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Day 2 – Roma

We had training in Saturday morning with EF Tours. I woke up exhausted, but luckily after a quick-lunch and a trip to the Vatican – I was energized! It was probably one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.

For lunch we went to Tradizione & Fantasia; it was near where we were supposed to meet our group, and we saw some other teachers inside eating pizza.


I wish I would have made a better selection. The eggplant, spinach, and zucchini dish sautéed with olive oil and garlic was yummy; if I would have had three plates of them, I might have been full.img_9903

I ordered a gluten-free pasta with mushrooms – since the mushrooms the day before were so delicious. Well, 25 minutes later, the waitress informed me that the pasta had eggs. Boo. So she recommended the sea food salad. It was not my cup of tea. The salad itself was delicious, but cold octopus, fish, squid, and musels made me want to gag. Blah. This is what I got for being adventurous, and trying to avoid getting sick. Nevertheless, I picked out the seafood, put on some DiGize (it is a must for traveling!), and headed to the Vatican. Soon after I felt better, and I forgot about that nasty cold seafood on my plate.


Although I’m Christian, I’m not Catholic, and I didn’t think that I would have loved the Vatican as much as I did. I stood staring at the beautiful marble statues, artifacts, history, gold tapestries, architecture, and paintings for 4 hours. I was always the last one behind the group.
















Threads of gold




I can’t explain the awe that I felt in the Sistine Chappel, and a deep respect for Michelangelo – not only for his incredible talent, but also for the physical suffering that he must have endured in his body (especially his neck and back) for his faith and passion for art. He really earned his reputation. How did he paint 399 people in that ceiling in only 4 years? Just insane. I don’t have any images of it, because photos aren’t allowed.

From the Sistine Chappel, we moved outside and then went into St. Peter’s Basilica.






After our tour, we went to the Vatican Shops, and I picked up a Papa Fransisco (Pope Francis) card and coin for my sweet friend. She has a picture of the Pope in her Spanish classroom; once a student asked her about the photo – and she replied, “It’s culture! He’s Argentine!” I also got a little necklace for my daughter; hopefully she likes it.

For dinner we explored on our own, and came across Vitti. img_0240img_0221I loved the decor – reminded me of a typical European movie. img_0225img_0235The waiters were sweet and so accommodating with my allergies. I asked what was the safest thing for me to eat – and he said steak is the only thing they guarantee to be safe and not cross-contaminated. Done. Here’s my take – these carrots were steamed and plain, but I know how to add salt. The salad was good (I love how Italians do natural olive and vinegar instead of our processed dressing); the steak was very filling, a little fatty, but sometimes that gives meat more flavor. I was starving. Presentation was a lacking…


I wish I could have tried some of the desserts. One was a cheesecake with apples at the base and raspberries on top. I might try to steal their idea and make them dairy, egg, and gluten free!


After the dinner we explored the city; we checked out little stores with beautiful purses and shoes, and ordered gelato. I have to say Wonderful Ice Cream lived up to its name. Since I was torn between both the dark chocolate and the mango – I got both. A medium was not enough; I should have gotten a large. It was amazing!


IMG_0244.jpgWhile walking the streets on the way to the Piazza Popolo, we met some other teachers from our Tour Group. They were eating gelato as well. The guys in the shop were telling me that their gelato was better than Wonderful Ice Cream’s. So they had me do a taste test with their dark chocolate. I have to say, Wonderful Ice Cream won. Sorry. Although, I couldn’t have the candy bar ones…img_0247


That night Carmen and I came together in solidarity to relax; I turned on 10 hours of relaxing rain sounds from YouTube to block out any snoring (sometimes I talk too in my sleep) and put a couple drops of Cedarwood on my feet. We also applied some Cypress and Panaway to our low-back and neck. (If you haven’t tried these oils, message me, and I will show you what you are missing! They are a must have for traveling!) The discomfort from looking up at the Vatican’s ceilings was worth it though. When Michelangelo painted ceilings, you will take the back tightness gladly that comes after a half a day at the Vatican of staring upwards.

However, I would have splurged for a decent bed if I had been given the opportunity to do so; they were sooooo hard. Would you rather have a mattress that’s too hard or sagging in the middle? Decisions decisions… Let’s just say it wasn’t a Marriott.

In the end, whatever we did – it worked too well. We overslept, and missed an hour of our Sunday morning meeting! Agh!!!! It made me think of what we called the “walk of shame” back at Ole Miss – watching college girls walk down fraternity row at 9 am on a Sunday in their clothes from the night before. I felt awful, doing my “walk of shame” into that meeting, but at the same time I was very rested. Lesson learned – maybe I don’t need the rain noise up that loud!


Day 1 – Roma

After a very long flight, we arrived at the airport. There, I learned 5 very important things: (1) The phrase “Gluten Free” is universal, (2) uovo is egg, (3) latteria is dairy, (4) cappuccino de soya gets you a very great cup, and (5) not everyone speaks Spanish or English.

Let me tell you, I needed that cappuccino – I drenched myself in Dream Catcher, and took a Benedryl in order to make sure I rested at least a little on the plane. Yesterday was a long day…15975137_10154099456871283_7453963731543203390_o

We headed out-of-town to our Hotel Capannelle, settled in, and then, started exploring in the rain. We searched for this little hardware store in a neighborhood so that I could get a converter for 5.60 Euros. I seemed to have taken the right converter out of the suitcase, and included all the wrong ones instead. I have never even been to China, but somehow that converter was in my suitcase. I really couldn’t believe it. Ugh. On the way back to the hotel, we found a hidden gem – a restaurant named Hostaria Antico Lotto (Vino e Cucina). It was what I’d except to see in Italy, the decorations, food, etc. IMG_9691.jpgimg_9692 That’s my friend Carmen!


Our blonde waiter was adorable; he gave us a little Italian lesson (I learned to count to 10), was so patient with our lack of Italian, and asked the chef what he could make me given my allergies. We started with an antipasto (a base of olive oil, prosciutto, olives, and spring mix), and they even surprised me with gluten-free crackers! They didn’t look as fabulous as my friend Carmen’s homemade bread, but I was delighted. The olives were harder than I expected, but no pits in side. img_9695

They had a gluten-free spaghetti, and recommended a spaghetti dish with olive oil, garlic, parsley, a tiny bit of green onion, and clams. I said, thank you! It was so simple, but delicious.img_9699

At this point, we were too stuffed for dessert, but he brought me two dark chocolates (chocolotina) and two homemade biscotti for my friend; the plate was lightly decorated with ground pistachios and peanuts. We made room for a little more, before having to go meet our EF Tour group.img_9702 Soon we headed to the Piazza Navona and the Trevi Fountain. img_9720

img_9746img_9730IMG_9756.jpgimg_9740img_9739I love all the architectural details on the buildings.IMG_9788.jpgimg_9791img_9793-1



I took pictures of doors, because I LOVE taking pictures of doors. Is that weird?! img_9752img_9768img_9932img_9800


Since the Pantheon (from 2007 BC) was converted into a church, it was adorned with beautiful art work and statues.




img_9822-1img_9840We stood for a while and listened to a man sing opera in front of the Pantheon. What a beautiful voice!

For dinner, we headed to the Faciolaro for a dinner included with our EF Tour. IMG_9854.jpg

By then, I discovered that most places have gluten-free pasta. They made me a very simple gluten free pasta, with olive oil, garlic and mushrooms. I didn’t know mushrooms could taste this succulent, and the pasta was the highlight of my dinner. img_9846For the next course, they brought me a chicken breast with olive oil and garlic, olive oil and garlic potatoes, and a simple salad with olive oil and vinegar. Good thing I love olive oil and garlic! img_9849For dessert, they brought me two very sweet slices of melon. I was slightly jealous of everyone’s tiramisu; I wished they had offered a vegan gluten free one!img_9851

We walked under a full moon back to the bus, and I admired the charming displays in front of the restaurants; sweet touches that you don’t see in the United States.img_9859