Trip Report: Christmas in Rome and New Year’s in Barcelona

Due to our normal Thanksgiving/Christmas rotation Christmas fell this year with my family.  My mother decided it would be a good idea to gather everyone together in Rome for Christmas.  We would spending 5 nights in Rome with 11 people (My sister and her two children, my brother and his wife and three kids, my mom, and my wife and myself). Needless to say, I expected a little bit of chaos!  After our 5 nights in Rome, my wife and I left for 5 nights in Barcelona while my family continued on to Florence.  It was a refreshing way to spend Christmas.

Our itinerary (and blog breakdown) was as follows:

12/21 – ATL-FRA-FCO Lufthansa Business Class (A340-300 Old Business Class)

12/22-12/27 – Rome with my family.  Stayed at the Rome Cavalieri, part of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection

12/27 – FCO-BCN on Vueling (A320)

12/27-1/1 – Barcelona with my wife.  Stayed at the Hilton Diagonal Mar.

1/1 – BCN-FRA-ATL Lufthansa Business Class (A340-300 Old Business Class)

Rome Christmas Barcelona Christmas

Blog Update – July 2013

So, it has been a disgracefully long time since my last post.  Close to 6 months.  It was the result of a combination of factors and the most significant of those is that my wife and I relocated to Atlanta, GA this spring.  Selling our old house and setting up shop in a new city presented a lot of time-consuming activities, plus I started a new job which has kept me quite busy for the past several months.

That being said, I am making a commitment to begin posting more updates to the blog and will begin with this post detailing some of the upcoming travels we have booked through the end of 2013.  In addition to those specified below, I am going to try and put out a few more in my travel photos series.

July: Starwood status challenge results

August: Hotel Review: Westin Birmingham

September: No travel plans as of yet but I may try and get my wife to do a guest-posting review of the hotel she is staying at in Miami.

October: The Saint Hotel, Autograph Collection from Marriott in New Orleans, LA.  The Roosevelt, Waldorf-Astoria in New Orleans, LA

November: No travel plans as of yet.

December: Trip report from Green Bay, WI for Packers vs. Falcons game.  Lufthansa Business Class from ATL-FRA-FCO, return from BCN-FRA-ATL.  Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf-Astoria in Rome, Italy. Hilton Diaganol Mar in Barcelona, Spain.  Trip report from the Rome/Barcelona trip.

Travel Photos – The Coliseum (Rome)

I fully realize it has been too long since my previous post but I just haven’t made the time to do anything about it!  I am making a goal for myself going forward of no less than 1 new post every two weeks.  With that said, today I wanted to feature the Coliseum in Rome.  The Coliseum, to me, is one of the few ancient buildings where it is still quite easy to imagine what it looked like while in use, which makes it fascinating to walk around the arena.  Here are some of my favorite pictures of the Coliseum from my travels:

Coliseum Exterior

Coliseum Exterior

Coliseum Exterior

Coliseum Interior

Tip: To avoid waiting in the extremely long lines at the Coliseum, buy your ticket at the entrance of the Palatine Hill/Forum early in the morning and tour it first.  The exit of the Forum is right at the entrance to the Coliseum.


Travel Photos – The Pantheon (In Rome)

The Pantheon is one of my favorite structures in the entire world.  The fact that it is so beautifully preserved, unique and FREE combine to make it an all-time favorite. During my three visits to Rome I felt like I wound up passing by the Pantheon multiple times and going in at least once or twice a day as the interior changes as the light changes. There really doesn’t need to be an introduction for each picture as they speak for themselves.

Travel Photos – Vatican City

Today I am back with another installment of my travel photos series from Vatican City in Rome.  Vatican City may be small (110 acres) but it more than makes up for it with stunningly impressive sites.  Since words can’t properly describe the sites I will jump right into the pictures I took in April, 2011 during a trip with my wife.

St. Peter’s Basilica (***** – Regardless of how little time you have in Rome, St. Peter’s should be on any schedule)

Close view of St. Peter’s (if you look closely in the center steps in front the basilica you can see Pope Benedict XVI performing Easter Sunday Mass)

Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square presided over by the Pope.

St. Peter’s Basilica (this picture was taken from the top of the Castel Sant’Angelo)

View of St. Peter’s from Castel Sant’Angelo

Interior of St. Peter’s Basilica

Castel Sant’Angelo (*** – Worth it for the views alone)

Passetto (Pope’s passageway from the Castel Sant’Angelo to St. Peters Basilica)

Tip: The Vatican Museum is probably one of the best in the world and with that comes extremely long lines during peak travel periods.  To reduce wait time (and therefore increase your time spent doing more enjoyable activities) get there very early when the museum opens if possible.   This will allow you to spend the rest of the day sightseeing in Rome, versus waiting in the heat to get in!