Dear Family & Friends,

It seems the adventure is starting to gain momentum towards the end even though I have three and half weeks to go.
Sunday the three of us did the obligatory tour of Rome. A very quick minimal tour. We took a taxi into downtown.. (Seems my other two travelers have more sense than me and didn’t think it would be fun to ride our motorcycles into central Rome)
Getting into central Rome was complicated because they were having a big running race so many streets  were closed. Eventually our cab driver gave up and told us to get out and gave us walking directions to our goal, The Coliseum.
The weather was perfect so a walk was a delight. After taking the obligatory pics at the Coliseum we took a horse and carriage ride to the Vatican. Our driver gave us a short tour of downtown with explanations of all the ruins we were seeing.
When we got to the Vatican it was Sunday and there was a huge outdoor service going on. Unfortunately we could not get into the main chapel due the services. I have seen it before and it is spectacular but Kim and Duane had not seen it.
The services were impressive, a MASSIVE crowd and the traditional music and chanting was very beautiful. I don’t think the pope was actually leading this service but  it may have been. He looked very familiar. 

After services we were hungry and ready for lunch.  As good as Italian food is we were all getting very tired of it. Kim spotted a restaurant that specialized in MEAT so Duane was a good sport and we went there for lunch. I am not sure if it was just the desire for something familiar but I had one of the best hamburgers ever!!
That night we went back to the hotel and went out for our “Last Supper” as a threesome. 
Monday AM Kim and I rode through Rome traffic to return her rental motorcycle. This was her last day with us.. 🙁  I was sad to see her going home but I was also extremely relieved to know she finished this extremely long and challenging ride safe and sound. Once the bike was returned Kim rode back to the motel on the back of my motorcycle…. probably the most dangerous part of the entire ride..
So we said our good byes and Duane and I took off for todays ride to Florence. As we left the motel my GPS started going haywire. It was giving me erratic directions and indicating turns where there was no streets. So as not to alarm Duane I decided to navigate our way out of Rome using my solar navigation techniques.  Amazingly we got out of Rome twice as fast as our arrival and we were soon zipping down the freeway towards Florence. By then my GPS finished its hissy fit and was operating fine. The ride was FAST due to great roads, the weather was perfect, and even though it was mostly highway the views were still great. Green countryside and lots of old villages and Roman ruins.
I think we enjoyed the day even more knowing from today on, as we head farther north the weather will get colder and colder and wetter and wetter. No one ever said riding a motorcycle in northern Europe in late October was a smart idea….
Still a couple of weeks more of adventure left in our trip. We have an exciting evening planned in two days so I will have a good report then,

Here we are having our first meal in Rome.. Most of my life there was no such word as “Selfie”. Now I understand what it means, “a poor close up photo of yourself.”

Entering downtown Rome.

A running race going right threw downtown Rome, making it hard to get anywhere.

The classic tourist attraction, the Colosseum.  Rome is such as amazing combination of very OLD and very new.

The “Accidental Tourists” 🙂

I saw this very cool vintage sidecar rig going right through central Rome, near blocks from the Vatican.

We didn’t get to go into St.Marys since it was Sunday and there was an active service going on.
I saw this clergy at the Vatican.. Not sure if it was the Pope,  but he certainly looked familiar… ??

All through out Europe at all the tourist sites there is heaven security. Heavily armed security. This  soldier was NOT happy I took his picture.

After three weeks in Italy eating pasta and hamburger sounded great and this place didn’t disappoint. I am not sure if it was the best burger I have ever eaten but it sure tasted like it that day!!

My kind of place….

The Italians are very impressive people…

Kim and I went for a walk one evening and I got to see an authentic Italian mall!! I am not sure but I think women have a 6th sense about finding malls anywhere in the world..

I thought seeing this street sign was way cool. My car friends will know this was a VERY famous Italian race car driver from the 1920s and 1930s.. One of the greats.

Clem,  this photo is just for you.. 😉
Our last group photo before Kim heads home.. ;(
Here Kim is about the return her rental motorcycle in Rome. This was her last day riding. She had mixed feelings knowing her adventure is over but anxious to get home to Becky. I really enjoyed having her along but I am also relieved to know she completed a long, at times difficult ride safe and sound.. 🙂

A delightful out door restaurant near your motel in Rome. We ate there twice and both times it was great.

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