Vatican City…St. Peter’s

St. Peter’s was amazingly beautiful
the lighting was by far my favorite part

the swiss guards were pretty cool as well 🙂

the door that is only open for special occasions ( i think like every 25 years)

the ceiling was magnificent

told you the lighting was amazing 🙂

I loved the domes as well!!!

Love, Love, Love

we sent postcards from the Vatican post office 🙂

more to come 🙂

Vatican City…the Museum

one day of our trip to Rome was dedicated to Vatican City
we started the day with a trip to the museum
we even got to skip the LONG line by pre-ordering our tickets (this is highly recommended by us)
the line was SOOOO long and would have taken us hours to get in and with the pre order it took a matter of minutes
the museum is really big but the collection of art is outstanding
the courtyard


the fig leaves…

my sweet husband with his audioguide

the map room

the wall…
if you are going to Rome then you need to visit the Vatican
but make sure you are dressed conservatively
and remember you can skip the line 🙂

Roma…Ostia Antica

one day while we were in Rome we caught the train to Ostia
Ostia is probably 15 miles away from Rome and on the Mediterranean Sea.  
We went to Ostis Beach first then to Ostia Antica, which is a ruined town.
The beach…was not like the beach here in SC
definitely not as much beach, definitely a little dirtier, and the swim suits were definitely a little smaller or non existent 😉

we just stayed out there long enough for me to find some shells and stand in the sea…
it was a pretty hot day and we had lots of walking still to do
we hoped back on the train and got off at the Ostia Antica stop

The ruins were impressive…
it was an entire town
shop lines streets…

and even fast food restaurants 😉

we are glad that we took a day trip to Ostia
it was packed full of history and I even got to see the beach!!!

Roma…Appian Way

on our anniversary we went to Appian Way.  It was the only road into Rome back in the day. 
We rented 2 bikes and just rode and took in all of the sights!
our bikes

it took me a few minutes to re teach myself how to ride a bike…it has been a few years since I have ridden one 🙂  Those rocks were killers too!!!  I though I was going to bust all of my teeth out…good thing I didn’t

the sights

appain way was so peaceful and beautiful
and riding bikes with my husband made it even better!
would be a perfect place to have a picnic!!!

Roma…the ruins

Roma has plenty of ruins…just in the middle of the city.  They are everywhere….I think that is one thing that really makes Rome unique.  
We made sure to soak in lots of the Roman history while we were there.
We visited Palentine Hill, the Forum, and the Colosseum one of our days.  
Definitely worth the time and little bit of money.  I would suggest going to see them in that order as well…the lines are SO much shorter at Palentine Hill and the ticket you get there will get you into all three places! (and you get to skip the LOOOONG line at the Colosseum!!  
Trust me you DO NOT want to stand in that line!
Palentine Hill

the beautiful view!

the forum

I just love all of the old  columns

the colosseum 

the ruins are a must see part of Rome in my opinion. 
 It is amazing that they have been preserved so we can see them today!  
more trip updates coming soon!

the cooking class

Andre signed us up to take a cooking class while we were in Rome…and anyone that knows me knew that was music to my ears.  Since I LOVE food, cooking, and of course eating!  
This cooking class was held at Chef Andrea’s restaurant Le Fate (in the Trastevere part of Rome). 
One of the best parts of Andrea’s restaurant is that it is a 0 km restaurant (meaning that he gets all of his food locally… grown and made!). We had such a great time cooking, laughing, and talking…not to mention that I really learned so much about Roman cuisine.  
Like did you know that, the skin of garlic is where all of the nutrients are found!?!
Well I know all of you are wondering just what we made…
all of the ingredients…all fresh from the market that morning

after admiring and taking lots of pictures we started cooking…
I sliced tomatoes and then fried some eggplant…yum!
the tomatoes, arugula, and eggplants
up close of the fried eggplant…
the colors are just SO pretty…tomatoes, basil, arugula, and eggplant

and of course we made fresh pasta…this pasta is called “priest choker” 😉
Andre rolled lots of this pasta…he was a master pasta roller!!!
we stuffed some zucchini flowers with prosciutto and mozzarella
my mouth is watering just looking at this picture!
one of the tomato sauces that we made…I helped a lot with this one 🙂

 so after all of our hard work we ( all 12 of us) sat down at a table out in the restaurant
the place setting

the appetizer: zucchini flowers with prosciutto and mozzarella and Southern Style pesto
also know as …Fiori di Zucca dorati e ripieni con prosciutto e mozzarella con Pesto alla Trapanese
the pesto sauce

man were these good!!!!

then for the first course: fresh homemade pasta with a fresh tomato, basil,and ricotta cheese
Strozzapreti al Pomodoro fresco, basilico e ricotta 
*didn’t andre do a great job with the pasta 🙂

second courses: paper thin beef with arugula, cherry tomatoes and shaves of parmesan
Straccetti di Manzo con Pachino, Rughetta e Scaglie di Parmigiano
the steak was so tender and sweet
Eggplant Parmigiana
Parmigiana di Melanzane
then a side dish: sauteed flat bean with cherry tomatoes
Fagiolini Corallo ripassati in padella

and of course DESSERT: Tiramisu

us during the meal

the entire group…a couple from Murells Inlet (SC), us, a couple from New York City, 2 friends from Estonia that just graduated from medical school, a couple from Canada, and a mom and son from Sweden
we had such a great time together!!!

my two new friends from Estonia!!!
this cooking class was amazing and one of the highlights from our trip!  Go “here” to see more about Andrea’s restaurant Le Fate and “here” for more info on his cooking classes!
and by the way…we loved this restaurant so much that we went back twice for dinner during our stay. The food was extraordinary both times!!!!
Us with Chef Andrea

and Chef’s mom with me!!!
if you are visiting Rome this is a must go place for dinner…you will not be sorry!!!
**by the way I am cooking the zucchini flowers, eggplant parmigiana, and the tiramisu tonight :)**

We are back!

We are finally back from our anniversary trip to Rome, but not with out some great stories.  We had such a great time and I will do some recaps in the coming weeks!  Everything did not go as planned but I guess that makes for good stories 🙂
I have so much to catch up on.  I was a little (maybe a lot) overwhelmed when I opened up my google reader!  I also took SO many pictures that needed to be edited…that may or may not happen 🙂
SO here is just a sneak peak of our trip 🙂

now to get caught up on my project 52…
Week 28 – Light

Week 29 – Night
Now off to get caught up on life!

guest post: tiffany

Hey there, friends!  I’m Tiffany and I blog over at Figuring Out The Plot  !  I am SO excited to be here guest blogging for Kit as she is off galavanting around Europe!  And because I’ve been watching her countdown to her trip with envy, and because she said I could write about anything I wanted, I thought I’d share a part of my European adventure circa 2009 with you!

I had always wanted to go to Europe, but never had the money/time/courage to do it.  Well, after I took the dreaded bar exam was the perfect time for the trip!  My cousin Whitney and I headed off on the trip of a lifetime.  Where was our main destination?  Switzerland!  Now, you might wonder why Switzerland?  And I’ll be honest, it was not the first European country on my list (I was more of a Tuscany, Greece, South of France kind of girl!)  But….my dear cousin Sean lived in Switzerland and that equated to a free couch and breakfast every morning.  Switzerland it was!

Let me tell you, that free couch was the least impressive part of our trip!  Switzerland was completely beautiful and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more.  I would go back in a heartbeat!  Here were a few highlights:

Swiss National Day

We happened to arrive in Switzerland on August 1, which is Swiss National Day (sort of like their version of Fourth of July).  My cousin lived in a tiny village, Cully, along the shore of Lake Geneva.  Well for the holiday, his village went in with three other villages and chartered a boat to take everyone from the villages on a sunset cruise.  So. Much. Fun!

Chocolate and Cheese

I mean, the subtitle there really says it all, doesn’t it?  We took a train ride up into the Alps where we toured (and had lots of free samples!) at a chocolate factory.  Then, on the way back, we stopped at Gruyere and had some amazing fondue.  While there we checked out the countryside and the adorable houses.

Montreux and a Castle

We also spent a day in the city of Montreux–famous for its annual Jazz Festival that we missed by a month.  Even without the jazz music, it was a beautiful city and we had so much fun exploring the streets, the water, and the Castle de Chillon!

The Olympic Museum

Our final day in Switzerland we had debated taking the train to Paris, but then decided we were trained out.  Instead, we headed to Lausanne to check out the Olympic Museum.  This was one of my favorite parts of the whole trip!  If you’re a sports fan, this is a must see for you!

So….if you are planning a European vacation, I can’t recomment Switzerland enough.  It was beyond amazing!  Come on over to visit at Figuring Out The Plot , and feel free to read more about the rest of my European adventure


thanks again Tiffany!

I would love to visit Switzerland!!  Wouldn’t you!?!

I hope that you all have enjoyed these guest posts as much as I have! 

I will be back to blogging probably tomorrow!!

guest post: jenni

I have a treat for you all today!  
This girl is one of my favorites here in the blogosphere!!!
I mean she lives and works in Germany and has lived all over Europe and here blog is just make me smile…

Hello, A Step Into My Life readers!
I’m the girl behind Jenni Austria Germany, a blog where I post pictures of my life in (you guessed it) Austria and Germany and share travel stories, awkward encounters with Europeans (oh, cultural differences….) and little quotes from my Polish boyfriend (he’s pretty ridiculous).
But today, I am here with you.  And we’re going to talk about Italy.
Yes, I thought that since Kit is currently running around Rome, I should share some Italian love in her honor.
Here we go…. 

What I love about Italy

1.  The carbohydrates
Whether focaccia, bruschetta or just plain pasta, Italy does carbs like no other country.  When I take trips, I try to prepare a budget; a column for food, a column for drinks, a column for clothes, a column for lodging, etc.  Well, let’s just say that when I go to Italy, the “food” column gets, shall we say, special treatment.

2.  The pizza
Yes, I realize this should technically be grouped with #1.  But Italian pizza is in a league of its own.  I remember reading Eat Pray Love soon after it was released, bewildered by the thought of Liz Gilbert consuming an entire pizza on her own and then (!) ordering another (????).  Fast forward to 2008: Once I visited Italy myself and experienced the pizza firsthand….well, it just made perfect sense to me.  Liz Gilbert is right – one pizza is never enough.

3.  The Italian pride
In some countries, you walk through the streets, you mingle among the people, you duck in and out of shops and you blend right in.  If you’ve been traveling a lot – backpacking through different countries, for instance – you might even forget where you are.  You might stop and ask your friend, “Wait, where are we again?” or “What country is this, anyway?”.  Well….not in Italy.  No.  This does not, and cannot, happen in Italy.  The Italians are, just, too Italian for that to happen.  And that, in my opinion, is one of the most charming and unique things about the whole country.

4.  The canoli
“Leave the gun, take the canoli”.  I had to throw a Godfather reference in here at some point, right?  But really, when you’re in Italy, you have to try the canoli.  And by “try”, I mean you should allow for 10-20 euro of your budget (if you have one) to be spent on nothing but canoli.  And if you don’t have a budget, then just spend all your money on canoli.  It’s simple, really.

5.  The gelato
Take everything I said about #4, minus the Godfather reference, and apply it to #5.  You won’t be sorry.  Trust me.

6.  The Vespas
Growing up, I thought it would be amazing to be British (the accent, come on), cool to be Romanian (gymnastics, hello) and ideal to be French (Belle from Beauty and the Beast was French, need I say more?).  I don’t think I ever really wanted to be Italian.  My first trip to Italy, however, changed that.  With every scooter that zoomed past me, I cursed my ancestors for not being Italian.  Yes, I know – anyone can ride a Vespa.  I see them in Germany and France all the time.  But not everyone can ride a Vespa and look so….Italian.  Sigh.

7.  The views
The landscape in Italy makes me question if my camera card has somehow turned into the Google Image database.  I’m always shocked to find that my little baby amateur camera took so many postcard-ish photos.  I must give credit where credit is due, however.  Neither my camera’s features nor my photography skills are responsible for the beauty that these photos radiate; that, my friends, is allll Italy.

Thanks for having me, Kit!
Can’t wait ’til you get back.
I’m expecting you to make your own list of why you love Italy, deal?


Stay tuned for my list when I get back!!!

Make sure you check out Jenni’s blog!!!

Thanks again Jenni!

guest post: jenn

hey girls!  
ready for another guest post!!!
I hope that you are loving them as much as I am…
Hey “A Step into My Life” fans! I’m Jenn from “No Day But Today!”  I’m super excited to be guest blogging for Kit today while she is in Rome (and also super jealous)!  So, what better to talk about then my own trip to Italy?!? 
I went to Italy, France, Monaco and Spain as a People to People Student Ambassador in 2006, the summer after my junior year in high school.  If you know any students in high school or middle school that love to travel, I highly recommend this program!  It is looked at with a lot of respect from colleges and provides the student with the opportunity to experience life with a real family from one of the countries they are visiting! It is truly an amazing experience!  Today I am only going to write about Italy and my Home stay in France, otherwise this would take FOREVER!
Day 1: We started with an overnight flight out of Dulles with a layover in Munich, Germany.  We landed in Rome at about 2am local time!
Day 2:  Our first day in Rome was a whirlwind!  I couldn’t believe I was actually in Rome, one the cities I have read about for almost my whole life!!  We got a guided tour of the Forum, Piazza Venezia and the Coliseum first thing in the morning!  After our tours we got to have free time, during which a few of us decided that we HAVE to try real Italian Gelato!  We got it from a small stand right next to the Coliseum.   The next part of the day was spent doing a scavenger hunt.  During the scavenger hunt we got to see …. The Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Vittorio Emanuele II Monument. After some dinner we retired, exhausted, to our hotel.
Day 3:  We spent a lot of this day in line at the Vatican.  It was pretty cool but I, being totally uninterested in art or religion, was not as thrilled by this as others, though I will admit that the Sistine Chapel was pretty amazing!  After the Vatican we hopped on our bus and headed to the small town called Assisi.  I think this may have been on of my favorite places!  Assisi is where the movie “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” was filmed, if you have ever heard of it.
Day 4: This was probably the coolest day ever!  We met up with a group of New Zealanders for a program called Full On!   We got to play all kinds of fun games at the first building we went to.  Then we went outside, played more games and went on a hike.  After that we split up with different leaders to play more games.  My leaders name was Ginny and she was incredible, we had such a good time.  The most incredible part of the Full On experience was being able to repel down a 110ft castle wall! How cool is that!?!
Day 5: We left Assisi and headed to a small town near Perugia where we visited a chocolate factory and learned to make chocolate.  We then headed to Pisa for a few hours then for dinner headed to Montecatini for a Tuscan cooking course!  We made pizza!  This was also the location of my favorite hotel of all times!
Day 6:  This day, we went to Florence.  We visited the Duomo, the Bapistery, Ponte Vecchio and of course the Accademia Gallery – home of David.  We also acted out the movie “The Sound of Music” for our Delegation Manager (guide) who was from Austria and had never seen it.  After our performance, I think he is glad.
Day 7: Our last day in Italy was spent in La Spezia.  This day was incredible!  We got to go on a boat to Riomaggiore, the southernmost of the five towns of the Cinque Terre (incredible, highly recommend!), and we got to hike along the Via dell’Amore!!!
Jump to Day 9 and 10:  On my trip all of the students got broken up into groups of 2 or 3 and did a home stay with a family in France.  My family was just one lady named Miti, she was the sweetest.  She lived in a little town called Toulon right on the French Riviera not too far from Cannes and Nice.   Miti’s house is on a hill so we had an amazing view of the city.  Unfortunately, if I go over everything we did with Miti, we’d be here all night.  A few things we did do:  Have mussels, tour Toulon, swim, go antiquing, share pictures, play with the dog, and hang out with family (including really cute grandsons).  It was most definitely the best part of the trip!
Thanks for reading about my travels!! Be sure to check me out over at No Day But Today!  Thanks for having me, Kit!  I hope you’re having a blast in Rome!!!

Thanks Jenn!  
That trip was such a great experience!