Hi Travel Eat Love readers!
My name is Amanda and my husband and I have a food and travel blog called The Hungry Wanderers. We’ve been blogging for less than a year and were originally inspired (or peer pressured) by our blogging friends in Charlotte (in particular, Kath from Kath Eats Real Food!). Since I started reading blogs about a year and a half ago, I had mostly been following nutrition/fitness focused blogs and was so happy to find Travel Eat Love a few months ago. There seem to be so few food & travel blogs out there! Meghan – thank you so much for inviting me to guest blog while you’re busy traveling!
When my husband and I first contemplated creating a blog, we knew right away that it would be somehow travel related. We love to travel whenever we can (both for work and for pleasure) and we also make it a goal to try new restaurants as often as we can when we decide to go out. It was a little over a year ago, though, that we realized how lucky we are to be able to travel as much as we do and we wanted to share our experiences, and tips, with our friends, families, and the blog community! It was during a Christmas vacation to Italy with his family that we finally decided to start blogging (it just took us a few months to actually get there!).
Making it to Italy was a bit of a stress as our flights from Germany were cancelled twice in one day (we started our vacation with a river cruise through Germany and Austria). While we were looking forward to meeting up with my husband’s family, we were most concerned about missing the top tour of our upcoming trip: the Catacombs of the Vatican! Luckily, we were rebooked on a flight that actually made it and we were able to make the visit with the family the next day.
My brother-in-law had booked tickets weeks in advance for the limited admission Catacomb tour of the Vatican (essentially, a tour of the areas beneath the St. Peter’s Basilica). Unfortunately, due to the interest in protecting the catacombs, in which some parts are over 2000 years old, we didn’t take any photos. Highlights of the tour included burial sites, a chapel, and what is believed to be St. Peter’s tomb, all under St. Peter’s Basilica! For all these years, it was assumed on a hunch that his remains were below, but it wasn’t until recently that they found what they believe to be his remains. Neither the Husband nor I are Catholic, but the history of this site was awe-inspiring and humbling.
After the catacomb tour, the family ventured up into St. Peter’s Basilica. Being nearly Christmas, it was quite crowded but not so much that we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful work of the Catholic church. There were still a few days until Christmas, but the seats were already set up for Christmas mass. There would be room for lots of worshippers!
On Christmas Eve, after enjoying an amazing Italian meal at a local restaurant, we decided to venture back to the Vatican to see what it’s like on Christmas. It was absolutely breath taking and serene. Although there were many visitors waiting in line for entrance for Midnight Mass, it was calmly quiet in the area in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. This calm is in such contrast to what we experience in the United States and it was wonderful to experience on this evening. The Husband shot a number of photos of the Christmas tree, Nativity scene and St. Peter’s Basilica.
When he changed his angle ever so slightly, we discovered a lit room in the right corner of the photo. This light (from what we were told) symbolizes that the Pope is home (and of course he was, being Christmas Eve and all!)
Overall, our Christmas vacation in Rome was filled with wonderful sites and history along with amazing foods and flavors. We definitely recommend traveling to Rome if you have the opportunity. If you are interested in religious history (whether or not you are religious yourself) and you know you’ll be visiting at least a few weeks in advance, be sure to book a reservation for the Vatican Catacomb tour! You won’t be disappointed!
Meghan – Thanks again for the invite to guest post! Hope you’re having a wonderful new year!