We did not just play with the pigeons for the entire afternoon (Sunday).We also visited Placa de Catalunya. We walked all over. We stopped often for the children to play to keep them distracted. They did not get a chance to notice just how far we walked, before taking the metro back. Plaça de Catalunya is a large square in central Barcelona that is generally considered to be both its city centre and the place where the old city and the 19th century-built Eixample meet.
It seems no matter where we travel, my children will find pigeons. Why go see sights when you can just go to the nearby park to play with pigeons for hours? When I say it’s time to go, Jordan reacts in total disbelief.
On Sunday, we intended to do a bus tour of Barcelona. We changed that plan to Tuesday instead. Monday was reserved for the beach. We just could not get out of the apartment before 2 p.m. It became a more relaxing and fun afternoon. We took the metro to see what we could see.
On Saturday at 8 a.m., we had to be at the airport. Our flight was due to take off at 10 a.m. So long, Rome, Italy….until next time. It was only a two-hour flight. I would not get a chance to sleep. I needed to sleep so badly, since I hadn’t closed my eyes until 3 a.m. What in the world do I do, you wonder? I don’t know. But honestly, there is always something for me to do. I have to do it while the children are sleeping. While they are awake, we’re doing some sort of activity. There’s just not enough time in the day.
Children and I dozed off and on. It’s a given that Christopher is going to sleep on the airplane. This morning, we all followed suit. I think I noticed that Janel was reading a book. Unsure if she slept at all.
We landed in Barcelona, Spain. The rest of the day was work for me. Vacation or not, laundry was waiting for me. Once we got to the apartment, I quickly started doing laundry. So far, I’ve noticed that most people put clothes to dry outside on a line. I so dislike doing that. You literally have to wait for hours to dry one load. Who has that kind of time? Days later, more dirty clothes–things we take for granted. Thank goodness at least for a washing machine. I unpacked and did laundry.
We went out for late lunch. We had to see a bit of the neighborhood. Jordan, you guessed it, had his usual pizza. We had to go grocery shopping because the supermarket would not be open on Sunday. Once we returned, we stayed in for the night. Christopher made the most spectacular dinner…….. I wish you could have had a taste. It was sooooo good.
I was up all night (Thursday) packing for our next move to Barcelona (I’m not done). I finally closed my eyes around 5:50 a.m Friday, only to wake up at 9 am to get children ready for the zoo. As usual, I was very tired. But who goes on vacation to sleep? Today was the children’s day. They’ve been looking forward to the zoo all week. So we had to go. I didn’t mind. I love to see them get excited about things. Ohhhh Boy, did they ever have a good time!!!!! Bioparco Zoo was awesome. It had more than 1000 animals to keep all of our interests. The zoo was not crowded at all, surprisingly. They were able to explore at their leisure. They wanted to touch and see everything. You know they had to chase peacocks, ducks, chicken, butterflies etc…….. Of course we had pizza and ice cream for lunch. We took a ride on a four wheeled bike from zoo to metro (about 15 minutes). The children were ecstatic. Janel could not stop smiling. She kept saying, “This is really cool!” “Wow!” The bike was just an unexpected surprise. The walk from the zoo to metro was going to be over 50 minutes with three tired children. Christopher and I were tired as well. Between the two of us, we would have to carry the little ones most of the way. So the bike passed by right on time. As parents, you then try to act as if that was the plan all along…..lol. NOT!! Today was simply marvelous…..easy ! We still had to have dinner and I needed to organize for our departure. I tried my hardest to get children in bed by 10:30 p.m. We were flying out to Barcelona the next morning (Saturday).
Thursday’s adventure included a fast pace visit to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. You can’t possibly enjoy Museums of such magnitude and beauty in a day, let alone 3 hours. It just isn’t possible. If you’re rushing because your six year son is complaining loudly (making his displeasure known to all ), you can forget it. So you don’t really get to appreciate this wonder that is VATICAN CITY. One can always try. It was a long afternoon. Jordan was so unhappy. He wanted to be anywhere else, but the Vatican. He started asking for exits immediately. Unfortunately, once you are inside the Museum, it’s not easy to get out. It was so crowded. You were just moving through people. This is another sight that I will have to come back to see without CHILDREN.
I am not forgetting Alexandra and Janel. At this point, they are perfect little ladies. They pretty much go with the flow. Alex just wants to be carried when she gets too tired. She has no problem falling asleep on her Daddy’s shoulders. She gets excited about everything. However, she does feed off of Jordan’s emotions at that times. But her crises don’t last. Janel is a typical teenager. You can’t tell whether or not she’s happy, content or miserable most of the time. She’s not rude about it. She’s just quiet. Of course, I can’t say enough about Christopher. He’s our rock. Thank God for him; he keeps me sane. I know you don’t see too many pictures of Christopher. There’s a good reason for that. He’s the family photographer. He’s usually behind the scene……(Between you and me, I think he’s afraid that I may drop or loose his camera. So he hardly lets me hold it. His fears are real possibilities….lol….).
See pictures below:
(click on photos to enlarge)
We did not do a lot of sightseeing yesterday because we dedicated that day to catch up on work. Christopher had several work deadlines to meet. Jordan has math, spelling, and summer reading assignments that we’ve neglected for the past three days. Janel has a lot of work (biology, Spanish, summer reading, college stuff, etc.) to finish for her senior year at Oak Knoll School. Alexandra was working on her alphabet. I supervised everyone to make sure the work was getting done. You and I both know they would rather be outside seeing more of Rome. However, in the Chapman household, the motto is, “Work hard play even harder”. By the way, the baby next to Alex is Maddie. She travels everywhere with us. I have the same Maddie twin waiting at home just in case she’s accidentally left in a cab, airplane, crushed underneath two tires while on a ski trip… You never know what could happen to Maddie. None of you better ever mention any of this to Alex!!!!!
We did go out much later in the evening. Jordan was not too thrilled with the schedule. As soon as he was done, outside started calling his name. He and Christopher went out briefly to get lunch. We stopped working by 5 p.m. to get ready for our evening adventure. Everybody looked adorable including Maddie.
Things were going really well until I told Jordan he had to button up his shirt. He wanted to be like Michael Jackson and leave the shirt wide open to show off his undershirt. Who does those things? Where does he come up with this ideas? Of course that was not working for Christopher and me. We vetoed the idea. CRISIS!!!!!! He lost his mind. From then on, things went down hill.
He was in a a foul mood. He was pouting. He refused to take pictures. He no longer wanted to walk anywhere. He was acting like a spoiled little child. (Basically acting like Christopher when he was that age and had to have things his way. Well……I can’t say Jordan was acting like me. I was the perfect little angel at that age. I’m serious! I did what I was told. You just have to take my word for it!!!!!!)
Everyone wanted to eat, but we preferred to look around the neighborhood first.
But then, Alex followed suit with Jordan and started complaining about food. So we decided to abandon the walk and just go to dinner. We passed several pizzerias along the way. At each one, Jordan said, “This pizza place looks good to me!” Janel and I said no way. We were looking too pretty and wanted a nice restaurant. Now my Mama is not going to be happy reading that her Grandchildren have been living on pizza. But, let’s all remind my mother that in the NJ school district, pizza is now considered “healthy food”. So as far as I’m concerned, the picky little boy is eating healthy. No, I will not say that to my Mama’s face, just on the blog. To continue…….we found this nice restaurant with outside seating.
The first food ordered was the boy’s pizza. Christopher said to the waiter, “Can we get a Margherita pizza with cheese?” The waiter asked, “What kind of cheese? Mozzarella or ricotta?” Christopher answered, “Mozzarella cheese.” Then we ordered for ourselves. Alex was going to eat pizza with Jordan. We waited for over 25 minutes. When the food finally arrived, the waiters placed the main course on table before going back for the appetizers. Now, I’m no food critic or expert, but I had been hoping that the appetizers would curb our hunger until the main course.
With all of that said, we all (especially Jordan) realized that there was one dish missing and a ball of mozzarella on lettuce was in its place.
We assumed that the pizza was on its way. The waiter then asked if everything was okay. We all looked at each other. Christopher then asked the waiter for the pizza. The waiter: “WHAT PIZZA?! We do not serve pizza; this is not pizzeria! This is ristorante!!!” He seemed quite insulted. We looked at each other again, thinking, “What’s his point? A restaurant is a restaurant! This is Italy! Pizza and pasta everywhere, no?!” and, more importantly, “What do we do NOW?!” Jordan had no food. He had been waiting (and waiting and waiting and waiting) for his pizza since lunch (granted that his lunch had been pizza as well), and after we finally chose a restaurant with the perfect setting, there was NO PIZZA! We didn’t know what to do. For a minute or two, we wondered whether to get up and leave or just eat our food (which admittedly looked pretty good).
What kind of parents were we?! Dilemmas, dilemmas, dilemmas… We also didn’t want to be considered ‘rude Americans’ by our host. So we (minus Jordan) indulged ourselves. We attempted everything: we tried to bribe the boy with bruschetta, pasta, water, lettuce, you name it…but he wasn’t having it. On the other hand, Alex was having a blast going with the flow and trying new things. She had decided that her hunger was too great and wanted to taste something from everyone’s plate. So she ate well.
Unfortunately this was not the case for Jordan. We did, however, give him permission to play games on our iPhones at the table, which we never would have done at dinner. The circumstances were just too overwhelming to stick to the status quo.
We tried to eat as quickly as possible, and we even left Christopher at the table to pay the bill so we could rush and order a pizza down the block (they know us pretty well over there by now). No time for dessert! Jordan had to eat. This is what happens when you don’t understand the language.
Hot Day (Tuesday)! Even Hotter Week!!!! I love the heat. This is just a bit much. We only have a few days to see many sights. That’s not so easy with young children. They have no appreciation for walking in the hot sun. They have even less patience for standing in long lines to see things that they could not comprehend. So we try to shorten the length of our stay in one venue. We also search for grass, shades and a play area to distract them. Christopher is very good at keeping them busy while Janel and I stand in the long lines to explore further. We ate a lot of ice cream once again today. I am not complaining. My recipe for Rome is lots of ice cream and plenty of water (except if you’re Jordan…..then pizza is a most also).
We had a fantastic day even with the hot sun. Christopher made it clear the night before that his children were not going to be exhausted, cranky and miserable at the end of everyday because I chose to drag them everywhere. I had better pick one or two places at the most to visit per day. We will simply have to come back to Rome (Europe) on our own when the children were in college to explore in depth. He felt that I pushed them too far (in terms of seeing this and that) and kept them out too late on Monday. Both children fell asleep on the bus and we did not bring a stroller for Alex. He reminded me that this vacation was for his babies. He wanted them to enjoy it at their pace. I took several deep breaths and exhale. I agreed with him. I don’t want the only memories they take from this beautiful city is the feeling of being tired and miserable. I erased quite a few things from my Rome to do list.
So…… on the children’s pace, we made it to the Mouth of Truth. That is after we had a leisure breakfast. They played outside. We strolled to catch the bus. No more rushing here and there! (They did not move that much faster anyway) I’ve given up on the idea of needing to see many sights. It was not going to happen. I’m content knowing that we will come back.
We then had a two hour lunch before heading to the Trevi Fountain. That’s a beautiful fountain. Wow! Even with so many visitors, your mind and body felt a sense of tranquility. My children were so excited about the Fountain until they realized they could not touch or play in the water. They had to be satisfied with just looking at it from a distance.
Once again, we went to bed very late Sunday night. That was not the plan. I wanted to get everybody in bed by at least 9:30 p.m. I wanted to go sightseeing all day. Children have no interest in sightseeing all day. Are you kidding me! If you can get one or two events out of them, you’re good.
We did not make it out of the house until 12 p.m. (Monday). We walked 4 minutes to Termini Station. We had lunch. Janel is the only sensible child/teenager when it comes to food with my group. Today Alexandra was unhappy child who did not care for anything that we ordered. I was more than ready to ignore her. However, her father would hear none of that. He cajoled her into eating eventually. SO BEGINS OUR ADVENTURE INTO ROME………
Our first stop was the COLOSSEUM. Gorgeous sunny day! Janel loved it. Children had a blast running up the hill! We wanted to see the Colosseum. Jordan and Alex only wanted to chase the pigeons.
Everywhere just about in every shop in Rome, there is a “Saldi” sign. Of course I’m interested because I want to buy. The first thing I needed to buy was a brush for my make up. Understand that I completely over packed as usual. Yet, I managed to forget the essential brush to help create my divine look…… So this morning, Janel and I were very excited to spot a Sephora store without looking for one. Well, guess what?……the simple brush cost 28.30 Euros which is $37.23. That was one of the cheaper brushes. Do you hear me? That was the sale! I couldn’t believe it. No, I did not buy the brush. I was outraged. Have they heard of Walmart or Target? With all of that said, ask me again in a few days how long I intend to go without that brush.
What a day!!!!! Our first official day in Rome! We landed on Sunday morning.
By the time we arrived in our apartment, everyone was past exhausted. Remember Janel and I never went to sleep. Christopher barely slept for 2 hours. The flight was less than two hours. The lack of sleep and jet lag from before made us feel blahhhhh….. We couldn’t really appreciate anything about Rome at that time. A good shower and dreamland were priority. Once again, Alex had to be carried inside. She was fast asleep. Well, Jordan was in and out slumber. He needed to be carried also.
Of course as soon as Christopher laid him down, he was wide awake…..ready for action. No time to waste……They went food shopping. Alex and I had to sleep. Eventually all of us had a good rest. We are conveniently located near restaurants, shops, lots of pizza for Jordan and plenty of ice cream for me…lol. WELL, someone needs to eat all of that good ice cream. It may as well be me!!!!! Don’t laugh!!!!! 8 p. m., we went out to dinner and to take a closer look at this fabulous city called Rome. We just walked a few blocks. Alexandra had to be carried. She knows her father will never say no. Dinner was great for most of us, except Jordan. Alex will try different things, but not Jordan. We are in Italy….right? Pizza and pasta are without a doubt the best on earth. GUESS AGAIN!!! Jordan wanted pizza. We ordered pizza for the boy. Pizza came, child took one look, and said, “I don’t want that pizza!” “Where’s the cheese?” “Why does it look like that?” Why does it smell like that?” “YACK!!!” We’re trying to keep him calm. He was getting very agitated. He was hungry and was looking forward to eating the best pizza. He’s been told by others and us that Italy would give him the best. Jordan was expecting his favorite pizza from Calabria (Cranford, NJ). The look, shape, and taste were too drastically different for him. He was upset. He did not want anything else to eat. He suggested that we go to Calabria to get him pizza and the rest of us could eat at the restaurant. We had to order two other pizzas. He still was not happy, but he could tolerate the third. Why 3 pizzas? Because that restaurant did not serve slices. How dare we even ask such a question? We were all happy to have dinner behind us and move elsewhere for dessert. You know children…….. Once we stepped outside, everything was forgotten. They moved on to bigger and better things.