Saturday, December 30, 2006

Rome - Part 1 

We had a very early morning flight on Ryan Air (Thanksgiving morning), out of Frankfurt-Hahn airport. We had prebooked a car to take us from the airport to our hotel, a man was waiting for us when we walked out of the baggage claim area. Rather than take us the more modern, direct way to our hotel, he took us down an ancient Roman road! What a great way to start our trip to Rome. The fare was a flat rate so it really didn't matter how long it took, and he pointed out all kinds of Roman ruins along the way. The potholes were tremendous, and I am sure I saw signs that said you were not supposed to be driving on sections of the road. The road is the Via Appia Antica, or the ancient Appian Way. The link takes you to a brief description of it. We loved the ride to the hotel, and after dropping our luggage in our room we were on our way to sightsee.

Our hotel, The Lancelot was perfect, and only a 10 minute walk to the Colosseum. That was our first destination, it was only about 10:30 a.m. when we began. We went in the colosseum and explored around while Jacob started on his favorite activity in Rome, climbing on the old stones and columns that were everywhere. The place was so amazing, as every ancient site we saw was. To see all these things in person gave you the impression of the enormity of Rome as an ancient city. We left there to get a quick lunch, in a restaurant that we could look out at the Colosseum while we ate pizza and salad. After that we went across the street to Palatine Hill, to explore a bit there before heading back to our hotel to rest for a bit. That took up most of the day, it was late afternoon when we were finally back in our room putting our feet up for a bit.

After our rest we took the bus over to the Spanish steps, and took our time walking around that area. Lots of shops, restaurants and people there! We then walked over to the Trevi Fountain, which was one of my favorite sites. I had no idea how big it was, and ornate. Jacob threw a coin in so he would come back to Rome one day, actually he threw a few coins in! We kept walking towards our hotel, and then ended up taking a taxi for the last bit, as Jacob's little legs were done for the day. We found a small restaurant near our hotel, and had some pasta and pizza for dinner. Then it was a quick stop for gelati and finally back to our room for bed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

St. Martin's Parade 

November 12th Jacob's kindergarten had their St. Martin's Parade in town, it was a lot of fun. The children had been working on their lanterns for weeks, and they were all very nice. I really liked Jacob's lantern this year, it looked great lit up in the dark. I am always amazed and a bit scared each year during the parade, as each lantern has a tall candle inside it to illuminate it. It is quite the relief when they blow out their candles before going in the church!

You might remember Jacob doing this last year, I posted about it then too.

This year it was quite cold and rainy, although the showers held off during the actual parade and program. They started at the kindergarten, and then made their way along the main street, ending at the church courtyard. The local marching band led the way, along with a "St. Martin" riding a horse. After a short program outside the church, we went in for the brief church service. Let me add here that the interior of the church is as cold, if not colder, than the outdoors. It was not as crowded as last year, so we were able to get seats on the pews and get our feet up off the cold stone floor. That was definitely a plus! After the church service we were able to purchase bratwurst, lebkuchen and gluhwein as a fundraiser for the school. It was really nice and of course Jacob had a great time. He saw some other friends of ours that happened to be eating at a local restaurant, they came out to watch the parade. He stopped to say a quick "hi" to them then announced "Gotta go guys, I have to keep up with the Germans!" They were laughing like crazy about that, and still do when they retell the story. He can be quite the character!

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