Everything you need to know about exploring Vatican City

Vatican City, one of the most sacred place to visit for Roman Catholics. Actually, religious or not, it surely is worth the visit when you find yourself in Rome due to its beautiful architecture, museum, and history. It also inscribed as a UNESCO site in 1984 and the only one that consist of an entire state.

So, what do you get to see when you visit Vatican City?

First on the list is the St. Peter’s Square or Piazza San Pietro (in Italian). You can’t miss this as it’s what will be welcoming you once you enter the gates of Vatican City. This large plaza located directly in front of the St. Peter’s Basilica. This is one of the picturistique places in Vatican where most tourists take their #instagrammable photos.

You wouldn’t want to miss seeing what’s inside your backdrop when you took that photo at St. Peter’s Square don’t you?! St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the holiest holiest sites of Christianity and Catholic Tradition. Traditionally, it is the burual site of its titular, St. Peter, the head of the twelve Apostles of Jesus. Aside from St. Peter, the Basilica is also where 91 popes are buried.

Ceilings of St. Peter’s Basilica

It is also the world’s largest church where you’ll be amazed to see impressive works of art and gigantic dome, pillars, and statues. Even my 8-year old was impressed and whispered to me while we’re wandering inside, “Mommy, this is the most beautiful church we’ve ever been”. A big contrary to what she said when we’re in Athens and visited the Acropolis where she said, “We came here to see rocks?!” Kids clearly don’t know how to filter their words yet.🤪

Oh! And did I mention, going in the St. Peter’s Basilica is for FREE. There’s a fee though if you’d like to climb up the dome on foot (that’s 551 steps up) or you have an option to ride the lift. You just need to queue and have your bags check. Don’t be intimidated by the long queue you see as the lines move really fast. Once you’re cleared from the initial checks, you can enter either the St. Peter’s Basilica or the Vatican Museum.

Which leads us to the next place you can see inside Vatican City, the Vatican Museum. We didn’t get a chance to visit the museum as we started our day very late and the queue to the museum was quite long that time. That’s also the reason why we chose to just go inside the basilica instead.

behind us is the St. Peter’s Square

The Vatican Museum holds an immense collection of the of art amassed by the Roman Catholic and papacy throughout the centuries.The museums contain roughly 70,000 works of art though only 20,000 of them are on display. These artworks are the most renowned Roman sculptures and the most important masterpieces of the Renaissance art in the world.

That being said, it’s no wonder one of the most visited museums in the world (garner about 1 million people annually) and with 24 galleries with the Sistine Chapel, notably being the last room visited within the Museum, you’ll surely need a whole day to splurge looking into these artworks beauty. I’d surely want to visit this the next time we go to Rome and would make sure to plan our day early so we can make our money worth of those tickets. haha..

Lastly is the Sistine Chapel. Aside from the fact that this is the official residence of the Pope, this room is a truly special one. Why? Because not only one, but two of one of the most notable artists in the Renaissance have their artworks inside this room. I’m talking about Michelangelo who painted the ceilings of the Sistine Chapel between 1508 and 1512 and covered the wall altar of his world known, “The Last Judgement” artwork.

Here’s how to get there:

TRAVEL BY METRO: The quickest way is to take the Metro. Rome is quite easy to navigate especially if you’re going to start your journey from their main terminal, Roma Termini. You’ll need to buy a ticket on their Metro and ride the orange line to Ottaviano on line A. Note that finding this platform can be a bit tricky (despite all the signs) so if it’s your first time here, it’s better you ask one of their kind and helpful train staff to avoid riding the wrong train.

photo from web and edited myself

It’s a short walk from the Metro to the walls of Vatican City (about 5 mins walk). You can just follow fellow tourists as you can’t miss to see the walls of Vatican where you just need to walk around to the entrance.

TRAVEL BY BUS: Alternatively, you can take bus #64 (takes around 20 minutes), from Termini train station where you need to get out at the last stop of the route – Piazza Stazione S. Pietro. From there, you’ll need to walk 15-20 minutes to reach the Vatican City.

What to wear:

Remember that Vatican City may be considered as a tourist destination but its still a Holy place so avoid wearing revealing clothes, like short skirts, dresses, and shorts. However, if you happen to visit during summer and the weather seems too hot, it is advisable to bring a scarf to cover-up. As for the footwear, wearing sandals is okay, but please try to skip those flip flops. And like any Holy place, hats should be removed upon entering the buildings in the Vatican. Lastly, food (you can as long as you don’t eat it inside) and metal tools ( scissors and knives) are not allowed.

Best time to visit:

It’s best to allot a whole day to be able to let yourself immerse on the beauty of each part of the Vatican City. As per our experience, we arrived around 12nn and all were able to do is take photos at St. Peter’s Square and go inside St. Peter’s Basilica. Our original plan includes the Sistine Chapel but it was too late already when we reached there (it closes at 4pm) so it is really recommended to plan your time wisely if you want to make the most from your trip.

Budget:

Here’s what you’ll get for FREE: entrance to the Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square, St. Peter’ Basilica, Tombs of Popes (under St. Peter’s Basilica)

What you need to buy a ticket: Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel (located inside the Vatican Museum, guided tours, St. Peter’s Cupola (dome) or if you have that extra $$$ and would want to have the privilege to skip the line, all of those you can buy from here.

So there you have it! I hope you find the information on this blog post valuable. We’ve visited Greece(Athens), the Netherlands(Papendrecht, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam), travelled via EuRail to France (Paris), then took the EuRail again to Italy(Rome). Let me know in the comments below which one do want me to make a blog post next.

If you have kids and feel daunted by the thought of travelling with them while they are young, I hope you get to read my other article about the Reasons why you should travel with your kids.

Top 5 to reasons why travelling with young children is the best

If you have told me last March that we would be having a picnic in front of the Eiffel Tower soon, I’d probably laugh at you. Unlike most families we get to watch on YouTube who go travel the world for a living (oh well, maybe if you support our YouTube Channel😁), our family of four does what most families do (have normal jobs), live in Singapore, and relying on a single income, I’m a SAHM. So the chances of us doing this is quite slim given the high cost of living here. Yet, life is truly full of surprises and incredibly unpredictable, you just have to hold your breathe at times, be grateful, and to pinch yourself into reality!

Us having a picnic with this beautiful view of the Eiffel Tower

I grew up with my parents working abroad. They made sure though to make up with quality time every school vacation. So you can imagine our anticipation whenever March comes nearer (school year in the Philippines starts June and ends in March) so we can go fly to Japan to visit our parents. Let’s just say, I got that love for travel because of my parents. Riding our mini-van, we would do convoy trips with my aunts and uncle who are on their own mini-vans as well with our cousins around the mountains of Japan. Those memories are really memorable ones that I wouldn’t forget and a topic we could talk about the whole day laughing without fail.

Being a parent myself now, I for sure would love to have those kind of memories with our children as well. So equipped with a grateful heart for any opportunity that may came our way, hard work from the hubs, and a watchful eye on our finances, we didn’t have any second thoughts when the chance for our family to go on a Europe trip arise.

Taking one hiccup at a time that came our way, we managed to pull off the most epic trip our family have gone to to-date! I guess I’ll make another blog post on all the hiccups we’ve managed to find a solution with. For now, here’s the details of our Europe travel:

  1. Flew from Singapore to Greece via Scoot Airline
  2. Flew from Greece to Netherlands via Aegean Airline
  3. Travelled by train from Netherlands to France passing through Belgium via Eurail
  4. Travelled by train from France to Italy passing through Switzerlands via Eurail
  5. Flew from Italy to Singapore passing through Finland via FinnAir
Eurail route we’ve travelled

All in all, that’s a staggering 30hrs 90mins on air(on a plane) and 1 day 17hrs on a train in a total of 18 days. Isn’t that amazing!!! That may be a long time but since did stayed most of those days in Greece and Netherlands and only started our train travel on the last 8 days our trip, I must say, we’re all happy to be back home in Singapore to have a good rest by the end of our trip. haha…

Data from our Eurail app on how far and long we’ve travelled

So why would I still encourage parents to go on an epic adventure travelling with their kids? Here’s the reasons why:

  1. You want it. If you love travelling like me, that love for travelling isn’t removed from your identity no matter how many kids you have nor no matter what age your children may be at the time being. If you have the means (time and money) to do so, do it!
  2. You need it. Being a parent comes with tons of responsibilities. We are all humans and needed a break once in a while. A change in scenery, gaining new experiences, and adding up some family memories can’t be exchanged with any material thing.
  3. You get to save. Being both from the field of Finance, we can’t deny how much conscious we are when it comes to our expenses when we travel. That’s why, one thing we love about travelling with our kids is we get to save from fare. From either travelling for FREE or HALF-PRICE on airfare to totally FREE on trains such as SHINKANSEN (when we travelled in Japan back in 2019) or EURAIL (when we travelled now in 2022).
  4. You’ll remember it. One phrase parents always get from others when they travel with their young is this, “Travel when your kids are older so they’ll remember it too“. Well, I’ve got only 3 things to say to them, “I’ll surely remember the trip and would document it with tons of photos so my kids would get to see it when they’re older” , We’ll go back again when they are older if it’s worth visiting again, and lastly, “Appreciate your opinion but we think we’re doing great with out parenting, thank you, you can go ahead and mind your own business.” haha…okay, that last ones can be pretty harsh and personally I haven’t used that but given in our society today where everyone seems to know too well of everything on everything, you have my blessing to use it if the need arises.😉
  5. You only get to do it now. Life is short. Yesterday has already gone and we can’t be sure of tomorrow. Our only guarantee is today, so always make the most of it. Once your kids have gone bigger, you might not have the time or resources (money) to go on a trip, or your kids may rather go on trips on their own. Now is the time you get to spend with them, so go ahead and do it!

Okay, I know this blog post can be too optimistic and blindsided by the cons of travelling with kids, so let me do another blog post on that just so you can get to prepare from all of them as well. One thing’s for sure though, it may be difficult, hard, and tiring but with a few tips and tricks on how your trip can be made easier for you and your child, I guarantee you, IT WOULD BE ALL WORTH IT!

Are you going on a family trip soon? I’d love to hear where you’re heading or where you’ve been to!Let’s share ideas, tips, places to travel, etc. and do what moms do best at…SUPPORTING EACH OTHER!

Cheers to EPIC FAMILY TRIPS!

Best 5-minute Meditation to Relieve your from Stress

As a mom, one of the reasons we get stressed is not having enough time to do the things we need to. What if I tell you to that giving 5-minute of your busy day to meditate can relieve you from that stress?

Yes! Why not simply just get on with your day sans the STRESS??! Yes, It’s possible!

Feeling stressed, tired, or worn out? Don’t have time to attend yoga or don’t have a sitter for your little ones? No problem! This 5-minute meditation plan is exactly what you need to get your day back on track! Stress is normal. It happens to all of us! It’s just a matter of how you relieve that stress, and I’m here to give you a simple and effective way! 

1. Find a quiet place where distractions are nonexistent. For the next 5 minutes, your focus needs to be solely on the meditation.

2. Take a seat on the floor, bed, chair or couch. Cross your legs, leave them straight out, or lay down. The key is to not disrupt the meditation with movement. The most comfortable position for you is ideal. For the next 5 minutes, you will get lost in your meditation and movement would disrupt the tranquility. 

3. Select your background music (waterfalls or soft piano music is a great choice) and add a few drops of lemon and lavender essential oil to your diffuser. 

4. Set your timer to 5 minutes. That way, you don’t need to wonder when the 5 minutes are up- your timer will do that for you! 

5. Begin your meditation. Close your eyes and relax. Visualize the stress and tension exiting your body from your head to your toes! Clear your mind of all thoughts, focus on your breathing, and letting go. Make sure to keep your eyes closed for the entire meditation, just don’t fall asleep! Do this for 5 minutes until your timer goes off. 

6. After your meditation, slowly get up from your quiet spot and enjoy a glass of refreshing lemon water. You are renewed so freshen up! 

Meditation is the perfect tool to redirect your body and bring you back to the present. You can meditate for the first 5 minutes of your day, after a long days work, or during your lunch break. You can do this meditation on vacation, in the parking lot of your favorite store, or your work. As you become more familiar with your meditation, feel free to increase the time from 5 minutes to 10 or 15 minutes!

By spending 5 minutes redirecting your body and mind to ease stress, you are increasing your mental and emotional strength, determination, and drive. There’s a wonderful feeling about a mind and stress cleanse! The beauty is, as simple and short as this meditation seems, the benefits of a quick 5-minute meditation are astounding. Give it a try yourself!

I hope this helps you get by your day much easier than before momma! Remember that you’re doing great in everything that you do! And if nobody has told you in a while, let me be the one to tell you, YOUR ARE AMAZING!

I’d like to leave you this amazing quote from Reba McEntire to affirm:

I have a lot to be thankful for.

I am healthy, happy, and I am loved.

Reba McEntire

Hope you read my last article and teach your kids the importance not to whine as well.

Reasons why teaching kids not to whine is important

I recently watched this clip about #nowhiningwednesday where she made it into a challenge for herself (at first) and put into a jar a quarter every time she would whine, complain, or criticise. The results was so surprising cause she almost filled up half of the jar!

This got me excited!

As a mom with 2 virtually schooling kiddos, we don’t give money to our girls so just so it would be more fun for them, I put it into writing and made like a scoreboard. haha. These girls are truly competitive that they put so much effort to think before they act or talk. I tell you, our morning has been much much better that I’m so eager to buy some ice cream for snack later as a reward for ourselves.

On contrary, it’s not only the girls who’ve been showing some effort. I myself got some big realisations on how much I do whine as well. Well, not that vocal and showy like kiddos do when they have their tantrums of course, but with my thoughts?!!? oh gosh! Those silent, ugh!, huh!, and the list goes on.If you’re a parent, you know what I’m talking about.🤪

Have you tried this challenge already? I urge you to do so. If you’re an adult who just wants to do this alone, why not try doing it with the jar with loose coins! Not only would it help you realise how much whining/complaining you’ve been doing but you’ll also learn to be more mindful in the days to come. What’s more great about this is having that jar full of coins which you could either share(donate), save(for rainy days), or spend! Why not celebrate with some ice cream like us!

Here’s are more reasons why you should do this with your kids:

  1. You’ll learn to step back and try to look at the bigger picture before you act next time. This will help practice you to catch yourself on whining about things. You’ll get to be more mindful of your actions and find yourself doing the better option on doing things instead of simply whining about whatever that is.
  2. You’ll learn to look from within. Assess if there’s really an issue or something you need to address or its just a simple matter that just is a waste of time for you to think and whine about.
  3. You don’t need to be serious about this challenge. Nobody wants to do something that isn’t enjoyable. The key here is to be consistent on catching yourself from whining and hopefully in the process help you to lessen it. Not into collecting coins? How about the scoreboard like the girls and I are doing?
  4. As I’ve told you, this isn’t for you to feel being restrained from your but to make small changes daily. Knowing this, whining and complaining can’t really be instantly gone from your life. Knowing the right channel to do it while the habit is still within you is a great start. General rule, if it’s a private matter, don’t post it on social media.
  5. Finding the positive in every circumstance can be a great help in making this challenge a manageable one. There’s always a good part on everything despite not us always seeing it. That’s the catch! You need to find and see it!
  6. And last but not the least, practice gratitude. This is very very important. The more we realise how blessed and we are, the more we’ll find this challenge to be easier. Simply look around you and see how you’ve been praying for all those things to be in your life days/weeks/years ago yet, and here you are now! Why not enjoy it!

I hope you get to try this challenge and share your experience with me here in the comments or in my Instagram account @themommywithagoal where I share more positivity and Self-Care daily.

Know that you are enough, blessed, uniquely-made, and a great mom is important. Whining is simply a habit that we’ve all grown accustom to doing, that’s why we do it. Learn how to lessen self-doubt and increase confidence.

The Truth about Children

I’ve been so blessed and grateful to watch and see our two daughters grow. I’m also grateful I’ve got the same mindset as my husband who values the guidance children needs rather than compensating lost time through giving material things and the whatnots.

I understand also that this isn’t always the case for many. Others simply doesn’t have any choice. And that’s totally fine. Know that you’re also doing great and doing the best of your ability.

This though is for those who have the choice and well, maybe not realising yet the importance of the guidance they can give to their children.

It’s been a habit of mine to either take a photo or screenshot anything that I encounter in my daily life that makes me pause for a while, think, contemplate, take the lessons from it, and try to apply.

This is a great writing of Dorothy Law Nolte that I can’t even remember where I saw from. Just saw on my phone gallery when I’m trying to clear some photos. I saved it last December 25, 2021 2:52PM. If you know me, I also am into manifestation. So those numbers means something and I knew I needed to share this message to you. So here it is, it’s called Children Learn What They Live.

Children Learn What They Live

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.

If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.

If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.

If children life with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.

If children life with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.

If children life with shame, they learn to feel guilty.

If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.

If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.

If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.

If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.

If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.

If children live with recognition, they learn it is food to have a goal.

If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

If children live with fairness, they learn justice.

If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.

If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.

If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

If you don’t find this so impactful as a parent, I don’t know already. The message has been written so clearly and understandable, you wouldn’t miss on any. It touched my motherly or should we say parent heart, and I hope yours too. Well, more of, I hope you make sure it affects you in some ways to improve more on your parenting as well.

If also you haven’t got a chance to see my previous blog and you’re into movies, I hope you get to read it too!