Italy–Part III; Sistine Chapel

You could imagine after a half marathon, then a walk-a-thon in Rome, then a train to Pisa and a train to Florence and a train back to Rome, that we would be exhausted. We were. But, I had the Sistine Chapel on my list and we had to.

We left the hotel Wednesday morning to city center Rome where we would then decide if we should take the metro to Vatican City or walk.

Of course we walked 🙂

We ate, bought gelato, and got moving.

We went without a plan. We hadn’t pre-purchased tickets to see the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, or St. Peter’s Basilica. (I recommend doing this if you ever travel to Rome.) When we got there, we had no idea what was what. What we did know was that it. was. crowded. Apparently, tourism in Rome was nothing compared to tourism in Vatican City.

Trying to figure out where to go was tough. We couldn’t really find anyone or anywhere to ask for help and other tourists seemed just as lost and confused as us. There were a ton of people selling “speed tickets” or tickets to skip the lines and we tried asking where we could buy tickets the normal way but they were insistent on only giving us info for their pricey ones.

We finally realized that we were in front of St. Peter’s Basilica and that the line for that was approximately 2 hours and that the Sistine Chapel had a 4 hour wait. Separate lines for each.

In front of St. Peter's Square

In front of St. Peter’s Square

We went with the Sistine Chapel and it took us 3 and a half hours.

The line wrapped around the wall that separates Vatican City to Rome. We were caught off guard at how long the line was but knew that this was the only item on our agenda for the day. We were going to do it.

I think we were so tired at this point that we didn’t even think to take a picture of the line, the crowd, or anything nearby lol. I did get this picture as we snailed along though.

Calle de Vatican

Viale Vaticano

After a few hours and sun burnt neck, we made it to the entrance. Yay!


See that empty space right in front of the entrance? Yeah, that space with no line? That’s for people who pre-paid in advance. Doh!

Once you’re inside:



I don't know the story behind this acorn :(

I don’t know the story behind this acorn 😦

It was in this area that I saw people taking bits of grass and leaves from bushes and taking it with them.

When we found another entrance, we began our walk towards the Sistine Chapel. You couldn’t go directly to it but had to walk pretty much the entire place before finally reaching it. I’d say it took us about an hour and a half including the stops we made to take pics and look around.

(Prepare for picture overload)



I thought the statue above my head was creepy pretty cool.

I thought the statue above my head was creepy pretty cool.



A ceiling

This is a ginormous rug. It really amazed me.

This is a ginormous rug. It really amazed me.

Different angle

Different angle

The entrance to awesomeness

The entrance to awesomeness

This isn't the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling but it was breathtaking nonetheless (even somewhat more than the Chapel to be honest)

This isn’t the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling but it was breathtaking nonetheless (even somewhat more than the Chapel to be honest)


Wall of one of the rooms we passed through.


Everything was overwhelmingly detailed.


Love this view. You can really see how impressive each room is both in size and decor.


It was soon after this ^ room that we walked in to the Sistine Chapel. No pictures were allowed. There was a booming voice heard throughout mandating this. We still saw people pretend to not hear (and we might have let a finger slip on our own phones).

It was smaller than I pictured but still incredibly beautiful. I really wanted to see the famous Creation of Adam painting and it was easy to spot and very breathtaking. I couldn’t believe I was seeing it in person with my own eyes. You see it sometimes, in a book or on tv, but it was right there. Right there!

We hung out for a while and then made our way to the Sorti (exit).

We spent the rest of the day (it was evening at this point) doing some shopping. I couldn’t leave Italy without buying an Italian leather purse (yay!) and souvenirs for my family.


Our flight for Paris the next day wasn’t too early but we were pretty tired and decided to head back and get some rest.

But not before getting a last Italian gelato though 🙂

–Do you like art? I’m not a huge art aficionado but I love historical art like the Creation of Adam and The Last Supper (if we ever come back to Italy, Milan is on our list)

–Have you stood in a 4 hour line before?

Next and final stop: Paris, France!!

Our first two days in Italy are here and here. Our time spent in Spain, here and here. Thanks for visiting!!



Italy–Part II; Pisa and Florence

Our second day in Italy we knew would be a long one. We planned on taking the train from Rome to Florence to Pisa and back again all in one day.

If you’ve been with me for a while, you’ll remember when we did San Francisco in a day. My husband and I don’t mess around lol!

Again, we were smart thinkers as far as planning was concerned because since our hotel was literally at the airport, we also had direct access to the metro. So, bright and early, we took the metro to the train station to downtown Rome. We made sure to leave plenty early in case we needed to figure things out when we got there. Thankfully, It turned out to be easier than we expected.

Breakfast of champs--bread and a coke

Breakfast of champs–bread and a coke

The metro station was seriously a happening place. There were a ton of little stores to shop at with super cute stuff. This was surprising to me but I could see how it would be profitable.

On the train. The views were amazing.

On the train. The views were amazing.

We connected in Florence and had about 40 minutes to spend. We could’ve bought a ticket straight from Rome to Pisa but we wanted to stop there on our way back and hang out. We didn’t mind this pit stop; we stretched out our legs and hung out a while.

Once we got back on, about an hour and a half later we were in Pisa.

First, I have to say that this was (ahhh!! I can’t believe I’m using past tense!!!) the #1 place I wanted to go to before I die. For some reason, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has always fascinated me and when people would ask my dream place to visit, I’d always say there. Just to see the tower.

We stopped by an information desk for a map and got to walking. On our way there, we crossed a bridge with just a stunning view:

It was seriously just like the movies.

It was seriously just like the movies.

This road led us straight to the tower. I was walking ahead of my husband; I was seriously a little kid about to go to their favorite store! I saw the tower peaking from the sky and stopped dead in my tracks. There it was.

My eyes welled up and I whispered to my husband, “Do you see it?” He told me to stay still, that he wanted to capture this moment. Me incredibly happy.

Best day of the entire trip, hands down.

Best day of the entire trip, hands down.

We kept going and it just got bigger and bigger and I became more and more excited.

We crossed the street and heeeelllloooo people! Really, the first thing I saw were a ton of people taking pictures of their friends and family “holding” up the tower. It was hilarious!

I had to take a picture of the people taking pictures.

I had to take a picture of the people taking pictures.

And then it was our turn. Get comfortable. Tower picture overload is about to ensue.



My husband wanted to bring back a souvenir for the kids.

My husband wanted to bring back a souvenir for the kids.

It was so funny hearing the people around me. There were moms yelling, “No! You’re not doing it right! More to the left. Higher!” And husbands and kids so over taking billions of pics. LOL! Luckily, my husband was totally cool with filling up our camera phones.



Two of my favorite pics:

Got in an ab workout while I was there :)

My ab workout

Leaning Helly and Leaning Tower

Leaning Helly and Leaning Tower

Once we finished out photo shoot (you only got a glimpse), we walked back to the train station but not without making a pit stop for gelato along the way.

The train dropped us off in Florence where I wanted to cross off another bucket list item– to see in person the statue of Michelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’ Accademia.

There was a 45 minute wait in line that moved quickly and then we were in.

No pictures were allowed (although we may or may not have snapped one accidentally). We sat on a bench and stared fascinated for a full thirty minutes. It was breathtaking.

I’m just astounded first, by how intricate the statue is. It’s so incredibly detailed. Second, that this still exists! And that it’s all one piece after so many years. I’m blown away by history sometimes –at how things were done, what people were thinking when they were doing things, how long things have lasted. It amazes me.

When we left the museum, we headed to the shopping district so to speak and I was able to window salivate at Hermes, Dolce & Gabbana, Christian Dior, and other European fashion houses. How I don’t have a picture of this, I don’t know.

We visited another massive church as we walked back to the train station:




And then we ate gelato, again 🙂 It would’ve been nice to hang out longer but we had to catch our train and only had one more day left in Italy.

We got back to our hotel around 9 and we were pooped. We thought it’d be a good idea to have a drink to really put us to bed:

Took a break from the vino--Italy's beer was actually pretty yummy.

Took a break from the vino–Italy’s beer was actually pretty yummy.

And that was Day 2! Here’s if you missed Day 1 of Italy, and/or if you missed my time in Spain go here and here 🙂

Next stop, Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel!

–What’s on your list of places to go or things to see? (I can’t believe I’ve crossed quite a few off already!!)





Throwback Thursday–Costa Rican Honeymoon

Maybe because it’s “cold” here in Arizona (I feel horrible even typing that), but my honeymoon came to mind as I was sipping hot chocolate last night.

We took our honeymoon a few months after our wedding because we had just gotten the keys to our new home three days before we got married; we clearly had a lot of things going on at the time!

We chose Costa Rica as our honeymoon destination because we liked that it had a lot to offer. We could hike, swim, and do touristy stuff in the city. And we could zip line!!!

We spent 4 days there and the first day we went straight to the fun : )

Here I am getting ready…

Don't let the smile fool ya--I was scared!

Don’t let the smile fool ya–I was scared!

This is what awaited me…



The first time you do it it’s scary as all hell. But afterwards, it’s….freaking…awesome!!!

Now I'm just showing off ; )

Now I’m just showing off ; )

It’s definitely one of the craziest things I’ve ever done. Sky diving and bungee jumping have zero appeal to me and not doing them ever in my life would be totally okay. But zip lining for some reason was something that I thought was doable crazy. Like even though I knew I would be terrified, I was curious.

We chose to do the full ride which was 14 zip lines. They happen pretty quickly. After you’d do one, you’d land on a platform to the next and so forth. You get absolutely stunning views. Really though, you wouldn’t catch views like that from any where else.


Afterward, we relaxed by taking a ride through the rain forest. This ride took us high up to the tops of the trees. Again, breathtaking.

I'm second from the left.

I’m second from the left.

At the top top top

At the top top top

The next day we went on a hike and looked at some of the cool stuff that was around.

You don't want to mess around with these guys..

You don’t want to mess around with these ..

A butterfly comes out with its full grown wings....I didn't know that

A butterfly comes out with its full grown wings….I didn’t know that

This was a huge leaf.

This was a huge leaf.

Then it was beach time!!

Insert pic of alcoholic beverage

Insert pic of alcoholic beverage

Oh, just hanging out...

Just hanging out…

Me and my new buddy.

Me and my new buddy.

Finally, we did some touristy stuff in the city:

Traffic and buildings everywhere!

Traffic and buildings everywhere!


Like our San Francisco trip, my husband and I took full advantage of the time we had in Costa Rica; we don’t mess around! Even though we were crazy busy running around doing stuff, we had so much fun and we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way : )

–What’s your favorite vacation spot?

–Have you been to Costa Rica?

–If you could choose anywhere to travel to, where would you go? (we still want to hit up Europe!)

Don’t forget!! The giveaway is still happening!! Click here to enter to win 35 FREE dollars to use towards a Road ID purchase. Yes, FREE!!