Thursday, July 7, 2022

2022 Italy/Germany/Austria Day 1

Way back in 2019, we booked and paid for a trip in June of 2020, "The Best of Italy." We all know what happened in 2020. Our world shut down. We had been in Israel during the first half of Februry and were home only a couple of weeks before the world began to close. We assumed it would be for just a couple of weeks but as the days wore on, we received notice that our trip was cancelled. It was rescheduled for June of 2022. 

So on June 20, we loaded our suitcases into my car, stopped at our friend's house, and headed to the Birmingham airport. Our friend took my car back to her driveway for the 14 days we would be gone.

Our group was split. Part of the group had flown out earlier and they were flying through Chicago and then on to Rome. Our group flew from Birmingham to Atlanta and then on to Rome.

traveling involves so much "hurry up and wait"

We were finally on the plane

If any of you have traveled with a group before, you know that your plane touches down, you grab your luggage, you meet up with your tour guide, you get on a bus, and you go see something . . .even though you haven't been to bed and there is a 7 hour time difference. They try hard to keep everyone awake until dinner time so you can adjust quickly. I never seem to have that much trouble adjusting when I arrive . . .but jet lag when I get home is very real.

Here we are with our neighbors - their flight
arrived before ours and they had to wait. We
actually look ok to have been traveling as many
hours as we had.

Our first stop was the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. We grabbed a sandwich in the little cafe - our first "Italian" food.

first stop - cafe and bathrooms

The bread on our trip was so good!

Everything was so big -- I took
a picture when this man walked
by simply so I could remember
the size!

The sarcophagus of the apostel in unpolished
marble, is in the place where the emperor Constantine had the first altar built.
The ancient apse of Constantine of the year 324 was at the west end of
the first basilica. The emperor Theodosius constructed a
larger basilica.

We walked around the Basilica which stands over the place where Emperor Canstantine built the first church over the grave of Paul, the Apostle.

We hopped back on the bus and headed to the Catacombs -- Catacombe San Callisto. Several people have asked about my favorite part of the trip. This was one of my favorite parts. A young monk was our tour guide. We couldn't take any photos but it was amazing to think of those early Christians having "church" underneath the ground . . .and to think of all those who had been buried there . . .all of those who have gone before us.

I found this photo of the catacombs online

After our tour, we headed to our hotel -- Cardinal Hotel St. Peter. Our dinner began with a first course of pasta. It was a huge serving. Mark, who doesn't like pasta, even liked the pasta. It was a pesto pasta. Wine was included with our dinners at the Cardinal Hotel.

Pesto Pasta

Baked Cream for dessert
We aren't wine drinkers but the
wine was good and we did drink some. Our tour guide said
they keep the best wines for themselves.

After dinner, Mark and I walked to the little town to see if I could grab a diet coke or two for the next day. Everything closes up early! There wasn't a single store open but we did see a little Pizzeria and popped in. They had Coke Zero and beer. The young man spoke English well and said he was originally from Bangladesh.

We headed back to the hotel and crashed!


  1. You got some great photos and I know made wonderful memories! Thanks for sharing your amazing trip with us!

  2. I did not know that group travel worked that way but it makes sense to get your timing adjusted. Awesome pictures! I think the catacombs would be cool to visit.

  3. Great photos! When I flew to Athens I popped a 'sleeping aid' at JFK so I'd be somewhat refreshed on arrival. Jet lag is the worst; I don't see how the flight crews do it..

  4. Looking forward to your pictures. The food in Italy is divine but I always remind myself Europeans are walkers which is why those carbs don't show like they do here : ).

    1. That is EXACTLY correct. I loved walking everywhere (though we were very tired).