Rome 4/26-4/28

We left Venice and went to Rome via Train. It was about a 4hour trip. Our Hotel was right behind the Spanish Steps. It was very well situated for site seeing. We used Priceline again (gotta love that site!).

Rome is just WOW! It is big and old and just like you see on TV. We had the best weather of our trip there, bright & sunny with breezes. It was still pretty busy even though it was off season.

With all the sights to see we were actually surprised that one of the best sites we saw we had never heard of, the “Unknown Soldier” monument. They have police patrolling and you are NOT allowed to sit on the steps. However, you can sit on the Spanish Steps but not eat on them.

We saw all the major sites that you see on TV, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Musei Capitolini, the Forum,, the Pantheon. Rome is interesting because the some of the old stuff is right in the middle of the new stuff. It would be like finding a castle in the middle of Times Square!

They love there Piazza’s there, so do we. Big squares with small places to eat, drink and people watch. It was interesting there were people selling purses, watches, sunglasses ect, obviously they weren’t supposed to because the cops would come by and BOOM they would pick up their stuff and run! It took us a while to figure out what was going on but it happened enough we finally figured it out. (no we didn’t buy anything ;-( we weren’t fast enough) Piazza Navarro was our favorite!

We met Valentino on our last night there. He was from Czech but we was working in Rome because there wasn’t any work there. He spoke good English, he learned from his brother and watching our cartoons. He wanted to come to America but his visa had been denied. It was interesting to hear how it works for people to come over here. I guess it is pretty hard right

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4/28 Rome / Vatican

We went to “The” Vatican. It is pretty cool. If you walk past stones on the ground you are in the Vatican, you come back out you are in Rome.

There are tons of people trying to get you to sign up for their tours. They sounded pretty good but we aren’t tour type people.

So we ditched the tour, took some pictures and went back to the main part of Rome since we were leaving the next night for Paris via “Night Train” , that will be a WHOLE ‘nother post!

So we went back and that night we hit up one of the squares where the Night Life was happening to about 4am. That is where we met Valentino. He was cool. FYI, if you are planning a long trip the next day NOT a good idea to party real late the night before!

The whole Vatican thingy is weird, can you imagine the Mormons in Utah saying “OK, we have stacked our claim and if you pass this stone you are now in the Mormonian State?” that is basically what the Vatican is.

Venice Wed 4/23 thru Sat 4/26

We flew from Amsterdam to Venice. (Talk about a clean, efficient airport) Now you know all about customs and airplanes, so first off it is a fairly SMALL plane, and they let us off on the Tarmack, we have to walk to the airport and there is one DOG sniffing the baggage right when you get off, you get your luggage right there, then walk thru a little corridor and show your passport and that is it!

Venice 4/25 Opera & Gondola Ride

We decided to do something a little different and go to the opera in Venice. The Teatro La Fenice is said to be a true beauty. It Was Gorgeous, like stepping back in time. However our seats left A LOT to be desired.

We were on the top floor, and imagine a c shape, we were at the end of the C but not only that we were behind on regular chairs. We could not see anything. The people in front of us where sticking there heads out over the balcony to try and see something. It was so bad we left after 15 min.

FYI, Do NOT where new high heal shoes in Venice. The ground is very cobbely and we had to walk fast to make it on time. My feet were sore! I finally took them off. We went to get a drink and we walked in and asked the waiter if we could come in for a drink, he said “sure come in for a drink, you can even get drunk if you want to!” like I said they are very friendly in Venice. I ordered hot chocolate and he brings me the cup of hot chocolate with a pot for later and a bowl of whipped cream (real stuff!) and a plate of cookies, he arranges in a half circle and says “this is for her to help her feet! non for the rest of you! 😉 That was one good cup of hot chocolate!

After we recouped we decided to go on a Gondola ride, we were lucky we caught the very last gondolier and talked him in to taking us for a ride. He was very nice, he told us about the history of house as we went through (he didn’t sign though!) As we were taking our ride we suddenly here some hip hop music booming loudly then all of a sudden a couple kids in a souped up speedboat zoom on by, guess teenagers are the same everywhere!

We had a great night, except for those lousy seats, although I am thinking maybe my hubby did that on purpose so he WOULDN’T have to sit thru the whole opera!!!

Van Gogh Museum and House of Bols

We made the requisite visit to the Van Gogh Museum, hmmm, we weren’t that impressed.

After Van Gogh we went to the House of Bols which is a Dutch Distiller, now That is a tour. For 10 euros basically they show you their products, then they have this little movie area where this is DISCO music playing, lights going, and the back ground is dancers and bartenders, very Cheeky, but after that you go in a hall with all of their different flavors and then you get to pick a drink and it comes FREE with the tour at thier Mirror Bar!

After our drinks and then 1 shot each of 3 different Bols liquers the consensus was go to BOLS’s FIRST then go to the Van Gogh Museum, it will be a MUCH better time!

Keukenhof – The “Disneyland” of flowers!

4/22/8 Amsterdam

When in Amsterdam there are a few things you HAVE to do. Of all those things I can only talk about 1 (jk).

Since the flowers were in bloom and they are the biggest exporter of Tulips we figure we should see the fields.

This is a freaking HUGE area of flowers, (which are very pretty, but seriously how many flowers can you look at in a day???) There were lines to get in, YES, and when you first walk in their is a big Glockenspiel, and food, and further in a petting zoo, an on and on it goes!

It was our last day there, it took about an 1hr to get there and an 1hr to get back so we only stay an hour and probably only saw a 10th of it. Hint, go to BOLS, or indulge in one of Amsterdams other activities before going, it will be more fun.

4/21 Amsterdam “Ice Cold Bar”

While still in the good ole US of A, we were looking for things to do and we saw the ICE Cold Bar.

You have to make reservations to get in, since everything is made of ICE, the chairs, tables, glasses, sculptures, walls, it was COLD but it was Great!

They only let up to 15 people at a time in and only for 45 minutes. The regular bar was cool, very retro. Then when it is time to go in they give you Parkas, Mittens, to use inside.

Your drinks are served in Ice Cups, very cool, there is music playing, lights changing and so people (not us) start goofing off, what you forget is oooh, outside they can see you goofin’ in the room.

So after we left the next group went in and it was like OMG, we can see them, so they could see us, here’s hoping none of us was pickin our nose or scatchin our butt!!!

Highly recommend the Ice Bar if you ever get out there!!!!

Amsterdam 4/20 thru 4/23

Amsterdam was better then we expected!!! We booked our room thru Price-Line and got a great deal $182 US (if the dollar was stronger it would have been better). We stayed at the NH Schiller in the Rembrant Square.

We weren’t really sure were it was when we booked, but it was a perfect spot, the square had cafes, restaurants, park and 13 3d sculptures from one of Rembrants famous paintings. I guess it was supposed to be temporary but they are trying to keep them permanently.

We upgraded our room and we had a great view of the square and the park. FYI no screens and no air conditioning meant we also heard the revelry ALL night! They do know how to party! They were up until 4am. This was on a Sunday.

What is cool about Amsterdam is they know they party so most places open at 10am except on Mondays when they open later, those are my kind of working hours!!!