Saturday, 5 January 2008

When In Rome...

We left our house at 1:00am and arrived in Rome the next day around noon. Millie did great, but we were all exhausted and just looking forward to getting to the room we were renting out and crashing. That's not what happened! We luckily found the place without too much trouble, but no one was there to let us in. After driving around for over an hour we found an Internet spot, sent the people who's house it was an email and found a McDonald's to crash at for awhile. At this point we tried the apartment again but still no answer. We went back to the Internet shop and there was word that someone would be there to let us in. We went and still nothing! I still can't believe I didn't break down crying. Brady found us a random hotel and we planned on staying there while in Rome. The next day the people sent us and email apologizing for the mishap and told us we could stay there as their guests. Just when we think everything is going to work out the hotel won't let us check out, so we had to pay for the night even though we weren't staying.

We got to our new place and once we were in it couldn't have been better. They had left some little toys for Millie and since they lived right next door Millie would go over and play with their two little kids. A 4 year old boy Tomy, who she adored and a 2 year little girl LuLu, they didn't really like each other. It's funny how well she played with Tomy even though they didn't speak the same language. We were so happy to be their guest and that everything worked out in the end. Now to get to the good stuff! The first day we were having housing issues we obviously didn't do anything, but Friday we hit the Vatican.

The Flamm's Have arrived at the Vatican. It was really cool to see the Vatican. We were able to go into St. Peter's Cathedral where the Pope attends his service. It was beautiful. We then waited in a 2 hour line (Millie was sleeping) to see get in and see the Vatican as well as the Sistine Chapel.

I was amazed to find out that "the Creation of Adam" was only a tiny part of the Sistine ceiling. It was covered with magnificent art.

We headed back to our hotel and found a little park for Millie. She couldn't have been happier.

Saturday we moved our things to our new place in Rome and headed to the Colosseum. WOW was it cool. After the Colosseum we walked up past the Roman Forum and to Piazza del Campidoglio. Just when you think we must have done enough for the day we hit up The local Hard Rock for some American Cuisine. We found some birds for Millie to feed and then went to see the Capuchin Church. It was pretty intense. There are skeletons of over 4,ooo monks decorating the hall. You can't take pictures but you should check out this website

We left for Florence on Sunday and we had a wonderful time! I loved Florence. Monday we went into the city center to check it out. What a beautiful city. We walked across one of the only bridges to survive WWII and into the city square. That evening (New Years Eve) we decided to watch the sunset over the city. It was a breathtaking view. Tuesday (New Years Day) EVERYTHING was closed, so we had a Millie day. We played outside at the park all afternoon and then played soccer (her favorite) back at our B&B.

Wednesday we got up early and waited in another two hour line in the freezing cold so we could have a chance to see some truly amazing artwork inside the Uffizi including The Birth of Venus by Bottille. Again you can't take pictures so if you want to see what masterpieces they have there check out their site at, it's one of the most famous art museums in the world.

There is an American War Cemetary/Memorial right outside Florence and I really wanted to see it. It's important to be reminded of it all. It brought tears to my eyes to see the graves of hundreds of men I didn't know. Brady's grandpa Ellsworth was in the group of men that liberated Buchenwald (the 1st concentration camp to be liberated) so when I see these graves and read their names I can't help but think how grateful I am for these men who fought along his side and died.

Thursday was rainy and yucky but we toughed it out and went to see the David by Michelangelo. I am so glad we did. It was by far one of my highlights. He is massive. I always thought the David was a little bigger then an average man but as you can see in the picture he towers over our heads. Michelangelo had even carved the veins in his hands, they were truly extraordinary. I could have stared at him all day. Millie loved him and kept saying, "I take this one home, OK mom?"

The David

While Millie napped I stayed back with her and Brady went to climb Gioto's Tower next to the Duomo. It's 414 steps.
GO Brady GO.
Brady's self portrait on top of the tower

Here's a picture of the Duomo and Giotto's tower (the tower is the white tower on the left)

Friday we headed home. We flew out of Pisa so we of course left Florence early so we could see the Leaning Tower. We were told not to make a special trip, but it was one of my highlights as well as Brady's. It was so cool to see it in real life! I was able to climb it and it was an amazing view. We also went to the Baptistry which is right next to it and at first I thought it was a waste of money. There was nothing really outstanding about it, but then a worker came in and had us all be silent so he could show off the acoustics of the place. It was stunning to say the least. It truly sounded as if the heavens had opened and angels were singing.

We still had time to kill so we headed into a little town next to Pisa called Lucca. It was so cute! I didn't really want to go but Brady talked me into it and I am so glad he did! There was the cutest little shops and covered market. Sadly Millie slept the whole time we were there because she too would have loved it. Everyone seemed to have a dog and they were selling baby bunnies, tiny turtles, birds and all sorts of goodies. There was a darling carousel and ice rink set up, to bad we didn't get to skate.

"help me, it's falling"

"aren't I strong"

I spotted this little camera at one of the venders and Millie was thrilled. She loves to pretend to take pictures and this was perfect. She was so cute. She told everything she saw to say "cheese". Oh how I love her.

We had to be to the airport about 7:30pm and we arrived in England at 4:30am Saturday morning! We had such an amazing time and it is a trip I will never forget. We are so lucky to be able to be here in England to be so close to all these wonderful things. Millie and I are pretty luckily and a little spoiled if I do say so myself. I almost forgot; I got the cutest red leather purse in Florence. Nancy bought me one when she was there a few years ago and I ruined it. I was so sad, but I was able to find the exact brand and it looks very similar. I love it!
Thank you Brady for everything.


Danalisa said...

Sounds like an amazing time!! I'm so glad you got to go! Your pictures of the tower are hysterical!! But, we missed you and it's nice to have you home.

Mike and Me said...

You don't say so your self, We say it with you. Thank you Brady for giving our baby and yours these amazing experiences that we get to share with you! What a wonderful trip. Millie looked like she had a ball and you all look so happy.What a great New Year it started out to be.
I can't wait to see you all in person! I can't believe its really happening. Hold on Brady your Mother in Law is coming for a little stay.

Duchess said...

What a grand adventure! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Heidi said...

Wow Amanda I am so so jealous I have never been to anywhere in Italy. And I have my degree in Art History so you can imagine- that is like the mecca! I really need to go someday. Sounds like an amazing trip.

Kristina said...

Wow! I totally didn't want to go back to Italy after experiencing Venice's summer odor and the lack of sit-down toilets in the rural North, but your post really made me want to go now! Love the pics! Looks like an awesome trip!

Justin and Emily said...

Hi, I was browsing Natalie and Rodneys blog and found yours. Amanda, you don't know me, but I went to High School with Brady. It looks like you guys are having a blast traveling Europe. I will have to keep myself updated on your favorite traveling destinations.

Scott and Katie said...

Sounds amazing! Italy is my dream vacation! How great that you got to see all the beautiful artwork/sculpture/architecture! What a neat experience! Millie is a doll!

lindsay Roscoe said...

Well sister you starting to be a little famous inthe blogging world. Wow wow wow wow you guys did so much. I loved hearing you tell me the story about the chapel that hadd the amazing acoustics hearing you say it and reading it is so different. You guys are blesses and one day my family and yours will travel together to some of these amazing places. I agree with Danalisa the tower pics are my favorite ecspecially Brady pushing it over...isn't that vandalism?! hehe

Darbee and Zach said...

What an AMAZING experience. I'm so glad you guys get this opportunity! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Justin and Emily said...

I had no idea you served your mission here, I love it here! If you ever want to stay at our house you are more then welcome. You could visit old members or just show Amanda the sights of your mission. Did you ever serve here in the Vilseck/Graf area?

Ames Family said...

Manda I love your pictures! Especially the one with Millie and her little camera. So cute!! It's funny, Ben and I took those same exact "hold up the leaning tower" poses when we were in Pisa. (I think it is a right of passage for all Italian tourists.)
Anyway, it looks like you had a wonderful time and saw some amazing things! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The Yarn Queen said...

WOW!!! Wonderful just like the story books.

Ashlie said...

We have a VERY similar experience with the hotel/hostel thing with people not being around to let us in...We showed up in the middle of the night, (like we had arranged beforehand), woke her up, and the lady wouldn't let us in! She acted like she didn't know who we were, what we wanted, etc. Then she told us to go somewhere else until the next day when she would be ready for us. Needless to say, we were a little po'd.Then the next day when we finally were allowed into her 'hostel' (which ended up being a ROOM IN HER HOUSE!) she slept right next to our door, in her kitchen. I think she thought we were going to plunder her stuff?! Then, to make matters worse/funnier in the long run, she went through our stuff while we were gone...
Every time we left the place, we had to walk through her dinning room and they always happened to have a million people over eating dinner. (Awkward)

Shelly said...

wow it sounds like you had an amazing tour around Europe! I would love to go see all of those amazing places someday! love you