Thursday, November 19, 2009

Rome and the Potty

"Rome and the Potty" - sounds a little bit like a fairy tale, similar to "The Princess and the Pea" doesn't it?! But honestly that is what I felt like. Rome was our first adventure after 4 devoted days of successful potty training. I cannot believe the amount of confidence it takes to step out with an unprotected toddler for the first time after going cold turkey without diapers. I was a nervous wreck. We packed an endless amount of extra clothes and towels and crossed our fingers that we would survive clean and dry. Thankfully Connor was incredible. She was almost perfect with her training. She pooped in her little pink potty both days at Vatican City. Not sure what that says about the Pope or how he would feel about her going right there in front of Saint Peter's, but hey whatever works.

Kirk and I traveled to Rome 6 years ago on our European tour. It was one of the few places we swore we would return to one day. Rome is everything a European capital should be. Chock full of history, lore, and romance. Even with a toddler it was hard not to feel passion strolling the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, and Pantheon. I could stay put in Rome for a month and still long for more.

We found another deal with Priceline. The hotel was near the train station so we jumped on the metro Saturday morning to travel to our first stop - the Roman Catacombs. Click here to learn more about the fascinating history of the Christian Catacombs.
We burrowed down like gophers within the miles and miles and layers upon layers of underground burial mazes. We learned about the Christian history of persecution and all the religious art and symbols left behind from the 2nd century!
I will say that taking a newly potty-trained Connor underground with a guided tour group did make things interesting - to say the least. No accidents though! Just two very nervous parents. Something about the risk of peeing on the ancient burial grounds. Would not have been good.
From the catacombs we took a bus to The Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. This church is the burial spot for the Apostle Paul and is one of the prettiest churches in Rome. Since it is outside the main ancient sites I don't think many make it here, but we were glad we did. The alabaster windows were surreal - both in quantity and quality!
From there we went 'inside the walls' to the Vatican Museum. I love Rome. This street painting against the classic Italian backdrop brought it all together in a single snapshot. Ancient and edgy Roma - incredible.
At the Vatican we met up with Kirk's childhood friend, Brianne. Brianne was visiting Italy with her husband, Scott, her parents, and her sisters in celebration of her parents' 40th anniversary. Brianne being there was a helpful magnet to draw us to Rome. Our time together was fabulous to catch up in a one-of-a-kind setting.
The Vatican Museum was dripping with elegant ornateness. I don't even understand the history of the Catholic church that would necessitate this level of art and detail. Impressive. Yes. Actually beyond impressive. I have never seen anything like this.And of course... the highlight and showpiece of the Vatican Museum was the Sistine Chapel. It looked so radically different than what I pictured in my head. The room was much smaller than I envisioned and the level of movement and action in the paintings was more chaotic. No photos allowed inside - these are from the internet - and also no sitting down. It makes taking it all in a tad challenging. You know the famous part of the chapel where God is touching man? That really is such a small spec on an enormous canvas.
Towards the end of the day we went with Brianne and her family to Saint Peter's church. WOW.
The dome is so big you do a triple take. Or maybe a 'one-hundred take'!!!I pictured the scenes from several years ago when the Cardinals locked themselves inside to silently vote for a new Pope. And all the people waited outside for the smoke indicating agreement on new Pope. The art and architecture in Saint Peter's is paralyzing. And stunning. And every other adjective you can think of.
There were angelic choir boys singing Mass when we were there. Connor ate it up. She loved the little boys singing. A great distraction and motivator to move through the church.
I am relieved and happy to report we made it through the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter's Cathedral without peeing on the floor! Phew! I was a little worried.
The sun set at Saint Peters as we left. And the most mysterious phenomenon happened. We looked up and saw the above scene. Can you see the black mass of bats in the air? They flew in formations making black dot waves in the sky.
Kirk did a great job capturing the scenes around us as the sun set.
We wanted to eat dinner in the famous Piazza Navona. And we were so exhausted from a busy day that we just picked a place that looked alright and plopped everything down. Then we looked at the menu. Holy smoke! Everything was quadruple the price of anywhere else in town. We drank the wine we ordered and beelined it out of there, hungry but determined not to be taken for all we were worth. We found a delicious place on a side street and our Italian meal of cheese, tomatoes, pasta, and pizza was just right.
More to come from Day Two in Rome... Rome rocked!

1 comment:

julie said...

I am really enjoying your blog and I can't wait to read even more!
I am so glad you didn't need to use the Potty at the Catacombs. My girls' worst memories of Rome would have to be the facilities at the ancient burial grounds. Their best memory would have to be seeing the Pope and hearing him greet the massive crowds in 17 different languages!