to belong to Saint John the Baptist.
We arrived at the church only to realize it was Palm Sunday, so naturally we decided to participate and made a small donation and took some olive branches (used in place of palm leaves due to the abundance in the region) and attended the ceremony. Now, I am not what you would call a religious person, but sitting there listening to the service in Italian was a beuatiful experience and Im glad I was able to experience it.
Oh yeah, the head is in a little room off to the left side of the church entrance, pictured below is the stained glass in the room and the head enshrined in a case behind glass locked behind bars.
Since we just saw a severed head, we thought why not go to another display of the macabre side of religion? The Santa Maria della Concezione crypts. Here you can view the bones of nearly 4000 friars on display. By "on display" I mean the bones are used to decorate a series of rooms. Like dioramas made from bones, the bones are used to make chandeliers, and used to decorate the ceilings. Unfortunately you are not allowed to photograph anything in there, here is a link to the Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Maria_della_Concezione_dei_Cappuccini
By now we have worked up quite an appetite. Trastevere is where you go to eat in Rome, the neighborhood is known for its family owned pubs and resuraunts. We were heading to Roma Sparita, upon arrival we were told that they were booked for lunch. We must have looked very sad at that news, becasue they then waved us back and said they could seat us at 2:15. When we returned, we were seated immediatly and the staff was very friendly and fun. But the star of the show here is the food! A bottle of wine, prosciutto e bufala, Cacio e Pepe, Bucatini all'amatriciana and we were stuffed. This was one of the best meals I have ever had. The Cacio e Pepe is NOT TO BE MISSED, we came back to eat it again later in the week and I crave it often weeks later. Make reservations, make multiple reservations you won't be sorry.
After lunch we had a nice walk along the banks of the Tiber River, I just love a city with a river running through it. As we were walking in search of our next adventure we stopped to look at some beautiful sweets on display in a bakery, when one of the waiters from Roma Sparita (Alessandro) recognized us through the window and waved us in. He bought us our 1st taste of grappa (wow strong stuff) and we worked through the language barrier shared some laughs, and our love for life in Rome. He then bought us an espresso and we were on our way. This is one of those experiences we will never forget and a tourist book will not lead you to.
As were were heading back to our apartment in Aurelia, we decided to get off the metro a couple stops early and catch our 1st glmpse of The Vatican...turns out that the evening is the best time to see it, during the day (especially so close to Easter) it is packed with people, but it was quiet and peacful in the evening.
We stopped for some take-away from Pizzarium, and finally made it home to our little Roman apartment.
That for me is how to spend a perfect day in Rome.