To all good things must come an end. We've been blessed to have so many fantastic people come and visit us during our stint in Roma, and it's bittersweet to think we've had our last guest. My youngest nephew Luke had the honor, and with his first visit to Europe, he opened up some new perspectives on some familiar places for us here in Italy.
The Urban Assault of Rome has been one of the greatest joys I've had living in the Eternal City. It's a little dangerous at times. It's usually hot as hell, and it is without a doubt the only way to tour the historic city center. Being on a bike gives you the opportunity to see places you'd never see just wondering the city. The rush of riding in the streets like a madman hoping and praying you don't nuke a tourist or get pinched between a city bus and a taxi will be a feeling not soon forgotten.
I have no idea how many times I've ridden a bike around Piazza Venezia and the Vittorio Emanuele monument right in the heart of the city. It's safe to say they've been on every route of every Urban Assault ever taken, but it wasn't until Luca's assault that it occurred to me to take in the view of the city from the top of the monument. I apologize to everyone who has been on the Urban Assault before Luke, but the view from the top is one of the best in the city.
We gave Luca a couple of days to warm up to Italy before we threw him on a train towards Liguria. Liguria is a region most commonly known for being home to the Cinque Terre a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Park. The five colorful towns that make up the Cinque Terre rest among abandoned vineyards overlooking the Ligurian Sea. For our weekend of adventure, food, and sun, we choose to stay in a cozy seaside apartment in sleepy Riomaggiore.
Heidi and I had visited the Cinque Terre many years ago and thought it'd be nice to avoid the crowds on land by renting a boat for the day to explore the coastline. Making our way north from Riomaggiore to Monterosso where our daily gelato card would be stamped. With full stomachs, we took a refreshing dip in the sea from the boat before heading back south. The rest of the day was casual and allowed us to snack on fresh anchovies and bask in the warm sun on a local beach. For dinner, we'd hop back on the train for a quick ride to Vernazza where a beautiful sunset dinner overlooking the sea awaited us. I'm sure Luke could feel the romance. We even shared pasta! The last act for the trip would be to hike the remaining trail that traverses along the steep coastal terrain above the sea. Unfortunately in 2011 landslides closed a portion of the trail and we were only able to make it to Corniglia which ended up giving us time for another refreshing dip and snack before the trek home.
Back in Rome Luca and I headed to Vatican City for breakfast with a 2000-year-old pinecone and a self-guided tour of the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peters Basilica. I'm sure I've written this before, but when we arrived in Rome, I had no interest in visiting the Vatican and thought if someone wanted to go, I'd go. What an idiot. Now that I've had the experience, I think everyone visiting Rome should take the time to visit Vatican City. To lay eyes on the work of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel is truly an experience of a lifetime, and the size and grandeur of St. Peters Basilica is nothing short of breathtaking.
This final tour of the Vatican City with Luke brought yet another first for me after many trips through the Vatican. Having stared at the dome of St. Peters from just about every angle within the city, it would finally be the time to climb to the top and take in the view. The 500 steps to the top were well worth the effort. Thanks, Luke, for opening my eyes after three years to the two best views in the city. We loved spending so much quality time with you and hope we'll see you again soon on this side of the pond.
Our time in Rome has been as much about growing and learning as humans than it has been about the fantastic travel opportunities we've experienced. We're grateful for the time we've had here, and I'm sure we'll find ourselves back on one of the many roads leading to Rome in the future. Thanks again to everyone who came to visit and thanks to all of you who supported us during this crazy ride. We love you all and can't wait to see you soon.
With only a couple weeks left here in the Eternal City, we're shifting gears into summer mode and are happy to have the last month behind us. A month that started with no concrete plans for the future and finished with a decision to move to Spain in August. It was madness. Making the decision was hard, but we quickly remembered the craziness of visas, apartment searching, and moving your worldly possessions internationally. We're are absolutely stoked that our next chapter will unfold in Barcelona, but before that can happen, Heidi has six weeks of well-deserved vacation to enjoy. The anticipation and excitement for our summer plans are reaching peak levels as we finalize our trips. We'll be spending the entire summer holiday with friends and family in British Columbia, Colorado, Minnesota, Switzerland, and Italy.
The first week of July we'll be in Switzerland and Italy with the bike gang on a greatest hits tour of Livigno, St. Moritz, and Davos. From Switzerland, we'll head west to Canada for a few days of riding on Vancouver Island before spending some quality time with our great friend Amy. Then on to Colorado for ten days of sports, friends, laughs, and plenty of good times. For the encore, we'll be taking in some "Minnesota Nice" with the family while we soak up all the "lake time" we possibly can. We can't wait to see you all!
Here is a rough idea where we'll be and when. If you're around or want to join us somewhere give us a shout so we can set up some time to visit. Take care!!
6/29-7/1: Livigno, IT
7/1-7/5: St. Moritz, CH
7/5-7/8: Davos, CH
7/11-7/14: Naniamo, Vancouver Island, BC
7/14-7/17: Courtenay, Vancouver Island, BC
7/17-7/20: Gibsons, BC
7/20-7/31: Colorado, USA
7/31-8/9?: Minnesota, USA