My good friend Rasheed and his wife Andrea (married in Vancouver, Canada this July) are going on their honeymoon to Paris and Rome. After talking to Rasheed with my own travel tips for both destinations, it brought back fond memories for me. I'm reposting pictures taken from my 2008 Europe trip, starting with Rome.
I worked in Rome for a week. It was my second visit to this magnificent city. Although I didn't have much time to tour around due to my work schedule, I did get a chance to explore a few more places. I met this beautiful Italian woman and her son on our trip from Los Angeles to Rome. It took us almost 24 hours to get to Rome. Our first leg was canceled due to aircraft issue from LAX to Chicago. We then barely made it to our Chicago - London transfer, before moving on to Rome from London. They lost my luggage for a day when I got to Rome...what a travel nightmare!
This woman owns a clothing boutique in Rome and was visiting friends with her son. Here's us at the British Airways lounge at London Heathrow Airport before moving on to Rome.
I stayed at the then Hilton Cavalieri (now a Waldorf Astoria hotel). This hotel is situated atop of one of the seven hills in Rome. This is the view from my room!
After settling in, I visited the city before meeting up with my colleagues for dinner. I'm back at Piazza Barberini.
It was a beautiful warm summer evening by the Tiber River.
My view at night. Isn't this gorgeous? I slept with my curtains open the last night I stayed here.
I had a free day the next day to adjust to the time. I decided to visit a few places mentioned in Dan Brown's "Angel & Demon" novel that I didn't get a chance to see when I visited Rome in 2004. Here's me at one of the corners of Four Fountains.
No trip to Rome is complete until you visit the stunning Trevi Fountain. I tossed a coin in 2004 to promise to return, and I fulfilled my promise.
I kept exploring the city by foot. Rome's charm lies in all the old/historic buildings mixed in with the new. You'd turn a corner and encounter ancient buildings and monuments sitting next to newer buildings.
Despite being a busy touristy place, I HAD to visit my favorite building in Rome, the Pantheon. I took a picture at this same spot back in November 2004. :)
The sun was shining in through the dome of the Pantheon like a flashlight.
LOVE THIS PLACE! I could spend hours in here.
After admiring all the intricate artworks and designs of the Pantheon, I went over to Piazza Navona. Here's the most famous and beautiful fountain on this piazza, the Fountain of the Four Rivers.
It was lunch time, so I had some yummy pasta on the piazza enjoying the view.
After lunch, I went to visit the Italian woman's boutique, which was on the main shopping street, Via del Corso. This street leads to Piazza del Popolo.
I hung around Via del Corso and randomly turned into a side street to discover this old church. One of the reasons I love Europe so much is you get to see free art everywhere you turn inside these old churches.
The Italian woman told me there's a cafe close by that has this "caffè speciale" and I MUST try it. I don't recall the name of it now, but after searching online and looking at the store images, I believe it was Sant’Eustachio Il Caffé. This "special" coffee is espresso with one scoop of cream and one scoop of chocolate that they make fresh daily. I sipped it standing at the bar like a true Italian and it was amazing!
Then, I visited the Spanish Steps.
And St. Peter's Basilica.
A dead Pope laying around???
The famous St. Peter's statue where people go and rub its right foot for good luck. (I didn't do it.)
Beautiful sculptures inside St. Peter's.
All the past Popes.
If I remember correctly, Bernini sculpted this.
I told myself in 2004 that if I return to Rome, I'd want to climb to the top of St. Peter's Basilica.
I was right underneath the dome!
Going up! Lots of stairs...great work out!
I made it!!!
Looking at Vatican City and its crest on the lawn.
The Vatican Swiss Guard. Their uniform has not changed since 1914.
Work began the next day. We had dinner at the La Pergola restaurant at the Cavalieri. The balcony overlooks Rome while the sun was setting. It was breathtaking.
Dinner after work the next evening was at an old Palace.
Beautiful ceiling work inside the Palace.
After work ended, my colleagues and I went out to dinner on our last night in Rome. I took them to one of the oldest gelato shop in Rome, Giolitti. It was refreshing on a hot summer night.
Pantheon at night. It is so great that Romans can just go hang out at these ancient buildings any time of the day.
Visiting Trevi Fountain one last time...
We hung out with the locals at the Spanish Steps before heading back to the hotel. This was midnight in Rome!
Next stop, London for 23 hours before heading on to Amsterdam and Brussels.
View entire photo album of my 2008 Europe trip here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/purplejoy/sets/72157618396910556/