Route Map


Day 65: Amish Paradise

Start: Berwyn, PA
End: Berwyn, PA
Miles Driven: 126.6 (10997.7 total)

Pennsylvania Dutch country is only an hour west of Katrina's house so we drove out for the day for an Amish adventure. The road took us through snowy fields and farmlands and the journey was made a bit slower when we encountered more than one horse and buggy along the way. We stopped often at the many roadside farmers' markets to sample the array of homemade cheeses, jams, and fudges for which the region is noted.

The highlight of the trip (for Patrick at least) was our lunch at the Bird-in-Hand Smorgasbord. Here, we were able to get full size samples of the local specialities including Shoofly Pie, the famous sugary and gooey Amish dessert. The pie was the first time on the trip we found something that Patrick would eat that Katrina didn't.

Before calling it a day we visited nearby Valley Forge, the site of the Continental Army's winter encampment under Gen. Washington in 1777-1778. It was so windy and cold that we had trouble spending 5 minutes outside there...we can't imagine spending an entire winter.


Day 64: Freedom (Fries) for All

Start: Berwyn, PA
End: Berwyn, PA
Miles Driven: 19.8 (10870.7 total)

In need of some brotherly love, we spent the day in downtown Philly. At Independence Hall we brushed up on our US history and saw the room in which the Declaration of Independence was debated, edited, and signed.

Across the street is the building that houses the Liberty Bell, which is normally packed with people in line to see the American relic. Luckily, we were in and out in five minutes. We are not sure if this was because it was a weekday in February or because the entire building smelled like a bathroom.

Philadelphia is home to one of five US mints in the country. Its focus is coins and medals, and we found the free tour very informational. A little too informational in fact as Patrick is still contemplating a quarter counterfeiting scheme.

We couldn't leave Philly without getting a real taste of the city: cheesesteaks of course. The only question was Geno's or Pat's. In the end, we opted for Geno's cheesesteaks and freedom fries due to better celebrity photos. If it's good enough for Justin Timberlake it's certainly good enough for us.


Days 62-63: Back Across the Pond

Start: Frankfurt, GER
End: Berwyn, PA
Miles Driven: 0 (10850.9 total)

Yesterday, much to our chagrin, our time in Europe came to an end. We spent most of the day in the air, and most of today recuperating and readjusting. We were able to upload the photos from our week in Europe which you can find on the left.


Day 61: Wurst City

Start: Rome, ITA
End: Frankfurt, GER

Miles Driven: 0 (10850.9 total)

We caught our early morning flight from Rome without a hitch and were in downtown Frankfurt by noon. Immediately we stopped at a stand to sample the finest German meats, a bratwurst and rindwurst, before sampling what Frankfurt had to offer.

Our first stop was the Kaiserdom, the church where the Holy Roman Empire's emporers were coronated. The suprisingly simple interior was much different than that of the other coronation spot we visited, Westminster Abbey. Other highlights included the Romer (City Hall) and St. Paul's Church, which served as Germany's first Parliament building. Thirsty for more sightseeing we stopped to read a guidebook for the city and found that we had covered everything in an hour and a half.
In search of a traditional German restaurant for dinner, we found more Italian and Indian food being offered than the national fare. We finally found a place in the square in front of the Romer where we enjoyed beer, Handkase, a local cheese specialty that is rather pungent and only tolerable in small quantities, and apfelstrudel.

Our hostel was conveniently located across from Frankfurt's main train station, and directly above one of the many strip clubs in the area. We prepared for a cozy night in our bunks to the soundtrack of our roommate who sereanaded us with the sounds of his sweet snoring mingled with "dance" music from below.


Day 60: Rome-ing Around

Start: Rome, ITA
End: Rome, ITA
Miles Driven: 0 (10850.9 total)

Our third day in Rome began with a visit to one of the most popular sites in Rome, the Colosseum. Two thousand years ago, the Colosseum hosted day-long spectacles of wild animal scenes, plays and contests--each performance usually ending in a slave, actor, or gladiator being slain in a gruesome manner. Thousands of Romans would gather for the events and admission was free, a tradition we wished they had kept up for current visitors.

Continuing our tour of Ancient Rome, we made our way to the Palatine and Roman Forum. Walking around the ruins was amazing. We saw columns and arches, the remains of temples and even an athletic stadium.

Next we set out in search of the Catacombs of St. Domitilla. We took the bus to the southern edge of the city...and then got thoroughly, utterly lost. The excursion included dodging crazy Italian drivers, hiking through a muddy field, and narrowly escaping angry guard dogs. Finally making it back to the outskirts of Rome, we were relieved to hop on a bus headed downtown. Unfortunately, five minutes into the drive, the bus driver seemed to be having trouble with the ignition. He put his hands in the air exclaiming "Morto!" and all us passengers were forced to disembark. While trying to decide our next step, we were approached by an Italian woman who insisted on helping us. She dragged us on a bus with her, then pulled us off and dragged us on another, and gave us further detailed instructions of which we did not understand a word. Luckily, Patrick eventually spotted the Colosseum and we hopped off the bus to make our way downtown by foot.
In need of rejuvination, we stopped for a taste of our first Italian gelato--which was absolutely delicious--before finding a restaurant for dinner. We savored every bite of the fresh pasta and bread at our last Italian meal.


Day 59: Observing the Sabbath

Start: Rome, ITA
End: Rome, ITA

Miles Driven: 0 (10850.9 total)

We woke up bright and early this morning in order to get to the Vatican, which opens at 9am. The museum is free the last Sunday of every month so we thought this would be a good day to go. Unfortunately every other tourist in Rome thought the same thing. The line was 4 city blocks long and growing when we arrived, but thankfully it only took us an hour to get inside. The highlights of the visit were Raphael's vibrant frescoes and the magnificence of the Sistine Chapel.

A trip to Vatican City would not be complete without a stop by St. Peter's as well. As we came upon the piazza in front of the basilica, we were met with an enormous and lively crowd. Turns out the liveliness was in response to the Pope, who was addressing the masses from his apartment window high above the Piazza San Pietro. We still have no idea what he said.

After the Pope spoke, we joined the masses on their pilgrimage inside the basilica. We saw the tombs of many popes, inlcuding John Paul II, and also the ornate shrine where St. Peter's remains rest. The basilca itself was breathtaking.

Next we headed back to the city center and happened upon the Piazza Venezia, where a gigantic shrine to Italy's first king Victor Emmanuel stands. We thought for sure the structure which contains giant columns and statues of chariots dated back hundreds of years, but it turns out it is modern by Rome standards as it is only a century old.

Our last sightseeing stop for the day was the historic Pantheon, the most well preserved structure from Ancient Rome. Over the centuries, it has served as a temple to the gods, a Christian Church, and now a tourist attraction for all.

Dinner was a feast of exquisite pasta dishes and Italian chianti. It was so good in fact, we had a second dinner down the street immediately after our first. Our new motto has become...when in Rome, eat dinner twice.