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repost of Roman Adventures 10-04 Sorry

Old Oct 18th, 2004, 11:57 AM
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repost of Roman Adventures 10-04 Sorry

Sorry folks, I have to re-post this edited version of my trip because I realized I mistakenly posted my drafted notes. I hope the question marks do not show up this time - as for typos they will always show up in my posts. I know this may be drawn out long and boring to some but this is more of a tribute to my true friend-soul sister and travel companion in Roma.

We arrived home from Roma on Tuesday night 10/12/04, after a wonderful trip and then a not so fantastic surprise ?extended? 2 day stay. Unfortunately much of this 2 day ?extended stay? was spent at the airport trying to get home on any return flights. We were on stand by to no avail; this became exhausting as we needed to maintain a high levels of being very present and grounded, remaining alert to the continual changes that were taking place, a huge sense of humor, adventure and team work.

Why did we get to stay longer and why were we at the airport for two days? ?. Well we were originally supposed to be in Rome for only eight nights. We were also supposed to fly out of FCO on Saturday Oct 9th, but we missed our flight due to a printing error on our tickets. We booked through Orbits and our tickets said the flight was to leave at 13:10, but it turns out on Delta there is never a 13:10 flight, it?s always 12:10 everyday. We are in the midst of getting this investigated as everyone is pointing fingers at everyone else?. Wish us luck.

So Sunday afternoon 10/10, the second day being at the airport for 6 hours we were finally able to secure a flight home going out on the following Tuesday. Once we knew we had our seats booked on a flight and being charged the ?change fee? we headed over to the hotel information desk at FCO. These people were so helpful! With their help and having remembered reading good things about this hotel from the Fodor?s board (thank you very much) we booked two nights at Hotel des Artistes: www.hoteldesartistes.com. We were lucky to even get this because most things in town were booked solid.

We took the hotel shuttle offered though the same helpful hotel reservation desk for 12 Euros, this was another blessing after spending mega bucks on our car service the previous unsuccessful days to FCO. We could have used the Leonardo Express as we had done the previous day for about the same amount but this delivered us right to our hotel and we were all about getting from point A to point B saving time, money, energy and sanity.

The Hotel des Artistes quickly became our little haven for us weary women, with a large clean room, good beds, hot shower w/wonderful water pressure, clean towels, internet access, a wonderful breakfast and a TV with more than one channel to zone out by.

I?m not used to staying by the termini but it became the Mecca of resources and the most perfect location to take care of business with these stranded tourists. We were able to drop off laundry close by to get us through the next couple days. For 6 Euros they washed, dried and folded our clothes turning us into new and improved people. The name is Spla Shnet at Via Varese # 33 - owned by an African man but was being run by a young Aussie guy and his mate from Brisbane - or ?Bris Vegas? as they called it - we liked them, very fun and efficient too.

I woke up early as Kathy slept to scope out our new neighborhood. After breakfast I was then able to use the metro system, bus and foot and haul a** to get all over town to tie up loose ends. We also made new friends at a restaurant around the corner called Mama Angela?s - I?m trying to locate the card in my pile of papers? Our waitress Mara has a heart of gold, a smile as big as Texas and a sense of humor to match, we liked her! Everyone at the restaurant treated us so well but we miss her dearly?


10-1-04 So before any of this other stuff happened which seems like a lifetime ago - we really did have a great time! We had happily arrived in Rome on 10/1 at noon, both sporting new and bad haircuts (note to hairdresser ? texturizing ones bangs does not mean lopping them off). We used Airport Connection successfully once again to get us to our apartment on Via Panico by Castel St. Angelo on the Navona side.

This was my fourth time to Rome and my friend Kathy?s first. We headed out and walked over to my favorite coffee bar, Café Coronari, to see my good friend Tony and his family. I started coming here a few years back after the one café that I had been going to which was located very close to the apartment I was renting had decided to randomly to charge me double one morning for a café latte when I had been coming in every morning for a week, so it was simple, I just switched to Café Coronari down the street and have been friends with Tony and his family ever since - there are no mistakes. Tony tries as much as possible to speak only English to me and I try as much as possible to use my limited but building Italian vocabulary.

My first night there I met with a friend of mine in Rome who I have know now for three years and we?ve happily stayed in touch, he worked on night of my arrival at the restaurant where we had originally met until midnight. I was picked up at 1am in a new black Alfa Romero, I am not a ?car person? but this was really nice! He drove us though the streets of Rome to a place in the city, but it?s a special place to me that I don?t care to share? All I can say is I just kept thinking what a wonderful way to spend my first night in Roma, I was smiling big and loud? He was leaving for Mexico two days later, it was late but our schedules were both tight so we spent as much of the little time we had together?

10-2-04 The next day my travel companion Kathy and I walked along the Lungotevere heading toward Trastevere where my friend Kathy promptly and sadly twisted her ankle on the sidewalk - even wearing what we called her ?sensible lesbian walking shoes?. This new twist put a put damper on things for her in such a walkable city.

Last time I was there I had pulled a tendon and knew what to purchase at the Pharmacy or so I thought? First this part was correct, a Strong elastic bandage - called Tensoplast and then the Lasonil 2.5 gel which is an anti-inflammatory gel. Only I could not remember the name of the Lasonil at first so we bought Lamosil by mistake which is really for anti fungal needs - oops? The pharmacist I?m sure must have thought we were nuts while I applied it to her swollen ankle and then wrapped it with the bandage!

We then went to a restaurant called ?ai spaghetti? in Trastevere, Piazza S. Cosimato I?ve been here many times and love the Bombollotti however I have decided I won?t be back again. They are just not very nice, every time I?ve gone in there although the food is good the first thing they bark at you is NO PIZZA! - and I bark back, ?I don?t want pizza?. The warmth and personality has never improved. There are far too many other wonderful places to eat without the attitude so I say arrivederci to ai spaghetti.
When we got home I went to our corner market in search of frozen peas to place on Kathy?s ankle? The grocer who I knew from my past trip figured out after I did my imitation of twisting an ankle, that what I needed was ice. There is no ice in Italy, so he took a salami and proceeded to wack the side of his freezer for big clumps of ice which were stuck to the sides! There we were, he with the salami weapon, me with the ready plastic bag and his two kids looking at us like we were nuts! I came back to the apartment and told Kathy ?Ok from now on we buy EVERYTHING from that man?!

This night with friend Kathy resting her ankle at the apartment I went out in search of more medical supplies but first stopping to see Tony and get my first macchiato of the night . Headed to the pharmacy and they adventurous kid in a candy store me said hey I?m going to Taza D?oro and get another macchiato! I was ok at this point bout after stopping at the Trevi to take in the sights and sounds I wandered to my friends restaurant to say goodbye as he was getting on a flight at 4a.m. He asked if I wanted something to drink and water sounded good as I waited for the water I sat at an outside table feeling very Italian with a checkered tablecloth trying to figure out how to operate this cell phone ? just then he brings out not water but a cappuccino! We said our goodbyes with a nice hug and kiss on both checks? When I got home walked in the door and yelled oh my God I have had so much coffee!


10-3-04 One of the trip highlights was to be able to actually meet a fellow Fodor?s poster Barb and her friend. . We met one night for dinner at the toy store in Navona and headed over to Antica Taverna which had the best rolls in the land. Large, round, warm rolls with olive oil drizzled over them. Great food, friendly and good prices.

The funny thing about meeting Barb is I that thought she was someone else from the board who I was to be meeting, someone who I have randomly corresponded with about Rome? Duh me! I soon found out that we had never really talked before this? We got along great and quickly discovered our mutual love of Rome.

Both of our travel companions sadly were suffering from their own individual foot ailments and Barb are I are both use to walk, walk walking everywhere. We knew it was not their fault and felt badly about the pains they were having, at the same time I know both Barb and I were like horses at the gate and wanted to cover more ground.

After the dinner we showed Barb and her friend our apartment that we were renting which was very close to the restaurant. We then took a cab to the Trevi, those coins in the fountain really worked, we almost didn?t get home! Not that that would have been a bad thing for me since it?s ONLY my dream to live in Roma.

10-5-04 The following morning Kathy and I headed to St Peter?s and hooked up on a free tour with Roman Odyssey - who did a surprisingly good job, I was quite impressed. They had a thing where you could then continue on to the Vatican for a paid tour which Kathy took advantage of and enjoyed. I passed on this and went over to the close by Via Cola di Rienzo to go shopping at Castroni?s and pick up some imported tea that I can?t get in the states. I love this street and had my best gelato of the trip here - the name, sorry I forget but it was good, melone and coconut with panna.

Later that same afternoon I headed on over to Trastevere to see Barb?s apartment rented through Real Rome - I loved it and will want to stay here next time. I like the location of our apartment better, but overall I liked the quality of Barbs choice.

Tuesday morning my friend Kathy and I went to the Borghese Gallery with an 11:00 a.m. reservation time and it was fabulous! I have been there only one time before on my trip this past May and we had not used the audio guide or a tour - but this time inside, we booked a guided tour for 5 euros! the same price as the audio guide and what a difference this made, it was so moving? Our group was made up of 4 who were English speaking the other group had six in it I believe, who spoke Italian. I think that they only do the tours up until the 11:00 reservations otherwise you would need the audio or do it on your own.

After the Borghese, we took a cab down Via Veneto to go see the Cappucin Monks Bone church close to Barbarini but it is closed for repairs! So we headed out for lunch and found the ?Restaurant Barbarini? on a side street called Via dei Purificazione. This restaurant is small and family run, good food and the son/owner chef Benny is cute and likes to talk of travels & such...

10-6-04 The next day we were headed to Florence for one night only and to leave late the following afternoon. We stayed at a place I would not and do not recommend, the place: http://www.soggiornopezzati.it/default_EN.asp. It was inexpensive and cheap, I was told it would be ok for a night, but it was a very basic room on a bad street, noisy and crazy people all around. One of my friends in Florence said ?what are you crazy - there was a murder on that street not so long ago?!?, live and learn, well I guess not in their case? It?s good that I like to explore and try new things but in Florence next time I?m sticking to the Tourist House Ghiberti any day, love them!

Anyway we went to Florence for this one night and a day mainly so we could visit our affiliated Buddhist center which is located in an old Medici Villa. The location is right before exiting Florence. This was another adventure and a total comedy of errors in attempting to get there.

We had left our bags at the train station and took the # 28 bus to Bar Evan which is really Bar Ivan and not a legitimate bus stop on the route as we soon found out. We knew it would take approx 30 min to get there and at 40 minutes we asked the driver who waived his hands in confusion and then pointed backwards! This is exactly the point where we pressed the bell to get off in the middle of God knows where - well actually it was at a bus stop called ?Sorro?. When my friend got off the bus and said ?sorrow? I thought she was just expressing that she had sorrow, and I was thinking ok whatever let it out, but it was really the bus stop name and we had a laugh?

Luckily we had our magical cell phone that seriously would only work when we REALLY needed it and here was the perfect example! We were able call and to have people direct us back on foot toward the center, we made another call where one of the members came out by motor bike to locate us and said, ?stay here don?t move?! About 20 min after he had left and we did not move, a car came to pick us up and take us to the center. After visiting the beautiful center which I now know how to get to thank you very much, we headed by bus back to the train stain and trained it on back to Roma?

We ate that night at a favorite place of mine called Il Fico, right off Piazza della Pace - wonderful food and service. We had the best stuffed zucchini blossoms with fresh sheep?s milk ricotta. Sitting next to us at our table we met two wonderful Roman women who were out enjoying dinner together and gave us great tips on places to and where to stay in the future.

Weather was spectacular, I was able to this time to finally visit Via Margutta and find the stone head of Giordano Bruno in the wall which I was in search of. I also saw the most beautiful Roman sunset from the Pincio which was very romantic?

Quiet the trip of unexpected adventures, I?m glad to be home now with my four bags of Taza D?Oro coffee, wonderful new memories and some new brightly colored shirts?. Italians are so not afraid of color!

Oh yeah, did I mention on our way to the airport Tuesday that our driver of the shuttle got us into a car accident in the center and we almost missed our flight again?!

Ciao ciao,

Eileen





ecat is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2004, 02:49 AM
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thank you ! enjoyable.
Would love to look out Tony and his cafe but do you have the street name?

I understnad you do not wish to sharte the place your friend w/ the alfa took you, but how about sharing the friend? ;-)

nanb is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2004, 04:45 PM
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Hi Nanb,

Happy you enjoyed... Well Cafe Cornari is on Via Coronari I don't have the exact address but it's something like 150. It's on the right side if your walking from Navona heading toward Castel St. Angelo and right before you hit the only fountain on Coronari.

If you every stop in please tell him I say hello and don't pet the wiener dog Hugo he only loves his mom.

As for sharing the friend - sorry that would be a no also...

Eileen
ecat is offline  
Old Oct 20th, 2004, 02:51 AM
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oh well, i treid

and I thought that wopuld be the location fot the cafe, but I have learned never to assume anything.

We will definitely stop by !
and I willheed the warning.
nanb is offline  
Old Oct 23rd, 2004, 07:46 AM
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Eileen - thanks for the report. Do you remember the name of the hotel shuttle that took you from FCO direct to hotel for 12 euros? Seems like a much better deal than a 42E limo.
LAwoman is offline  
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