The Pope – Rock Star for the Nuns…Axl Rose – Rock Star for the Cougars…Are the two really that different?

On Wednesday April 25th I was part of the Papal audience at St. Peter’s Square, therefore knocking item #2 off my list. We had bought tickets with a tour group before we left so that we would get guaranteed seating.

The morning of April 25th we were up bright and early because we had to meet with the tour guide at 8:00 in St. Peter’s square, she suits us up with headsets and tells us about the history of the Vatican. At 8:30 we are fighting our way through the masses making a mad dash to get the best seats possible. Once seated you have about 2 hours to kill before the Pope makes his appearance. This is a good time to take in your surroundings.

The Square is set up for the event; we have concert seating, jumbo tron’s in front of the statue of St. Peter and St. Paul. Security consisted of The Swiss Guard and Papal secret service that were decked out in Armani suits and wearing Ray-Bans.  Religious groups, choirs, schools from all over the world were in attendance that day. The biggest fans were the Sister’s from Mexico. These wild nuns were waving banners that said “You enlighten my world”… Ok I do not know what the banners said but I really do not think I am that far off the mark. Also the wild nuns of Mexico would scream and holler every time the camera scanned the crowd. Its Nun’s gone wild live at St. Peter’s Square, very similar to the front row Cougars at an Axl Rose concert.

The Pope was to appear at 10am but he pulls an Axl Rose and he does not roll out until 10:45. I mean he literally rolls out; he is in the Pope mobile being driven through the square so that he can wave at his screaming, adoring fans. He loops the square a couple of times before he is driven up to his podium. Once at the his podium he stands for a moment, just basking in the cheering and hysterics of the crowd possibly catching a Rosary or two thrown by the wild nuns of Mexico.

Once seated the rest of the Pope Posse take center stage, in this case it’s the Cardinal’s of The Vatican. Seven different Cardinals representing seven different languages came to the mike to do ‘Shout Outs’ to the crowd. The Cardinal of France did a shout out to a French choir that started to sing for the Pope and I have to say it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. The crowd goes wild and the Pope sitting in his throne raises his hand to wave at the choir. He did this every time a ‘Shout Out’ was made. This went on for almost an hour than the Pope does his speech in all seven languages and finally at noon he gets up and stands center stage to bless the crowd.

The masses start to exit the square and the Pope Posse lines up on stage to kiss the Pope’s ring, now that makes him the ultimate Rock Star.

If you plan to visit Rome I really do think you should put this on your list, it is a long morning so bring water and snacks but it is quite the spectacle to see. Beside when will you ever get a chance to be part of a Papal Audience, really it’s only in Rome and as they say ‘When in Rome”.

To get free tickets to attend the Papal Audience you can get them on your own by filling out the following form http://www.vaticantour.com/images/Vatican_Ticket_request.pdf.

Or you can get them through a tour group; you have to pay but you get a guide that tells you about the history of the Vatican and does the fighting to get great seats for you.

**Current Buddha bank total $70 for 7 task completed on my list.

Rome, Florence and Italian leather can know be scratched off my 101 Things in 1001 Days List

On April 20 I hit the friendly skies and flew Alitalia to Rome with fellow Single Gals correspondent Queen B. I have to say even though Alitalia planes are old it was a pretty pleasurable travel experience. Maybe the free vino that they gave you on the plane helped with that. Free vino! I knew I was gonna love Italy!

Our itinerary was as follows :

Rome Day 1 – Quick tour of city that lasted 5 hours included hitting all the landmarks, having a late lunch, resting for an hour before hitting the town to enjoy the Roman night life.

Rome Day 2 – Went inside the Colosseum, ate gelato, walked across the River Tiber and ate at Da Meo Patacca.

Rome Day 3 – Took a day trip to Pompeii walked around the ruins of Pompeii for 5 hours without a map, therefore having no idea what we were looking at or what sites we should be seeing. My recommendation would be to take a tour so you get the history and get to see everything that you should see, if not a tour make sure to pick up a guide map.

Rome Day 4 – Shopping, walked to St. Peter’s Square, ate gelato, stumbled upon some really cool Gothic churches and ate Japanese food for dinner just to mix things up a bit.

Rome Day 5 – Attended the Papal Audience (Blog in the works), did a tour of the Sistine Chapel, had dinner that night down by the Roman seaside.

Florence Day 6 – Climbed the Duomo, walked around the markets, bought my leather jacket and got drunk that night with a couple of  nice Aussie blokes. We have decided that Aussies and Canadians are a lot alike.

Florence Day 7 –  Mildly Hung-over I attended the ‘Wanna be Itliano cooking class’ in Florence (blog in the works) and Queen B spend her day travelling to the Prada outlet.

Rome Day 8 – Our last night in Rome we were treated to a home cooked meal and I got to try on a leopard skin jacket…Before you judge remember I didn’t buy or kill it. This jacket was one of 16 ever made and worth over 20K. There will never be another chance in my lifetime where I will be presented with the opportunity to try on a jacket worth 20K. My future car purchase is not even going to be that much.

Rome Day 9 – Early flight home and this time we had vino at the back of the plane with the all male flight crew..Viva Italia!

A couple of my favourite places to eat were:

The Royal Art Cafe – We had our dinner on rooftop garden with an exceptional view on the Colosseum (see picture above) I had the veal piccata (veal cooked in a white wine and lemon sauce) it was to die for. It is not on the menu, so if you like veal just ask they do make it there.

Da Meo Patacca across the Tiber River – Not only was this the place where I saw some of the most fantastic looking men that I have ever laid eyes on but the food is spectacular. We ordered a few different dishes and every one of them was a delight to the taste buds. You have to try the Bruschetta al pomodoro (Roman Garlic Bread with tomato)  this was the best brushetta that I have ever eaten.

The Dinner Ritual

7:30 Meet up for an apéritif this is a pre-dinner drink that is supposed to help stimulate the appetite,  this drink is usually Champagne, Vermouth, Sherry or a light white wine. Our apéritif of choice was Prosecco. It was the start of our evening and the end of our evening.

8:30 – 10:30 is spent having dinner, after dinner you have a digestif (an alcoholic beverage to aid in digestion) . Digestif’s  are whiskey, brandy, grappa, or sweet liquors like Limoncello (our choice).

Where we stayed:

We spent 6 nights in Rome and stayed all six nights at Bocca Di Leone located around the corner from the Spanish Steps. It was a great little B&B that we had found online that turned out to be very nice. Breakfast was brought to our room every morning at the time we requested and the staff was great.

In Florence we stayed at the Hotel Orto de’Medici  the beds are comfy, rooms clean and quite. Located minutes from the Duomo. We got upgraded to a room with a terrace so that was a very pleasant surprise. Also you get a continental breakfast included in your stay, which offered a good variety of food options.

Survival Tips:

Wear comfy shoes, the cobble stone roads are killer on your feet. When in Italy you will be doing a lot of walking, my feet were so sore that near the end of my trip I almost broke down and bought Croc’s but thankfully Queen B was still in a sane mindset and talk me out of that ridiculousness. I hate Croc’s they have to be the ugliest footwear ever created. Sorry Croc’s people (you know who you are) those things are hideous!

Be wary of super helpful strangers at the trains stations etc., they may be looking for money.

Your cab fare doubles if you have luggage, even if you have knapsacks they will double your fare… such is life in Italy.

How to read the train ticket (we thought it was just general seating, but there are specific train cars that you are seated in):

This was just a small taste of what Italy has to offer, I do not think we even scratched the surface. I will go back one day but I have a couple of more countries to knock of my list before then.

Have you been to Italy? What recommendations would you make?

Happy Travels!

Day Zero Project: 101 Things in 1001 days

Recently I came across a blog post made my Sarah on the Go! she had discovered the Day Zero Project – Day Zero is a community for people who love creating lists, setting challenges, and making positive changes in their lives. I love this idea, I think it is a great way to get things you have always wanted to do DONE. It makes life a little more fun and interesting. If you have a task on the list and the opportunity arises to be able to complete that task then you HAVE to do it, rather than procrastinate, or not do it at all. I started to compile my list on March 29, 2012 and will need to complete all the tasks below by Dec. 25, 2014. This blog post is my first completed task and the first $10.00 deposit being made into my Buddha bank.

If this has inspired you to create your own list please let me know so I can knock #52 off my list.

My 101 things in 1001 Days List:

Places to Visit:

1) Rome

2) Be part of the Papal Audience

3) Visit Florence

4) Buy a Leather Jacket made in Italy

5) Visit San Francisco

6) Visit Australia

7) See 10 famous USA Landmarks

8) Spend a night at the Ice Hotel in Quebec

Writing, Education and Career:

9) Get blog award

10) Get blog featured on WordPress Freshly Pressed Page

11) Have a piece of writing published

12) Enter a writing contest

13) Write a letter to myself to be opened when the 1001 days is over

14) Leave an inspirational note inside a book for someone to find

15) Write all my bad memories on paper, burn this paper afterwards

16) Once a task is completed blog about it

17) Finish my 101 things in 1001 Days list and post first blog about it

18) Graduate from my Holistic Nutrition Program

19) Complete the Personal Image Consultant Course

20) Answer 50 Questions that will free your mind

21) Make a list of 50 places I would like to visit in my lifetime

22) Expand my vocabulary by 100 words

23) Comment on 50 random blogs

Books and Movies

24) Read 10 books from Oprah’s Book Club list

25) Watch Clockwork Orange

26) Watch 26 movies I’ve never seen starting with each letter of the alphabet

27) Go to a book signing

28) Read catcher in the rye

29) Spend a rainy day watching films in my PJ’s

30) Read a Classic

31) Watch 10 Documentary films

Eat, Drink, Be Merry

32) Eat 3 things I’ve never tried before

33) Make poutine

34) Brew my own beer

35) Eat an apple a day for a month

36) Go on a wine tour

37) Don’t eat chocolate for a month

38) Drink a glass of Cristal

39) Eat Dinner by candlelight

40) Don’t drink alcohol for one whole month

41) Make a birthday cake for someone

42) Make every dish in my favorite cookbook

43) Cook Vegetarian Food for a group of friends

44) Learn to make 5 cocktails

45) Take a cooking class for a different type of cuisine

46) Bake 10 different types of cookies

47) Try on new recipe every week

48) Try absinthe

49) Cook a Turkey

50) Have Afternoon Tea in the Library Bar at the Royal York Hotel

51) Do a 3 day juice cleanse

Good Deeds

52) Inspire Someone to make a 101/1001 list

53) Randomly pay for someone in line behind me

54) Pay a compliment to at least one person a day for a week

55) Volunteer for Therapy Dog Services

56) Perform 10 random acts of kindness

57) Donate old clothes to charity

58) Send a care package to a solider

It’s all about me

59) Find out my blood type

60) Take a belly dancing class

61) Lose 25 pounds

62) Enter the Eat Clean diet makeover challenge

63) Get my teeth whitened

64) Go through my closet and get rid of old clothes

65) Identify 101 things which make me happy, or smile, and photograph them

66) Go on a date

67) Get a boyfriend

68) Buy a Vitamix

69) See a live taping of a TV show

70) Meet a celebrity

71) Buy a new car

72) Buy and wear a bikini

73) Go a week without buying anything

74) Do something out of my comfort zone

75) Don’t complain about anything for a week

76) Kiss underwater

77) Create a scrapbook for all my concert tickets

78) Send out Christmas cards of me in a tacky xmas sweater sitting under the tree with my pets. Retro 80’s style

79) Watch the sunrise and sunset on the same day

Things to keep life interesting:

80) Learn to Kite Surf

81) Play the drums in front of people

82) Dog sled

83) Go whale watching

84) Ride in a helicopter

85) Ride in a hot air balloon

86) Learn to shoot a gun at a Shooting range

87) Learn and play curling

88) Take a trapeze class

89) Ride a snowmobile

90) Learn to drive a race car – Exotic racing school Las Vegas

91) See a live UFC fight

92) Try a crossfit class

93) See Cirque du Soleil

The other totally random doable things to get done in 1001 days:

94) Plant a garden

95) Put away $10 for every goal completed

96) At the end of 1001 days use the money that I had put away for every task completed and take my family out to dinner

97) Buy a Magic 8 Ball and base all my decisions on it for a whole day

98) Whenever anyone sneezes say ‘ You’re So Good Looking’ for a day

99) Buy the WTF? Stamp and use it all day at the office

100) Buy and keep alive a houseplant

101) Attend an Elvis Wedding in Vegas

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