when in Rome...

I've been meaning to get these up here for a while. Things have been crazy busy and many of you have emailed me asking to see pics from our latest trip.
So, here they are. Katie and I went on the trip of a lifetime to Rome, Greece, and Turkey to celebrate our tenth anniversary!
This is us at the Victory Arch, or Arch of Constantine. The roads that lead to Rome from the East, West, North and South all met at this arch and the armies would return to this spot to claim victory in their battles.

This was an amazing cafe in the Campo de Fiori. If you ever get the chance go to Campo de Fiori, look for Cafe Moneserrato, ask for a table outside, some red wine and you have to try the polenta. It is TO DIE FOR!!!

You can't go to Rome without seeing the Colosseum, and you can't imagine the scale of this amazing building until you've spent the day walking around in it. It is truly breathtaking! The sense of history when you walk through those arches is just overpowering.

Right next to the Colosseum is the Forum Romano. This was basically the downtown area of Ancient Rome. The buildings were amazing. This building is showing signs of vandalism. Do you see the circular "rope burns" up high on the columns? Thieves tried to pull down these great columns to sell the marble. Thankfully they withstood the attack.

The Vatican. Majestic. So beautiful that it literally takes your breath away.

Katie didn't realize that she couldn't wear a shirt that exposed her shoulders into the Vatican so we had to buy this lovely Vatican themed scarf to cover up her dirty Western shoulders.

This is the Pantheon. This was a place of worship for those who served many gods. Pan=many, Theo=gods. The architecture was amazing. The guide told us that modern architects are completely baffled as to how the ancient builders were able to build a building, not only so large, but so perfectly balanced.

The inside of the dome of the Pantheon is architecturally perfect. It's a huge dome and the height and diameter of the interior circle form a perfect sphere within millimeters.

A trip to Rome wouldn't be complete without spending some time soaking in the sights and sounds of the Trevi Fountain. This became our favorite spot and we went back often during different times of the day to watch the crowds, feel the mist on our sunburnt faces and enjoy the soothing sounds of the fountain.

On to Greece! The Parthenon... I have wanted to check out the Parthenon for as long as I can remember. Like the Colosseum, the sense of history is overwhelming.

The view from the Acropolis is amazing. You can see the entirety of Athens and the sheer size of it is mind blowing. Athens and the surrounding areas contain over 3 million residents.

This is the view from Mars Hill, next to the Acropolis. This is the spot were ancient philosophers would gather to theorize, pontificate, and ponder existence and meaning. The Apostle Paul delivered an absolutely brilliant speech to the men of Athens at this very spot. That speech has been one of the most influential bits of Biblical history for me personally. This was a truly inspiring moment.

The Athenian Guard does not appreciate it when you giggle at their cute outfits, or the dangly bits on their clogs. They are very serious about what they do.

The Greek food was great, the wine was amazing, and the drunk Australians dancing in the street to the live Greek music was extremely entertaining.

We met up with our ship in Piraeus, a port of Athens to cruise to Turkey and the Greek Islands. We've never been on a cruise but it was great. The rocking motion takes a bit to get used to, and the water from the pool ends up all over the place, but it's a pretty cool way to travel.

Our first stop was Mykonos, and it's every bit as beautiful as everyone says that it is.

We made it just in time to catch the sunset at Paradise Beach. Paradise beach is consistently ranked as one of the top 5 most beautiful beaches in the world. Gorgeous.

Our next stop was the Muslim nation of Turkey. This is the Library at Ephesus. The story of Ephesus is amazing, and an ecological cautionary tale. Behind the Library is a vast sea of barren sand. It used to be a seaside port. The ships would come up right behind the Library and load and unload their cargo. When the Romans came to Turkey and conquered the Ephesians they pillaged all the trees for their building projects back in the mother land. With no root system to hold the soil in place a major earthquake shook loose the earth and there was a mudslide that devastated Ephesus and FILLED IN THE ENTIRE PORT. What use to be a seaside port now takes 45 minutes by bus from the modern port! The ground is barren and not a single thing grows in it. The saline content from the sea salt has rendered the soil completely useless.

Behold... The crapper. The Ephesians had a thing about the loo. These were prized seats, with plumbing and running water (that still works). They would pay top dollar to sit next to the movers and shakers of Ancient Turkey. There were hired musicians that would wander through the bathrooms entertaining the prestigious guests!

Don't judge me. You know you would have had a seat too.

The amphitheater at Ephesus is an amazing piece of ancient architecture. The Apostle Paul spoke here and this amphitheater is specifically mentioned in the Biblical book of Acts.

After Ephesus, we left Turkey and set sail for Rhodes. This ancient castle was so amazing inside.

The interiors were so incredible, the attention to detail is stunning!

After Rhodes we spent some time on Patmos, famous for being the island exile of John the Revelator. This island was used as a prison because of it's remote location. I'm not quite sure why the book of Revelations is so gloomy. Being stuck here doesn't seem so bad.

Through that doorway is the cave where John was imprisoned and wrote the book of Revelations. Again, Katie had to cover her dirty, dirty shoulders.

The iconic art was just amazing. The tiles used for these mosaics weather the ages much better than paint so we were actually permitted to touch these ancient works of art!

At our last stop we took these pirate-like boats from our ship to the beautiful city of Santorini.

To get to the village at the top of the volcanic shelf is so steep that the quickest way to get up is to rent a few donkeys! Isn't Katie adorable?

The road to the top is a long trek but once you get there the view is INCREDIBLE!!!

The beautiful architecture, brilliant whites, and deep blues look like the Greece you imagine when you close your eyes.

We stopped at a cafe to take in a beverage and wait for the sunset. This drink is made from cactus fruit. It was kind of sweet, and fruity, without being over the top sweet. It was however, over the top expensive. That drink and the beer cost over $30!

It was worth it though, to have such a great spot to watch the sunset on the last night of our cruise.

So, that's our trip. We came back refreshed, renewed, and so in love after ten years of marriage. Good times.


Brett Maxwell said...

dude. so jealous. I should schedule a similar trip now for my 10 year anniversary... only 9.5 to go!

if i remember correctly, that trough in front of the toilets would have water running through it and was where you put your wiping sponge to rinse for the next guy after you used it. gross.

Travis said...

Wow what a trip! Great pictures! Christina and I just came back from a trip to Rome as well. Though we just stayed in Italy. It looks like you guys saw a lot of great stuff and had an amazing time. Very very cool.

Travis and Christina

Dean Grey said...


What amazing shots!!

The picture of the Vatican was too perfect with the sunlight shining down through the window. Love that!

Thanks for sharing!