September 8, 2010

Italy adventures...

Alison and I leaving from STL airport on September 2.

We made all 8 of our connections along with all of our bags and belongings, safely with almost zero complications. The "almost" must be mentioned because of 2 incidents that happened. The first was while sitting in an espresso bar people watching and writing in journals. We had an 8 hour layover before boarding a flight to Rome, so we took the bus downtown Dublin to site see. While sipping on drinks, Karis and Alison writing in their journals and me watching as people walk by, two drunk polish men stumble to the wall of windows we are sitting at and start to harass us through the window. I have never felt so unsafe in my life. Surprisingly my initial reaction was to laugh, but as they became more of a threat, I started to get angry and fought the urge to flick the two creepers off...Luckily after ten minutes of trying to ignore them as they smudged their faces into the window taunting us, a concerned passerby stopped to try and help. They eventually stumbled down the street and passed out underneath a store front window. Three girls in a foreign country and a strange city- by ourselves; we were scared. After the two creepers left, we thought it a good time to pray over the remainder of our trip. In all honesty, we were so blessed the rest of the trip that nothing terrible happened to any of us or our stuff.

Karis sitting at the espresso bar in Dublin (before the creepy incident).

The rest of the trip I'm happy to tell you was the least bit frightening in that sense. We had the best trip in Italy! It was so much fun to wander around in Rome and Florence with a map. We went to the Vatican in Rome and toured the Sistine chapel, St.Peter's Church and climbed the MILLIONS of stairs to the top to capture St.Peter's square from a birds eye view. Rome was great, lots of history, art and culture. Our Rome part of the Italy trip was packed full of museums, the Colosseum, Trevi fountain and lots of walking around the city streets.

**Oh, I almost forgot! We stayed in an apartment in Rome that was rented out to us by a really nice American family who know Lauren Kirkpatrick and her family...They were incredibly helpful and even let us stay with them the night before we flew back to Dublin to come to Belfast. Check our Tod Billingsly travel blog here!

Inside of Vatican city.

We had more of a relaxed schedule for Florence, only going to see the David. The second incident happened in Florence when we grabbed some Italian sandwiches and ate lunch on the steps in the Palazzo della Signoria square. After lunch we rushed to see the David, a fifteen minute walk from where we ate lunch. We get to the Academia gallery and I realize that I left my back pack on the steps. Everything that I brought to Florence was in that bag, including my boarding passes and clothes (thank God, my wallet and passport were on me). My heart sank, and I had no hopes of it still being there. We raced back to the steps, and along the way I was pleading with God for it to still be there...Miraculously the bag was right where I had left it, among the hundreds of people with everything still in it. Praise Jesus!

Relieved to find my back pack in Palazzo della Signoria square.

The rest of the time Alison had a friend who was living in Florence and we met up with her and a few of her friends for lunch and dinner, which was fun. Florence was by far my favorite part of the trip, it's a cozy city packed tightly with mom and pop restaurants, boutique's, gelato store fronts and lots of old architecture! It felt like I entered into the Renaissance era with the buildings, statues, and cobble streets surrounding us. I loved it! Italians are my kind of people; laid back, romantic, they enjoy the finer things in life and take a long time doing it.

On the train ride from Florence back to Rome, I took mental notes and planned my vineyard inspired wedding as we passed by vineyard upon vineyard! Anyway, I want to go back to Italy sometime in my life...Traveling is my dream and sitting on the train coming back from Florence, I realized I'm living it.

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