Determined to make the most of the short time that we had left on the continent, we decided to get up early to squeeze in a few sights before our reservation at the Vatican Museum: the Spanish Steps and the former Roman Baths.
As our hotel was so close to the Spanish Steps, we walked the few blocks to the top of the steps. Even though the steps themselves are nothing really spectacular to see, we decided that it would be a good opportunity to slow down and drink in the last moments of Rome. We wandered down the steps and stopped along the way to take a few pictures. At the bottom of the steps, we did some browsing in the shops and then boarded the metro to take us to the Roman Baths.
After we were done at the Baths we needed some lunch. Since all the was around the Baths was a McDonald's, we decided that we'd take the Metro out to Vatican area and grab a bite to eat there. To keep me from getting too hungry, Hubby bought me a piece of fresh coconut - that made me happy beyond words.
After getting a bite to eat and eating a couple scoops of gelato, we headed to the Vatican Museum to make our reservation. I have to admit, by this point in the trip we were kind of over museums. However, we decided to take a leisurely stroll through the museum to view the amazing collection. I still can't believe the collection of paintings, sculptures, and other valuables that the Catholic church has amassed over the years; it's too impressive for words.
All through the museum there were signs pointing the way to the Cappella Sistina (the Sistine Chapel). Even all the "hype" through the museum, and the iconic pictures that I've seen of it over the years couldn't have prepared me for the magnitude of its beauty. Words can't even describe it. How that ceiling was painted is incomprehensible.
Back at our hotel we changed and headed downstairs for some pre-dinner cocktails. A couple of other hotel guests had recommended a nearby restaurant, so Hubby and I decided to check it out for our last dinner in Rome (and Europe).
We couldn't have picked a better place to eat. It was friendly, the food was fabulous, and it was the perfect place to celebrate our last night in Europe and reflect on our vacation. During dinner we talked of all the places we visited, and the adventures that we encountered. We also talked of everything that we were excited about coming home to: our own bed, our friends and family, and our kitty cats. We sipped the prosecco and lemoncello and promised ourselves that this first trip would not be our only visit to Europe.
After dinner, we weren't quite ready to head in for the night and decided to make one last visit to the Colosseum. We wanted to see it glowing against the darkness of the night sky; to soak up the last precious moments.
After our visit was complete and we decided to make our way back to the hotel, I sat in the metro station silently thinking about our trip and how far we'd come - not just in distance, but also in our relationship.
This trip had been more than a trip; it was a chance for us to re-connect. Not that we were dis-connected, but life just seems to go by so quickly sometimes that it was good for us to be able to spend three whole weeks together, just enjoying us. We were now closer than ever; we felt more connected.
We learned that together, as a team, we can overcome any obstacles that we are faced with: sickness, language barriers, navigating the confusing roads of the French countryside, catching trains, planes, and cabs. These were all smaller versions of challenges that we'll face in our life together; we just need to work together and we'll conquer them eventually.
We connected with family and realized, more than ever, that it's not "stuff" that makes you happiest in life; it's your experiences, and the people that you share those experiences with, that will truly give you a fulfilling life.
We learned to slow things down, to stop and enjoy a cold glass of prosecco, or a cup of coffee and a freshly-baked croissant. It's those small moments that make you appreciate "the moment".
We experienced new and different things; we met new people; we learned to be thankful that we're able to live such a blessed life. And we can't wait to go back again.