Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have my parents visit for my spring break (or half term if I’m trying this whole British English thing). Our weekend in London, three days in Rome and three in Paris were filled with sightseeing and enough gelato and red wine to fill a small country. The trips were wonderful, but I think it was most exciting to talk to, not viber text, my parents without a time difference.
We did a lot of the tourist highlights the first time we were all in London, so this visit was more about filling them in on my daily life this semester. So naturally, they stayed in Camden to get a feel for my neighborhood. We did lots of people watching and eating as walked through Camden Lock and along the high street. We did go through the Churchill War Rooms, which I’m really glad we did. I love World War II history, but actual Churchill museum inside was a little too free form and long for my attention span. Thankfully, someone was brilliant and put the café in the middle of the museum.
After introducing my parents to the heaven in a package that are milk chocolate digestives, we headed to Rome for evenmore delicious food. We spent our first day inside the Vatican museum and St. Peter’s Basilica and dome to avoid the rain. The basilica was absolutely beautiful, but getting tickets to Pope Francis’ Ash Wednesday visit was the highlight of the trip to Vatican City. After some wandering around trying to figure out how to get tickets, my mom figured out we could get them from the Swiss guards outside. Luckily the people in front of me spoke Italian and also needed three tickets, so I just piggybacked off of their request. We left with the tickets and headed to dinner on Piazza Navona. The restaurant had heaters and a cover over the patio, so we were still able to eat outside despite the dreary weather. We had the most delicious buffalo mozzarella and tomato appetizer and lasagna, which, of course, were partnered with gelato and red wine. We saw people walking in and out of a building while we were eating, so we went to investigate. It ended up being this beautiful church of Sant’Agnese in Agone, and was full of fleur de lis.
We woke up early Wednesday to go back to St. Peter’s square for the Pope’s audience. We got there much earlier than we needed to, but we killed some time talking to other Americans that were also on vacation. It’s such a surreal experience seeing the Pope on his first Ash Wednesday with people from all over the world.
We then headed to the ruins. We did a tour of the Collesseum, Roman forum and palatine hill. We stopped for gelato, coffee and wine at a café, and ended up sitting and talking for about two hours. It was so laid back, but probably was my favorite part of the whole trip. I like being able to just chat and catch up with my parents. We walked to the Trevi Fountain and got dinner.
We headed to Paris on Thursday, and I’m so glad I got to go back with my parents. We stayed in the Latin Quarter, so it was great to actually be in the city. Notre Dame, Musee d’Orsay and a night boat cruise on the Seine were all broken up with cups of coffee and people watching. Going to Versailles and taking my parents back to Montmarte was the best day of the trip. The weather was beautiful in Versailles, so we were able to eat outside before going into the palace. It was so opulent and beautiful, and I loved all of the nods to my main man Louis XIV. Montmarte was just as wonderful as the first time, but was way more crowded because of the warmer weather. We actually went into Sacre Coeur, and a choir of nuns added a soundtrack to our tour of the mosaicked church.We had dinner (and a bottle of cote du rhone, obviously) outside at La Bohme before heading back down the hill.
It was such a fun week spending time with my parents. My dad and I decided if this whole journalism thing doesn’t work out, we should open a coffee, wine and gelato shop that people can come to for an afternoon pick-me up. If that’s the back up plan, the future doesn’t look too bad.