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8 Nights Each In Rome And Paris Without An Itinerary Or TRSW's 'Where Ever My Happy Little Feet Take Me' Trip Report

8 Nights Each In Rome And Paris Without An Itinerary Or TRSW's 'Where Ever My Happy Little Feet Take Me' Trip Report

Nov 15th, 2007, 01:41 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 52,380
hi, Tom,

I diagnose a bad case of "Roman Foot" - we suffered too, despite having invested in and broken in suitable footwear prior to our trip.

One of the causes i suspect is staying where you did - we were in Monti too, further west on the via dei serpenti - and the temptation is to walk rather then wait for buses, which when they came were full anyway. Even though we loved the roman-ness of the area, another time I'd shell out a bit more and stay in the centro storico.

I'm loving your report - I really like the idea of just taking every day as it comes, though I've rarely managed to do that myself. this easter though, we have 7 whole days in Venice, so I'm hoping we can take our time a bit more.

funnily enough, we found a very helpful and friendly camera shop owner too in the hunt for camera batteries, up by Santa maria maggiore - I wonder if it was the same one?

looking forward to the rest,

regards, ann
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Nov 15th, 2007, 02:13 AM
  #22  
 
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bookmarking for weekend reading
marigross is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 06:00 AM
  #23  
 
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Enjoying your report. I like the pcae of your trip.

I've also been to Trattoria Monti at 7pm--the gates are dow and it looks like it will never open. By 7:45 that gates are up and customers are arriving. By 8:15, all the tables are full.
ellenem is online now  
Nov 15th, 2007, 07:13 AM
  #24  
 
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Tom,

Really enjoying your trip report!
I think the via Imperiale is always closed to traffic on Sundays. Both my visits to Rome have included Sundays, and I thought it was great to be able to stroll down this main street.

Do continue!
Dayle is offline  
Nov 15th, 2007, 02:22 PM
  #25  
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Monday October 29th

Today I sleep in til about 9:30. After a shower and a coffee, I head out in the general direction of Villa Borghese.

When I step outside, I can't believe what I see. Bright sunlight and very few clouds in the sky. A great way to start the day!!

On my way, I make a slight detour at Piazza della Repubblica and spend some time photographing the fountain there from every conceivable angle. With the bright blue sky as a backdrop, the colors really pop out.

From here I push on, and it seems that there was some kind of lunchtime demonstration against BancoMat. I am swimming upstream against the demonstrators returning back to work. Most are carrying little flags or wearing those paper vests with slogans on them. Some even have guns printed on them.

Eventually I ended up on Via Veneto. As I pass cafe after cafe, I get hungrier and hungrier. So I decide to stop at Cafe Strega for a nice leisurely lunch at an outdoor table.

I start with the Prosciutto E Melone again. Nice big portions of each. For the main course, I have Saltimbucca. Again very hearty portions and the veal was sooo tender. It comes with roasted potatos in a buttery garlic sauce. With water, wine and coffee it came to 32 euro.

After lunch, I head back out towards Villa Borghese. But now there are some dark clouds startin to roll in.

As some of you know, a very close friend of mine passed away back in April and I was given the task of spreading his ashes in 5 specific spots in Seattle. These spots were chosen for the 'view' he would have for eternity. What he didn't know was, I planned on giving him a 'view' of both Rome and Paris.

In the months leading up to the trip I tried to think of the best place to spread Raymonds ashes. And the Borghese kept coming to mind. There are so many beautiful places there. It was a hard choice until I came upon this spot. What with the ducks and the row boats, it was perfect;

www.pbase.com/trsw/image/88736115

I said a little prayer, spread the ashes, and mixed it in with the dirt. Then something totally unexpected happened. I lost it, all of the emotion just overwhelmed me and I broke down. I found a bench, sat down and let it all out. I must have been quite a sight to see.

By now the clouds were getting darker and the sun was going down so I started to head back to the apartment. On the way I stop and pick up some groceries because I am so drained and don't feel like going out to dinner tonight.

Just as I get back to the apartment the sky opens up and it starts pouring buckets!!! I have a nice quiet evening listening to music and going through photos.

Tom

Tomorrow - Is this Rome or am I back in Seattle?
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Nov 15th, 2007, 03:52 PM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,034
Hi Tom!
Welcome home! I just found this and have a lot of catch-up reading to do now! I can't wait to read about your trip.

Your photos have been amazing!! You are truly talented. Thanks for sharing.

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Nov 15th, 2007, 07:49 PM
  #27  
 
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Eureka! What I've read so far is hilarious and/or informative. And what an excellent holiday. Thanks, Tom.
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Nov 15th, 2007, 08:26 PM
  #28  
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Tuesday October 30th

When I wake up I take a look out the window and it is once again gray and overcast. But it could be worse, I could be back in Seattle.

As today is my next to last full day in Rome I plan to make the best of it. First I head to San Giovanni In Laterano.

Unfortunately I forgot to bring my Gorilla-Pod, so picture taking is limited. So improvising with an Altoids canister, I am able to prop up the lens and get a great shot of the alter:

www.pbase.com/trsw/image/89007624

After I leave the church, I set off for Piazza Navona and the fountains. Sadly Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi is covered in scaffolding. But the other two aren't which leads to tons of photos.

After some time at the Piazza I head over to Campo de Fiori area in search of a restaurant a friend from work has recommended. But I forgot to bring the name with me. All I have is the vague location he told me.

After 45 minutes of useless trying I give up and leave. When I turn the corner, I run right into Der Pallaro. Back in 2005 there was a GTG here. Being that I am starving, I head on in and am met by Mama, who runs the place.

For those of you who don't of this place, there is no menu, food just starts arriving in droves. It's pretty good and for 23 euro you get dessert, wine, water and Limoncello. Not a bad deal at all.

About halfway through lunch a severe thunderstorm starts. And for the first time, I have never been more happy to see one of those annoying umbrella peddlers. He wants 10 euro, but myself and the Canadian couple at the table next to me talk him down to 2 for 12. Mama tells us to just wait out the storm.

After the rain finally lets up I start the trek back to the apartment. Luckily it is mostly just a drizzle on the way back and thankfully I brought along a plastic bag to put my camera in.

Tonight for dinner, I have a reservation for the elusive Trattoria Monti at 8. As I am walking there, another, even more severe thuderstorm is going on.

Now all I can say is, the three day wait was well worth it. Monti is a small family run place and within 20 minutes it is packed. Even with as crowded as it is, the service is top notch and friendly.

I start with the Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto. Perfectly done. The main course was stuffed rabbit with roasted potatoes. It to was perfect. And for dessert, I had Ameretto ice cream with a hot chocolate suace. A great way to end the meal. With water, wine and coffee it came to 43 euro..

After dinner, the thunderstorm was still raging, so I went back to the apartment, did a load of laundry and called it a night.

Tom

Tomorrow - More rain and a GTG with old friends.
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Nov 18th, 2007, 08:06 PM
  #29  
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Wednesday October 31st

Well at least the rain today starts off as just a slight drizzle. But by the time I reach the Spanish Steps, it is coming down a little harder.

Due to the rain, the Steps are nearly empty. The total opposite from when I was there in 2005. The rain also makes them really slick and more than a little fun to go down.

From here I head out in the direction of the Trevi Fountain, hoping that the rain has the same effect on the size of the crowd. WRONG!!!! When I turn the corner, I am greeted by a sea of umbrellas.

This makes taking pictures an adventure. Just about everytime I had a shot ready, boom, an umbrella pops up in front of me. But i stick it out and get some nice shots.

As I leave Trevi, the rain stops and the clouds start to break up. But since my shoes are soaked because I stepped into a deep puddle, I decide to head back to the apartment. By the time I arrive, the sun is actually peeking through the clouds.

I throw on one last load of laundry then head down to a pizza shop on the corner for a late lunch. After lunch, I hit the Internet cafe, then head back and start to pack for my flight tomorrow.

Tonights GTG at LaPigna is set for 8. I head out about 6:30 to do some night photography. And I stupidly try to take a different route to LaPigna then the one I know.

You guessed it, I get hopelessly lost. But somehow I stumble across the Trevi Fountain, and it is packed with people. After some pictures I head out to LaPigna.

When I arrive, fellow Fodorite jabez and his wife Judy (who I met at 2 GTG's in 2005) are already there. It was nice to see them again. Within 10 minutes, Marg and Judy from SlowTrav arrive. As does Jack, a late addition, also from SlowTrav.

Now I had heard good things about LaPigna, but I wasn't overly impressed with the food. My Lamb was mostly bone and gristle. But it was great hearing about each others trips and getting to know each other.

After dinner, I head back towards the apartment and stop and take my last photo in Rome. It is of Trajans Markets all lit up

www.pbase.com/trsw/image/88722036

Back at the apartment, I finsh packing and polish off the last of the wine in the fridge, then call it a night.

Tom

Tomorrow - Dinner in Paris with one of my co-workers
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Nov 18th, 2007, 09:00 PM
  #30  
 
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I was on my way to bed when I saw your report, so naturally had to check it out ... 45 minutes later, I'm finally heading to the sack and you're heading to Paris. Perhaps I'll dream of Roma, or peppered melon ...
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Nov 19th, 2007, 05:44 AM
  #31  
 
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Tom, your trip report is as wonderful as your photos. I like your travelling style, too: rent an apartment, prepare some of your own meals, sample the restaurants, and just wander. I've done that a couple of times in Paris with great satisfaction.

Anselm
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Nov 19th, 2007, 05:01 PM
  #32  
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tomasso - Sorry to have delayed your slumber LOL

Anselm - This was my third trip in two years and the first that was strictly in apartments. I am really glad that I made this choice.

My apartment in Paris was in the 2nd on Rue d' Aboukir just around the corner from Rue Montorgueil. Talk about a food lovers dream!!! Everything and I mean EVERYTHING under the sun was available.

Tom
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Nov 19th, 2007, 07:21 PM
  #33  
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Thursday November 1st

It figures that on the day I am leaving Rome that the sun is shining in all its glory. Oh well, Paris awaits.

My shuttle driver arrives right on time. He must have a busy schedule today because he drives like a bat out of hell and we are at the airport in 25 minutes.

Even after checking in and going through security, I still have 2 hours to kill before my flight. So I search out somewhere to get a pastry and some coffee.. I also pay for an hour of the airports wifi to send out some emails and photos.

During the whole flight, the lady that has the window seat in my aisle is constantly coughing and sneezing. And not once did she cover her mouth. So I start the countdown in my head as to not if, but when, I will catch whatever she is spewing throughout the cabin.

When we arrive at CDG we are once again parked way out in the middle of nowhere and bussed in. My shuttle, Airport Connection Paris, is waiting for me and we head into Paris. We arrive during rush hour and the roads are clogged.

We finally arrive at the apartment about 5pm. It is another small studio and at 50 euro a night a good deal. Except the web site was a little misleading. It said the apartment had a washer and dryer. Well, there was a laundry room being shared by 4 apartments AND you had to leave 10 euro in the safe to be able to use it. Seeing how I packed little and was going to be here for 8 nights, I had no choice but to agree.

After unpacking, I call Donna, a young lady that I work with, tonight is her last night of her first trip to Paris. We decide to meet at Place De La Republique at 6:30 where we will then head towards the Tour Eiffel area where her girlfriend is staying.

Now my poor sense of direction and map reading will have, in my view, a comical result. At the end of Rue D' Aboukir, I should have turned left to get to Blvd Saint Martin. But I turn right, go maybe a hundred feet and realize that all of a sudden the street is crowded with, how should I put this, ladies of the evening.

From here I make wrong turn after wrong turn. Eventually I get it all figured out and arrive at Place De La Republique just as Donna and her girlfriend arrive.

We head into the Metro, and Donna, who has only been here for 4 days, takes a quick look at the map and knows exactly which trains to catch.

After we arrive at Tour Eiffel we head over to the Trocadero, where I take some nice shots of Tour Eiffel. We then search for somewhere to eat. We find a place (can't remember the name) and head in. The food was pretty good, but the thing that stuck out in my mind was, Donna ordered the Steak Frites and HAD to have ketchup. When the waiter brings it, it is in packets like you get at fast food places. Too funny.

After dinner they head for the girlfriends hotel. I take a long leisurely stroll back to my apartment along the Seine for some night photography.

When I get to Place De La Concorde, I can't help but notice the Giant Ferris Wheel. It was not here last year. This leads to more photographs

www.pbase.com/trsw/image/89011841

From here I head back to the apartment and call it a night.

Tom

Tomorrow - A food lovers dream and breaking a vow I made on Fodors
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Nov 20th, 2007, 05:27 AM
  #34  
 
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Tom, you've made me nostalgic for Rome and I can't wait to hear about your time in my other favorite city, Paris. Wonderful report. Keep up the good work! (And your pictures are gorgeous!)
amyb is online now  
Nov 20th, 2007, 07:22 AM
  #35  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 374
Hi Tom,
I am going to Rome from Seattle via Air France in December. This will be my first time traveling on AF. Can you tell me more about the transition in Paris? I know the big plane will land on the tarmac and we have to bus in but tell me more about finding the plane to Rome at CDG. I have 90 minutes between flights.
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Nov 20th, 2007, 12:40 PM
  #36  
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chevre,

More than likely they will bus you to 2E and your connecting flight will be at 2F.

Look for the signs pointing you to 2F. Eventually you will end up in a little room where you wait for the bus to take you to 2F.

Unfortunatly, it will stop at 2A,B,C&D before your stop. This takes a little while.

Once at 2F, find out which gate your flight is departing from, then you have to go through security again.

Even if you land on time, 90 minutes is pushing it. Good luck.

Tom
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Nov 20th, 2007, 01:16 PM
  #37  
 
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Tom, here is your trip report again. I love it and of course you know how my family and I are enthralled with your photos.

And dear one, my heartbroke for you when I read about, as you described it, your "breakdown" on the bench at the Villa Borghese.

We suddenly lost a dear friend who lived in SF that was like family. We had a key to his condo so when he was out of town we could stay there and he had a key to our house in our small town so he could stay there when we were out of town..a good change for him from SF..small town, pool etc.

Anyway as I said he died suddenly about two weeks before a Thanksgiving holiday weekend. I "thought" I was all right but while we were down in S CA for the Thanksgiving weekend and sitting at a beautiful restaurant my family member brought up J's name and without any warning I burst into tears. I couldn't stop. I finally went to the ladies room and sobbed my heart out. So again I truly understand how the lost of your loved one hit you suddenly..heartbreak can hit one at any time.

I am so enjoying your trip report Tom. I should be doing laundry but first things first. Hugs to you!

LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 20th, 2007, 08:05 PM
  #38  
 
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Tom, I've enjoyed your pics, of course, but have to say the shots from the vantage point of the ferris wheel are choice. Especially looking up the Champs Elysees, flanked by trees in autumn color, the Arc in center stage and la Defense (or in-defense as some would have it) towering in the background. It's like Romantic Comedy meets History meets Science Fiction.
Tomasso C
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Nov 20th, 2007, 11:42 PM
  #39  
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Hi Everybody - For those who don't know, the Paris pictures are now up at www.pbase.com/trsw/paris2007 I took so many photos that there are six seperate galleries. Enjoy!

LoveItaly - Thank you for the kind words, they mean alot to me. The funny thing about Raymond and my friendship is, it would have never happened if I had not adopted Diablo.

We knew each other in passing as we lived in the same apartment building. But shortly after I got Diablo, Raymond went and got Dora. Soon we were taking the dogs out to play together all the time. Thats how our friendship developed over three short years. Even til the day he passed, he blamed me for him gettiing Dora.

But she brought so much love and joy to his life, and I honestly believe prolonged his life until the pain was too much to bear and he said enough is enough and said goodbye.

TC - There might have been even more shots from the ferris wheel, but the car you sit in spins at any given moment. Due to this, I have a lot of blurry, unusable shots.

Tom
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Nov 21st, 2007, 02:44 AM
  #40  
 
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"... but the car you sit in spins at any given moment. Due to this, I have a lot of blurry, unusable shots."

Tom, I get blurry, unusable shots without sitting on a Ferris wheel, LOL.

Two questions, if you don't mind my asking: were your photos taken in jpeg or RAW (I assume the former)? And, looking at the exif data on a couple of your photos I noticed you were using manual exposure. Is that your usual technique?

Anselm
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