The Vatican

The Vatican


The sun was shining bright as we left the hotel to catch the #5 streetcar and A train to arrive at The Vatican.  The local guides were upon us as we got close to the Vatican Museum entrance.  They wanted $50 to get us priority entrance and a guided tour.  We once again took advantage of the Rick Steves audio guide and using our blue tooth earphones were able to negotiate the Vatican Museum at our pace and get a very well scripted tour.  The line to get into the museum was not very long.  After all, it was not the height of the tourist season.  This made the visit even more enjoyable.  No crowds.




Rome Day 2 - The Forum, Collona Trajana, Monumento a Vittorio Emaneule II, Fontana di Trevi

Rome Day 2 - The Forum, Collona Trajana, Monumento a Vittorio Emaneule II, Fontana di Trevi


We began our day at 8 with a wonderful breakfast at the hotel.  From there we took the #5 streetcar to Termini and caught the B train to the Colosseo and Forum.  We spent well over an hour in the Forum listening to a Rick Steves audio tour which guiding us around the site.  From the Forum we headed to view Trajan's Column which commemorates Emperor Trajan's victories during the Dacian Wars.  It is now topped by a statue of St. Peter, apostle of Jesus and first pope of the Roman Catholic Church.



Rome - Day 1 Colosseo

Rome - Day 1 Colosseo


The Donatello Hotel is small but comfortable.  Carlo checked us in and gave us a very good run down on how to efficiently get around to all the major sites.  After storing our luggage, it was off for lunch and then on to the metro and the Colosseo.


On to Rome

On to Rome



It snowed overnight and the rental car was covered in about 3 inches of the white stuff.  School was cancelled, however, the roads were in good shape.  We had a few bumps in the morning but all ended well.  Brian's credit card was denied when we tried to make a purchase.  Apparently, someone had attempted to make a $38,000 transaction on it and the bank shut down the card.  The charge was from a Japanese source.  Janet's charge card on the same account was not affected.  So, we can still use that account while traveling.  All of us were TSA Pre and expected to move quickly through the security checkpoint; however, Dwayne's passport was temporarily missing shortly after we passed through TSA security.  It was eventually found and we were soon in the British Air Lounge looking for something to fill our stomachs since we really didn't have a big breakfast.  The flight to JFK was short and uneventful.


Rendezvous in Columbia

Rendezvous in Columbia


January 15

Dwayne flew out of Kansas City and Carla from Charlotte, NC.  They arrived within minutes of each other at BWI and by chance had the same station for baggage claim.  It couldn't have been more convenient.  Even more amazing was Dwayne's brother, Brian. arrived a few minutes after the bags were recovered and pulled up right in front of the door for pick-up.  No time or effort wasted.  Shortly after, we were all together sitting at the kitchen table at Brian's enjoying hot pizza and beer that was ordered for delivery while we were returning from the airport.  At least we are starting our Round the World (RTW) tour in good order.  Let's hope our luck holds.



Jurassic Quest - Dinosaurs

Jurassic Quest - Dinosaurs


Dwayne took his grandson for a day outing to learn more about the boy's favorite subject: dinosaurs.  Jurassic Quest was in Kansas City.  So, it was off for the day of adventure.  True to life size dinosaurs were on display.  The automated dinosaurs moved and roared in their dioramas.  It was quite an impressive show.  We learned much about dinosaurs during our tour of the exhibits.  Afterwards, there were various activities to keep young and old humans entertained.  The dinosaur walk and baby dinosaurs were a big hit with the kids.  There were also rides, craft activities, bouncy houses and fossil hunts to keep everyone busy having fun and learning.  Afterward, it was a late supper at Culver's Restaurant for hamburgers and custard ice cream.  Then, home for some much needed rest.




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