Friday September 28th
This morning we woke up early and packed all our things so we could come back and grab them quick. We still wanted to see St. Mary Maggiore Basilica and the Pantheon before our flight back to Paris. We had our usual breakfast, this time getting the coffee cream which was wonderful!
St. Mary Maggiore was right near where we stayed, just across the piazza from our Gelato guy. When we got there, this little boy asked me if I had change for his bills. I was always skeptical of anyone who approached me so I watched what he did with it. He went over to this machine and inserted his coins and then BAM! All the lights came on inside and we were all able to see the mosaics lining the ceiling and walls. He was so precious and immediately got out his camera and took pictures nonstop until the lights went off again. Under the main altar in this church, are pieces of wood from Jesus’ manger. They were in a glass case with lots of gold around it. We walked down the stairs to a little room under the altar where you can kneel and pray before the manger. So cool!!
After our last basilica, we walked to the Pantheon since our Metro pass was expired. We passed a huge protest parade on the way. We made a pit stop at a store on the way because I spotted some shoes that I loved. Major bummer though because they didn’t have my size. Maybe I’ll buy some Italian leather next time! The Pantheon was really cool. We had already seen it on our night walk across Rome but going inside was pretty neat. It’s the oldest building in Rome, dating back to 126AD and it actually sits below street level because years of weathering have built the city up around it. My favorite part of the Pantheon was the awesome columns out front, but the whole in the center is pretty impressive too. I can’t imagine how the Romans built things so long ago!
For lunch, we took a recommendation from our guide book and picked a place nearby called Miscillenia. Joe had a beer, I had a coke, and they brought us house wine on the house! Joe had the spaghetti carbonara again and I had lasagna. We were nervous about missing our flight so we caught the Leonardo express to the airport early and said goodbye to Rome.
When we landed in Paris, it was pretty late. All we wanted to do was grab some food and drink a bottle of wine under the Eiffel tower. We checked into our Hostile (same one as before just a different room) and grabbed a kabob and fries from a street vendor nearby and a bottle of wine from the supermarket (had to get the twist kind since we didn’t have a cork screw) and headed to the Eiffel. We took the comforter off our bed in the hostile to use on the damp grass. We sat near a couple who ended up sharing our blanket. Dana and Mike were from Canada/Seattle and they were suckers for all the tourist salesmen. They had collected three key chains and 2 bottle of $20 champagne before they came over and sat with us! We really hit it off with them and ended up grabbing a drink with them (more wine) after we got kicked off the lawn by the cops. We enjoyed a glass of wine with our new friends and then hurried off to catch our metro. We barely made it! We sat by some hilarious British girls talking about boys and money, which Joe and I were secretly eaves dropping and cracking up at their drunk British accents. (it wasn’t even proper crying! And how much? A LOT!). When we got off at our stop we walked by a homeless guy who sneezed. We told him bless you and he yelled I LOVE YOU!!! Haha!
Saturday September 29th
The final day of our trip! We woke up and made it to breakfast downstairs before packing up our things and heading to Gare du Nord. We took the train to the airport and we got there super early so we had a couple of hours to eat, read and play before the plane. This plane was different and we didn’t have our own tv screens but man the seats were much more comfortable. They played movies on shared screens so we watched What to Expect When Expecting and The Lucky One. We had a medical scare on the plane when an older gentleman passed out. We had nurses on board who were able to revive him. They think he may have had a seizure in his sleep! Yikes! We connected in JFK which was a horrible experience. We had 3 hours before our flight, but by the time we made it through customs, security, and took the tram to our terminal, we had about 30 minutes before boarding! We made friends with some ladies coming from Paris too and we helped each other find the right place to go. Joe got a sandwich from Wendy’s and I got a pumpkin spice latté before takeoff. We landed in SA at 11PM and John and Caley picked us up!
This trip was so wonderful and we have talked about it so much since we got home, just reminiscing about the fun things and all that we learned. Can't wait for our next adventure!!