Tuesday, June 30, 2015


We got everyone up around 6:00 this morning, in an effort to beat the crowds (which we have heard again and again are absolutely horrible), for our sightseeing day in Rome. First we caught a bus, which took us to the metro station. (Actually, we intentionally missed the first bus, which was packed to the gills and didn't have room for one of us, much less six of us!) We then took two different trains and finally ended up near Vatican City (the smallest country in the world), which we were able to walk to very easily. True to our expectations, the crowd was relatively small at that early hour, so we were able to get right into St. Peter's Basilica, which was truly beautiful. After that, another subway train took us to The Colosseum, which was a very impressive structure to see. With a seating capacity of 75,000, it would rival almost any modern college football stadium, but, additionally, it also had the entire underground area where the wild animals were housed, largely unfed, until they were to face off against the gladiators, who we heard were mostly slaves and prisoners, but were occasionally volunteers. We all thought it was pretty interesting that the basic stadium design, which functions well at allowing many guests to enter or exit in an expedient manner, hasn't changed much in all these years. From there, we made the short walk over to Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. By 11:00 am, we had taken about 10,000 steps (according to my FitBit tracker)! We had a picnic lunch overlooking the former Circus Maximus (a large chariot racing stadium), at the base of Palatine Hill. We ended our outing with a walk over to the Boca della Verita, made famous in the 1953 movie Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. We all made it out with our hands intact, so I guess that means we are a very honest bunch! A few more train and bus rides brought us back to our campground by 1:30, just as everyone was ready for a little nap. I must say, we were pleasantly surprised by Rome and enjoyed our time there very much!

St. Peter's Basilica

The opulent interior of the basilica, which was partially designed by Michelangelo

The Colosseum

The impressive interior of The Colosseum,
including a view of the lower level, where the animals were kept

Taking a break at The Colosseum

The entrance to the Roman Forum

The entrance to Palatine Hill
(Clay was very impressed with all the arches!)

Palatial ruins at Palatine Hill, which is, in fact, where the word "palace" comes from

Looking across Circus Maximus toward Palatine Hill

We managed to capture a pretty decent family selfie,
with Palatine Hill in the background.

We all took a turn at Boca della Verita.
No liars here!


  1. Hi Watts family! We just found your blog. Can't wait to read about and see all of your adventures!

  2. Mendy, I'm glad you found us! I hope you will enjoy following our journey!

  3. You all are living my dream. I have spent the last hour catching up on your trip to this point. What a fabulous, wonderful gift you are giving yourselves that will never ever be forgotten. Thank you for allowing others to live vicariously through your writing. Btw, I was the Ch 1 tutor in Austin and met you several years ago. We now live in Plano. (Just so you know I am not a random stranger!)

  4. I'm so glad you found my blog, Blue Skies, and that you are following our journey. I hope you will enjoy being a part of our adventure from a distance. Your picture looks somewhat familiar, but I admit I do not remember your name. If you are comfortable sharing it, I would appreciate knowing who you are. Are you still part of a CC campus? Still tutoring? Thanks again for checking in.

  5. No, not tutoring anymore. I am taking a "sabbatical" and it has actually turned into stepping away from CC for a season, against my will in a sense because I love CC, but following the Lord's leading. I am Jessica DeMotte, and used to be at the CC North Austin campus until we moved in 2013.


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