Monday, April 30, 2012

March: Staying Put...

The month of March was spent in and around London.  Lucky for us the days are getting longer...aka more daylight. :) We started the month off by attending our school gala...a fundraiser with a live and silent auction.  This was a lot of fun, raised money for school, and we were able to snag a few being Nick's artwork of a Union Jack flag.
Next up was "Supah Quiz American Showdown" hosted by our friends...lots of competitive players here, and thankfully all USA trivia for us.  "Quiz Night" is a very common weekly theme at most local pubs here. Kyle and I randomly ended up on the same team..."Team Beefeater".  Unfortunately, our brain power didn't quite perform so well against other American peeps.  Really...have we been gone that long..?!  Oh well, lots of fun had...and a terrific night out with many laughs & good friends. 

As far as St. Patrick's Day, plans were made well in advance.  Kyle, along with a crew of others, bought tickets to the England versus Ireland "Six Nations" Rugby game at the nation's ruby stadium, Twickenham.  This is a hot ticket least for the men.  England gained their revenge this year and took the title from Ireland.  Kyle sounds British when he says there's no better sport to watch. He has become a big fan.

As far as daily life..the boys started London Youth Little League.  Kyle helps coach and so far the boys are enjoying it...different from home, but we've learned to roll with what we've got.  Kate is still playing her year round soccer. School's going well, keeping them busy, and fieldtrips keep coming...

We've been in London several times and covered the Borough and Camden Markets, and also strolled the streets of Notting Hill.  I have to mention that it's nice being able to spend the day in the city and get a different experience every time.  The kids are learning to navigate their way and are understanding the tube sysytem...pretty good for country kids from GA.:)
Camden Market

Borough Market

All Roads Lead to Rome...

Taking a trip back to Italy..."Roma" is next up..  Not slowing down our desire to travel, our European adventure continues and this one is on our bucket list.  Let me just say that it wasn't difficult getting any of us back to Italy...the food, the culture, the language, and beautiful land all make us wonder if there's really any need to travel elsewhere.
We landed early in Rome, so we were able to get off to an early start.  We strolled the streets without an agenda.  These days always seem to be the most fun.  We explored around and found the Monument to Vittorio, the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, and of course a delicious cafe, gelato place, and ever luring boutiques.  So much to's hard slowing down, but Italy...isn't eating considered immersing oneself into the culture?  When in Rome...gelato is a daily requirement.  (I think that goes for any part of Italy.)  Our kids have overused the Italian gelato "flavor"words such as stracciatella, menta, caffe`, etc...and have a new found confidence ordering like a local.  As for me, I'll stick to a cappuccino and enjoy the view.
The roses Kyle was forced to buy for us...Oh well, any way a girl can get'em!
Custom says that throwing a coin into the Trevi Fountain ensures one will surely return to Rome and that your wish may come true.  Needless to say, we all threw euros into the Trevi Fountain...I threw two.
Stand backwards, toss a euro, and make a wish!
The next day we scheduled a half day tour of overall Rome...the Colosseum (built in AD!), the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, Navona Square, and other fun sights.  The Colosseum was such a huge, amazing place to see.  Isn't it hard not think of the movie Gladiator?? 
The Colosseum
Pantheon at night

Piazza Della Rotonda...Pantheon
A day after, we toured the Vatican City...the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. We scheduled an early tour (7am...yikes!) and were able to get into the Sistine Chapel very soon after.  We were standing in the official residence of the Pope and because it was so early...we basically had the place to ourselves.  The architecture and decorations were amazing.  The kids were able to see Michelangelo's famous painting on the ceiling, along with several world famous sculptures and mosaics. They had seen them in books...but now they were in true form.  Crazy neat. I am being brief here, but this day being inside the Vatican was truly special and a time we will not forget. 
Michelangelo's Pieta 1499

St. Peter's Basilica

"Veni Vidi Vici"...We came, we saw, we conquered. Rome was fantastic.