New Camera!

My old camera died and went to camera heaven. I took my new one out and snapped some pics…


Beautiful Rome

Rome is such a magical city.  Unlike many other European cities, there are no skyscrapers dotting the skyline, casting shadows over their ancient and medieval monuments.  This is a city whose inhabitants consider themselves Romans before being Italian, and take great pride in their heritage and their food.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got to Rome…I had heard it was a bit dirty, and the chance of being pickpocketed was higher than other places.  I found it to be rather charming, though.  Sure, there’s trash on the streets here and there, and the sidewalks are crowded with tourists and city dwellers.  I’ve been to many European cities and villages, and Rome had its own unique atmosphere.


It was early November when I arrived.  The sky was dotted with clouds, and most of the weather forecasts called for rain almost each evening.  I live in Seattle, so a little rain isn’t going to scare me away.  Rome can be notoriously hot in the summer, so I was glad to be there in the fall, when there are also fewer tourists.  I booked this trip kind of on a spur of the moment.  I had been there once before, but only for about a day and a half…certainly not enough time to experience all that the city has to offer.

I had purchased a pass that included entry to several different attractions, but I didn’t use it.  I found that, with so much history surrounding me, I needed guided tours.  There’s a wonderful company I had heard about while surfing YouTube for travel ideas.  The company is called Walks of Italy, and they specialize in walking tours around the city, and grant visitors with unprecedented access to some of the city’s most famous sites.  I went on more than one tour with them: Pristine Sistine, Gladiators’ Gate at the Colosseum, the Catacombs, and an extensive tour of the ruins at Palatine Hill.


Of all the tours, I think Pristine Sistine was my absolute favorite (they were all fantastic, though).  Our guide, Davide, was animated, funny, and very informative.  He’s the one that told us that Romans consider themselves Roman over Italian.  This tour gave us early access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel.  We didn’t have to push through large crowds, and it felt like a very intimate, private event.  There were only a handful of us in the group, too.  The tour ends inside Saint Peter’s Basilica, so tour groups are awed from beginning to end.

Seeing the Colosseum was a dream come true as well.  I found myself going there several times during my week in Rome, sometimes just to stand outside and marvel at it.  It’s so amazing to see this behemoth that was constructed 2,000 years ago, and picture the masses of people sitting around the arena.  IMG_2332

The catacombs are a definite must-see, as well.  I had a mishap with my camera, and pictures are not allowed inside the catacombs, so there aren’t any pictures of my tour.  We saw three different sites: The Capuchin Crypt, one of the least visited Roman catacombs, and the Basilica San Nicola in Carcere.  You can find out more about that tour, and see pics here.  In the catacombs we visited on this tour, we saw the oldest known painting of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, painted in the 200’s AD.  Even as an atheist, I found this tour very interesting.

The food was beyond amazing!  To replenish my body at the end of the day, I would gorge myself on carbonara and tiramisu.  Historia La Vacca won my vote as best restaurant in Rome.  The food was so good, I ended up eating there twice.  IMG_2740

If you haven’t been to Rome yet, put it on your bucket list.  Everything about it makes it a must-see.  Take a little peek at my Instagram: @thesolovoyager, for more pics of my trip.  Due to an accident with my camera, most of my pics were taken with my iPhone.

My New Love Affair With Delta Air Lines

When I fly international, I usually try to fly a flag carrier of the country I’m going to.  I’ve had the opportunity to experience the wonderful service on board Qantas, Air France, and British Airways, just to name a few.  On my recent trip to Italy, however, I was faced with the opportunity to fly on Delta.  I’ve flown with Delta domestically many times, and have been very pleased.  One of my more recent trips, from Seattle to LAX, the head purser greeted us with a smile and a, “Hello, friend!”  For my trip to Rome, Expedia gave me the option to fly Delta One, their business class product, from Seattle to Amsterdam.  From Amsterdam, I was on a KLM flight, which I’ll discuss later.  Spoiler Alert: I love KLM too!

Delta has a pretty large presence here in Seattle.  There are billboards everywhere, and it seems like Delta and Alaska Airlines own the terminals.  Check-in was a breeze, and I was given the option of choosing between two lounges to relax in.  I opted for the Delta lounge in the S terminals, where Seattle’s international flights arrive and depart.  The lounge was comfy, but a bit crowded.  It was Friday, after all, so that was to be expected.  Everyone was glued to the windows to watch the snow falling outside.

After a bit of a delay due to the weather, it was finally time to board the big, beautiful A330-300 aircraft that would whisk me across the US, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the UK, and into Amsterdam.  I was already in love with the Delta One seats, after watching some YouTube reviews.  I settled in with a drink, and waited to take off.


The window seats are perfect for anyone traveling alone, as they point slightly toward the windows to give passengers a sense of privacy.  The middle seats point toward each other, so there’s a little less privacy there.  Each seat has direct aisle access, a nice big screen for the in flight entertainment (IFE), and a seat that lies fully flat.

The service was PHENOMENAL!!!  That goes for my return trip as well.  The food offerings were great, and there was a small setup at the front of the cabin with little snacks and beverages.  The seat was comfy, and I never felt bored with all the IFE options.  I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about my time with Delta.  Actually, flying with Delta gave me a sense of security and comfort.  I had a short connection in Amsterdam on the way home, and jumping back on a Delta flight made me feel like an old friend was picking me up to take me home.

Delta’s partnership with KLM and Air France make it easy to get from the US to any point in Europe.  I think I’ll go out of my way to book myself on a Delta flight next time I have the opportunity.  I transitioned safely to a KLM flight from Amsterdam to Rome, and fell madly in love with KLM as well.  I’ll write more about them early next year…I’ll be flying their 787 on my way home from Edinburgh.

So, thank you, Delta Air Lines!  You’ve reached the summit of my list of favorite airlines.