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Three Days in Rome: Part 3 (The Sistine Chapel, The Vatican Museum, and the day when jet lag really caught up with me!)

Three Days in Rome

If you missed my other trip posts, read the Day #1 recap and the Day #2 recap

Day #3 of our Epic Trip to Italy and Israel with the Museum of the Bible started rough. I spent most of the night lying in bed looking at the fronts of my eyelids unable to fall asleep (hello, jet lag!).

I finally fell asleep and then woke with a start at 6:30 am… And realized the two alarms I had set never went off and I needed to be down in the lobby ready for the day by 7:10 am. Yikes! So much for washing and blow drying my hair!

Instead, of washing my hair, I sported Day #2 of the I-Really-Need-To-Wash-My-Hair messy updo look. It worked and it allowed me to be down in the lobby with my eyes open and my brain semi-functioning.

Three Days in Rome
The reason we had to be up and out the door so early was because our hosts had secured a private tour of the Sistine Chapel for us. From what we were told, this was a very special honor. And judging from the crowds of people who were lined outside waiting to get in after we got there, it truly was.

We weren’t allowed to take photos in the Sistine Chapel, but I can tell you that it was breath-taking and inspiring… especially to be looking at such amazing artwork in person!
Three Days in Rome

Three Days in Rome

We spent most of the rest of the morning at the Vatican Museum. It was almost overwhelming — especially in my sleep-deprived and hungry state (I had made the mistake of not eating that morning in my rush to get out the door on time!)

There was SO much to look at. So much artwork. So many ornate ceilings. So many paintings. So many plaques and interesting artifacts. It was almost mind-boggling and hard to take it all in.

Three Days in Rome: An Update
Three Days in Rome

Then we headed to St. Peter’s Basilica (again, whoa!!) for a short while before walking to lunch. I was SO hungry by then — after skipping breakfast and all of that walking and standing.

We went to a local restaurant and I was the woman who boldly ordered TWO cafe lattes + a huge cheese pizza. I was famished and tired and it was just what I needed! And it pretty much tasted like the best coffee and pizza I’d ever had after all that walking, the sleepless night, and the early morning!

Our lunch table was made up of an even mix of Jews, Catholics, and Protestants and we had such great discussions… it was beautiful to see people from differing faith backgrounds come together on this trip to learn from each other, listen to one another, and love each other well — in spite of theological differences and beliefs.

Three Days in Rome

We only took a few group shots on the trip, but this was one of my favorites! Such a diverse group of people with so much collective experience and wisdom and insight to share!

We had planned to walk back from lunch to the bus and then head back to our hotel. The bus was about a 20-minute walk away and, a few minutes into the walk, it started pouring rain. It was windy and freezing and our umbrellas did little to shield us from the blowing rain.

We took shelter in a cafe and waited for the rain to die down and the bus to drive to a closer location. By the time the rain let up, we were all freezing and wet and tired… and I was so ready to get back to the hotel.

We had an option of going to the Coliseum or going to the hotel. I would have loved to see the inside of the Coliseum, but I knew that if I was going to last for 7 more days at this intense pace, I needed sleep, rest, and quiet.

So I opted to stay back at the hotel and skip the Coliseum and dinner and just ordered room service and enjoyed “introverting” in my hotel room for the afternoon and evening. It was just what I needed to cap out our time in Rome and prep to fly to Israel the next day!

{See? Even on this whirlwind trip, I tried to remember I am observing a Year of Rest. I think that prioritizing a few blocks of time throughout the trip for self-care really was key in allowing me to survive such a fast-paced and stretching schedule for 10 days!}

Three Days in Rome: An Update

My mom texted me and asked if I was getting enough to eat… I texted her back this picture of my room service cart and she texted back something about “Well, I guess I don’t need to worry about THAT!” 🙂

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  • Love this! Your meals sound and look amazing. That is a GREAT group photo!

  • What an amazing experience! I can’t wait to get to Italy someday. SO much of what I studied in art history is in Italy and I’d love to see it in person.

  • Kaight says:

    This seems like an amazing trip. It’s hard to tell from the picture, but were there any people of color on this trip? I’m asking because I have seen so many of these blogger trips lacking people of color.

    • Sadly, there was only one Asian in our group, Jeff Chu (in addition to the Jewish people and one Russian who were in our group). From what I understand, they invited other people from different ethnic backgrounds, but none of them were able to come. 🙁

      I would have loved for the group to be more ethnically diverse, as I think that would have brought even more perspective to the various topics and subjects we were discussing.

  • Emily says:

    I chuckled when I saw your room service pic. When I was in asian this past summer for work (over 2 weeks), on the ocassional night, we didn’t have to have business dinners, I ALWAYS ordered a club sandwich. World wide, it’s the safe item to order in a hotel!

    • I was trying to find something that was somewhat “American” because I wanted comfort food that night. Unfortunately, it was a snoked salmon sandwich and had a weird sauce on it so I didn’t enjoy it quite like I had hoped to. But the fries and cake were great! 🙂

  • Amy says:

    So even when my kids are 30, I’ll be asking them if theyve eaten enough? Gotta love the moms!

  • Rosanna says:

    Wow! I love your pictures! I literally just said to my husband that maybe I want to go to Rome. I had never even considered it before. This is coming from the girl who’s never been outside of North America…

  • lizajane says:

    Thank you for taking us along on your trip!

  • Jen says:

    So fun to hear about all the details! Sounds like the trip of a lifetime. Thanks for sharing it with us!

  • Victoria says:

    The art is breath taking. Italy and Greece are two countries I want to make it to some day.

  • Aimee says:

    Incredible pictures! What an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing! This is not my season in life to travel so I am living vicariously! 😉

  • B. says:

    What an amazing trip! Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Just seeing your pictures from the Vatican gives me chills. I would love to have the privilege of visiting there some day. And I’m so happy to read about people of different faith backgrounds experiencing this together. What a fascinating trip! Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Michele says:

    Hi Crystal,

    I’m curious what brought together people from Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism on this trip – was everyone traveling with the Museum of the Bible group? I looked at your link to the museum, and it appears to be a museum based on Protestant theology (correct me if I’m wrong), so I’m wondering if those of various religions were all travelers with your group or perhaps there were different groups together? Also, was there a mission for this trip – were you all supporters/friends of the Museum?

    I’m enjoying my armchair travel with you. I was in Rome many years ago – on a semester abroad in college. Nothing like traveling abroad to broaden ones perspective of the world. My 14-year old daughter is leaving for Paris this weekend with her French class at school. Can’t wait to hear how she is changed when she comes home. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!

    • The group was all invited by Museum of the Bible… their goal is to bring together those who love the Bible from differing faiths to celebrate this Book and the importance of it in history. The museum is not specifically Protestant but showcases the Bible throughout history. You can read more about it here:

      The mission of this trip was to bring together a diverse group of people to get excited about the Bible and how it has impacted history. They secondarily wanted to give us a behind-the-scenes look at how the museum has come together and their heart behind it (we got to meet many different people and groups they are working with — such as those from the Sistene Chapel, those from the Jewish faith, those at the Vatican museum, etc.)

      • Michele says:

        Thanks so much for your reply. I was very curious. I will check out the Museum of the Bible when it gets built. I lived in DC for over 20 years and go there frequently. Thanks!

  • Mary says:

    So glad you had a great experience. I hope you don’t mind, but it is “Sistine” chapel, not Sistene.

  • Linda says:

    This trip sounds like such a blessing and so amazing to experience! On a different note… on the group pic it totally looks like Eric Dane standing next to your left.

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