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Posts tagged ‘colosseum’

Having seen the moon on the other side of the world

travel italy quotes meme

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Copyright 2014   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

December 21st | Will the Mayans be right?

Earlier this year I wrote about a funny coincidence regarding the crumbling of part of Rome’s coliseum and the impending end of the world.  I guess we are just days away from finding out if those Mayans were on the right track or not!

**Re-posted**

If the predictions are right, we better live it up because the world is slotted to end this year.

Mayan Calendar

We’ve all heard about 2012 marking the end of the world as we know it, but where did all this dooms daying come from?  We have the Mayan’s to blame this time.  Unlike our cyclic calendar (which can go on infinitely) the Mayan’s followed a long count calendar which consisted of a set number of days.  The completion of the calendar marked the end of one world and the beginning of the next.  According to the Mayan’s, we are living in the fourth world which is the only one that has been successful at all and has sustained humanity.  So when does this glorious reign end?

December 21st, 2012.

The Venerable Bede

Interpretation of this date has brought on all kinds of attention and opinions:  New Age belief in some sort of Spiritual Transformation, Zombie Apocalypse, fire & brimstone and one half way decent blockbuster movie.  I don’t tend to pay too much attention to ruckus of this sort.  I worked night shift New Years Eve when we ushered in 2000 without so much as a hint of a computer meltdown.  Harold Camping (aka that crazy dude swindling people out of ungodly amounts of money) and his third failed prediction last May didn’t even raise my eyebrow.  I have yet to call any 1-800 numbers to find out what the one-thing-that-I-need-to-know-now-to-save-my-finanicial-future-before-it’s-too-late is.  But when I recently read about pieces of the Colosseum falling off and the political troubles already brewing with the scheduled restoration project, I couldn’t help but think of a famous prophecy.  The Colosseum was built approximately 2000 years ago and stands to this day as one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.  Not earthquakes, nor fire or civil unrest has brought down this magnificent structure.  Not yet.  The prophecy that came to mind is attributed to the Venerable Bede:

‘While the Colosseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall’

Maybe I better pay attention this time and dust off my bucket list.  We’ve got some traveling to do and by my calculations only 340 days left to do it!

Copyright 2012  Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel

My Special Places in Italy | Angel Tours Rome

While a tour group might not technically be a special place, this is my blog and I will call it so if I want to!

When I first hatched the idea of creating my Italian travel planning business, I met the energetic and charismatic Sean while visiting Rome.  He had recently taken over Angel Tours Rome and with his small army of students completely won me over.  Since that time years ago, he has grown his business and expanded to other cities including Dublin and Florence.

When I first began traveling, I thought naively that I could get what I needed when at the Vatican or the Roman Forum with a simple guidebook.  Once I experienced those sites again through the eyes of Sean’s guides I was amazed at how much more real and alive they became.  It was as if I was seeing them for the first time.  I feel that with every visit.  I have taken the tours several times with my groups and on my personal visits.  Believe it or not, I never tire of them.  Sean finds young people who are so incredibly knowledgeable of history, art and culture you find yourself almost guilty in your ignorance.  But these guides are no snobs.  Every single one injects just the right amount of humor and storytelling.   They are the first to confess to being a bit ‘mad.’

I can’t help but feel a connection to Angel Tours and I am so proud of the growth that has happened since I first stumbled upon them.  For anyone traveling to Italy and planning to stay in Rome, check out Angel Tours Rome and make sure to tell them hello from Andi!!

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Featured Photo Friday | Floodlit Rome

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

FREE Audio Walking Tours For Italy

Everyone loves a good deal.

Rome ItalyHere is my pick for best deal of the summer!  Rick Steves has a comprehensive collection of FREE audio walking tours which I highly recommend.  Many places like Pompeii have poor guides and so-so information available to travelers.  With these guides you are saving money and learning a ton while being entertained.

I do still highly value my personal guides in areas like the Vatican and the Roman Forum.  In areas like these you really need someone to help make the site come to life.  I am a devout follower of Angel Tours Rome and send all of my clients, my friends and even my mother to these amazing people.  They offer both group and private tours, each worth every single penny.  Make sure to tell Sean and Tatjana that I sent you!

I’m obsessed with feedback, let me know what you think.

Love it??  Pass it on!

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Reasons Traveling with Kids is Cool

If I had a dollar for every time someone told me I was crazy to take my toddler to Italy by myself I would have never come back.  “You are wasting your money; she will never remember anything.  She will be a mess on that long flight.  How will you pack everything by yourself?  She won’t stand going to museums or sitting through long dinners.”  Jet lag, potty issues, getting sick, being bored.  I heard it all.

But one month after my daughter’s second birthday I defiantly boarded a flight to Rome armed with a backpack of her necessities, one suitcase for both of us, a stroller and Benadryl.  I could see that look in the other passengers’ faces.

You know the one, just before they quickly darted their eyes away hoping to avoid direct contact.

The dread and fear of having to sit next to a kid on a long flight.  Then the absolute elation as we walked by.  I could actually hear the sighs of relief.  I don’t blame them for hoping we were nowhere near their seat; thirteen hours with a small child in an even smaller space could be considered a version of hell on earth.  Yet, she fooled them all.  To the shock and relief of those around me she was an angel on the plane.  After devouring her ‘fancy’ meal, she watched a movie and then proceeded to pass out.  I can’t say the same for many of the other passengers.

Once in Italy, I quickly found out that traveling with my daughter did two things:  opened doors to experiences and got us free stuff.  People who would have done nothing more than complete their transaction with me or more likely not even noticed my presence were suddenly whisking us behind counters and showing us part of the real Italian life I had not seen before.  We met dogs; we met grandkids.  We watered plants and learned to make pizza.  We held rabbits and petted goats.

I haven’t even gotten to the free stuff.

My daughter learned a simple smile meant extra scoops of gelato or little candies in her hand.  I don’t think I went anywhere with her that some old lady wasn’t trying to feed her or put sweets in her pockets.  She was the star at dinner, our waiters taking pride in her appetite.  She had no need for a menu, they would prepare whatever she desired without hesitation.  I was once chided for not ordering her enough food and found extra plates appearing on the table free of charge.  Did I ever pay for dessert?  Maybe my own.

She loved the Roman Forum, although it was the beetles not the ruins that caught her eye.  Every new hill town was exciting; who knew how many kitties would be hiding in the narrow cobblestone streets.  Trains were a marvel.  Maps became new toys.  Piazzas her playgrounds.  My passion for travel deepened with each new discovery she made.

Maybe I was crazy and it is true that she doesn’t remember that trip, but my daughter has no fear of the unknown and loves new experiences.  I have since taken her back to Italy (see the photos below) and she now has her own travel bucket list.  The lesson to be taken here is that having a family does not mean your travel dreams are over.  They are just different.  I may not be able to travel as much as I did before, but I never use children as my excuse to stay home.  Travel is good for them.  They begin to understand the world is a bigger place and differences are to be celebrated.  Travel is good for you.  You will find indescribable joy watching your child experience another culture.

I could list the top reasons why traveling with kids is cool, but I think these pictures do a better job.

Joining up again with the fabulous writers at yeah write. Click the button below to read some truly wonderful writers and don’t forget to return on Thursday to vote for your five favorite posts.

Copyright 2012  Andi Brown  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Winter in Italy | Record Snowfall in Rome

The cold weather and snow in Italy has kept the country in the news over the last few days.  Meanwhile, I sit in Idaho staring at brown grass.  Strange how we have not had any snow this year while my friends across the ocean are dealing with buckets of it.

Here is an article specifically about the storm’s effect on Rome with some great aerial photos.

Courtesy of Mail Online and EPA

The Colosseum and other ancient tourist sites closed to tourists as Rome saw snow for the first time in 26 years.  Traffic in the Italian capital ground to a halt as buses struggled to climb icy hills and authorities accustomed to a warm climate fought to cope.  Visitors were stopped from entering the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill, the former home of Rome’s ancient emperors, over fears they could slip on ice..Read More..

 

Top Ten: Things actually heard or done while on tour in Italy

On tour in Vernazza

When I was taking small groups on tour in Italy, I learned to never be too surprised at what I overheard.  Some funny, some unbelievable but all entertaining.  I can laugh at this even more knowing I have an entire list dedicated to the embarassing things I’ve said and done over the years.  Enjoy!

10.  Two lovely ladies got a jump-start to my tour but taking a tour of their own in Rome.  They aren’t sure what they saw or why it was important as the whole thing was in Italian.

9.  Get R Done.  Repeatedly said during a walking tour of the Roman Forum in response to the architectural accomplishments.

8.  Wet T-shirt contest!!  Yelled out on the Rialto Bridge during a sudden rain storm.

7.  Great, more Chef Boyardee.  Referring to the homemade pasta being served.

6.  I was asked if the artists at the market used paint by numbers.

Travel Italy

5.  During a wonderful wine tasting, we were being educated on the types of grapes used in the area.  One of my members proceeded to explain how they made dandelion wine back home.

4.  While enjoying the sun on the tiny beach in the village of Vernazza, I was asked “Is this Florence?”

3.  Does the food and wine happen to get any better?  We were in Rome at the time.

2.  I’m not going on the Colosseum tour.  It’s just not my thing.

1.  I was worried about getting my passport in time but my jail probation period was finally over!

Roman Forum, part of the Colosseum tour

I love feedback, so leave me comments!

Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Rome is Falling – Beware of a Zombie Apocalypse

If the predictions are right, we better live it up because the world is slotted to end this year.

Mayan Calendar

We’ve all heard about 2012 marking the end of the world as we know it, but where did all this dooms daying come from?  We have the Mayan’s to blame this time.  Unlike our cyclic calendar (which can go on infinitely) the Mayan’s followed a long count calendar which consisted of a set number of days.  The completion of the calendar marked the end of one world and the beginning of the next.  According to the Mayan’s, we are living in the fourth world which is the only one that has been successful at all and has sustained humanity.  So when does this glorious reign end?

December 21st, 2012.

The Venerable Bede

Interpretation of this date has brought on all kinds of attention and opinions:  New Age belief in some sort of Spiritual Transformation, Zombie Apocalypse, fire & brimstone and one half way decent blockbuster movie.  I don’t tend to pay too much attention to ruckus of this sort.  I worked night shift New Years Eve when we ushered in 2000 without so much as a hint of a computer meltdown.  Harold Camping (aka that crazy dude swindling people out of ungodly amounts of money) and his third failed prediction last May didn’t even raise my eyebrow.  I have yet to call any 1-800 numbers to find out what the one-thing-that-I-need-to-know-now-to-save-my-finanicial-future-before-it’s-too-late is.  But when I recently read about pieces of the Colosseum falling off and the political troubles already brewing with the scheduled restoration project, I couldn’t help but think of a famous prophecy.  The Colosseum was built approximately 2000 years ago and stands to this day as one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and engineering.  Not earthquakes, nor fire or civil unrest has brought down this magnificent structure.  Not yet.  The prophecy that came to mind is attributed to the Venerable Bede:

‘While the Colosseum stands, Rome shall stand; when the Colosseum falls, Rome shall fall; when Rome falls, the world shall fall’

Maybe I better pay attention this time and dust off my bucket list.  We’ve got some traveling to do and by my calculations only 340 days left to do it!

Copyright 2012  Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel

Italy in the News: The Colosseum is falling, saving lives in church, bringing Mona Lisa home and more

Headlines from December 25-31

(ANSA) – Priests at the Pistoia Cathedral in Tuscany may soon be saving more than just souls as the church became the first in Italy outfitted with a heart defibrillator on Thursday….Read More

(ANSA) – Premier Mario Monti said Italy was not following Greece’s economic demise despite its love of the country….Read More

(ANSA) – The Holy Shroud of Turin cannot be a fake according to a new five-year study highlighted by Vatican newspaper l’Osservatore Romano….Read More

(Reuters) – A courtyard column of a Roman house in Pompeii collapsed on Thursday, renewing concerns about the state of the site which was frozen in time when Mount Vesuvius erupted 2,000 years ago, burying inhabitants alive and preserving their homes….Read More

(ABC News) – Florence officials are launching a campaign to bring the “Mona Lisa” back for a visit….Read More

(ANSA) – The Colosseum lost another bit of masonry Tuesday following a fragment of wall that fell off on Christmas Day, fire services said….Read More 

(New York Times) – The traditional inauguration of the Christmas season got underway early this month in Rome, but travelers can visit vestiges of those early celebrations, and still take in a few more ceremonies, after the gifts have been opened….Read More

(ANSA) – Pope Benedict XVi on Wednesday stressed the importance of families praying together….Read More

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