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Tennessee Trio of Terror do Europe: Part 1 -Rome

Tennessee Trio of Terror do Europe: Part 1 -Rome

Old Apr 4th, 2005, 09:13 AM
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Tennessee Trio of Terror do Europe: Part 1 -Rome

Okay, here goes:

The Players: first of all there were originally four of us going - Amy, Saundra, Heather and Sharon. Then Heather decided to bring her mother and it ended up being a split trip - Amy, Saundra (mom and daughter but not annoying if you know what I mean) and Sharon; and then Heather and her mother. Ended up being a good thing since all Heather wanted to do was shop and unfortunately whine, e.g. "But I want butter with my bread", "don't they speak English here?". Amy (aka Trip Nazi) organized the trip for us and Saundra and I were helpless and innocent bystanders. More on that later.

Airlines: Northwest from Nashville to Detroit then Amsterdam and then Rome. No problem and they had the great individual screens so we watched movies and played games the whole way over. Terrible food but we survived. Return was Paris to Detroit and back to Nashville. Round trip was $561. No lost luggage and no problems with customs.

Hotel - Hotel Santa Maria in Trastevere - wonderful!!!! Thanks to TripAdvisor and Fodor people for the choice. The trio had a suite which was two floors with a daybed and trundle on the first, and a double on the second. Being a recovering Catholic girl who didn't know any non-Catholics till she went to college, staying in this converted convent was a traumatic experience assuaged only by wine and gelato. I did wake up screaming a few times (e.g. "Yes Sister, hit me again with that ruler, I'll offer it up for the souls in Purgatory&quot but no lasting problems. There was a TV on both floors of the suite.

Day 1 - Arrived after our overnight flight and met by the driver we had hired that was recommended by the hotel. His cell phone played the Mission Impossible theme. It did not self-destruct but after seeing the way they drive in Rome, I felt that I was going to instead.

Arrived at hotel and our rooms were ready. Spotlessly clean. Had a bidet in the bathroom plus tub and shower with full shower curtain. You could not have survived in the shower if you were over 5'4" and it was the first time in my life that I felt tall. Otherwise the seven dwarves would have felt right at home.

Too tired to do much of anything but hang around the area. We were starving (hey, we like to keep up our mirth and girth) so the hotel recommended Cassata di Trastevere around the corner. We had one order of pasta alla Amatriciana, two orders of ravioli with butter and sage, two orders of linguini alla ragu, two green salads, a pitcher of house red, two Fantas (those were ordered by those Philistines Heather and Raynell (her mom), and everyone had dessert. Came to a total of 66 euros for the five of us. The food was delicious and the staff very attentive. Could that have been because 3 of us could give Dolly Parton a run for her money in the top tier department? Gee, and I thought it was my charm and grace.

Anyway, we tried to stay awake as long as possible by sitting at our upstairs window (or as we liked to call it - our flat screen TV) and spy on our neighbors. Made it till about 7PM and then crashed.

By the way, thanks to someone on the message boards, we had the bright idea to wear our pedometers. Little did I know that I was in for Amy's personal European weight loss program aided by her personal aversion to wheeled vehicles.

More later. Have to go to work.

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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 09:21 AM
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Absolutely FABULOUS so far....
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 10:14 AM
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Thanks Intrepid1.

Day 2 - Got up and went to breakfast in the Hotel, or as we like to call it, the trough. Great breakfast: eggs, ham, salami, cheeses, pastries, cookies, tomatoes, juice, cereal plus cappucinos, coffee, tea, chocolate, whatever you wanted. By the way, the price for the suite including breakfast was $298 euros a night for the three of us.

Walked to Pantheon and then Trevi fountain (where we very tourist like threw in coins and sang Three Coins in a Fountain to the amusement, or was it annoyance, of the people around us. After that we went to the Museum of Pasta which was a riot but had a good bathroom. By this time, I was acutely aware that when you find a good bathroom in Rome you should go twice, once on arrival and again before leaving.

Went on to the Spanish Steps where we dumped, I mean left, Heather and her mom there to shop.

Somewhere in there we went to San Crispino for gelato (wild orange for me and Amy and chocolate for Saundra). Again thanks to Fodor people for the suggestion.

I went alone to Musee Napoleonico because I'm a Napoleon fan. Hey, I never got over seeing Marlon Brando as Napoleon in Desiree. Anyway, I was the only one in there and it was great. A riot to see all these lovely pieces of furniture and textiles and the windows were open! (By the way, they had a great banyo too).

Went to Ponte Umberto to meet Saundra and Amy and saw Bill Pullam ? (the guy who was the President in Independence Day) making a movie. My opera Italian came in handy when a nun asked me who he was since I recognized "chiamo" from La Boheme.

Came back to hotel around 5 and we rested for 1/2 hour. Went to hotel bar for wine and the internet. The wonderful Chiara who works there recommended a white wine (Folanghina?? I'm terrible at this) about 15 euros and it came with pistachios, fritos and potato chips!

Walked to Otello in Trastevere at suggestion of Chiara and ate like pigs. It was just me, Saundra and the Trip Nazi. The waiter (Saundra was practically engaged to him by the end of the meal but she does research in prostate cancer so she likes old men)was very helpful and suggested stuff for us to order. He knew 3 live ones when he saw them. We had suppli, stuffed zucchini flowers, flat bread with rosemary and olive oil, one carbonara, one alla amatriciana and one lasagne, 3 saltimboca romano (two with potatoes and one with artichokes), 3 desserts and it came to 57.20 euros. No wine since we were loaded from the bottle at the hotel.

Walked around the square and ate meringue cookies cause we hadn't exploded yet. Came back to hotel and watched our flat screen TV till bedtime.

Did 8.3 miles today thanks to La Diabla (Amy).
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 10:22 AM
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Loved this report and can't wait to read more! Great idea about the pedometer! We leave in 4 weeks for Italy - and this time, in addition to spending some days in Milan at the beginning and some days in Rome at the end - we'll have two weeks that will just be a "walking tour of Tuscany". A pedometer will be a great gadget! Thanks for that idea!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:28 AM
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Great report! I can't wait to read the rest!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:29 AM
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Day 3 - Sunday March 13th

Got up early to go to flea market. This involved a brisk 5 mile round-trip walk before breakfast. Bought 5 scarves for 20 euros. Got horribly lost but we were able to find our way back to hotel for 3 plates of breakfast.

Then on to Part 2 of Amy's special weight loss program aka Bataan death march. She did let us take a taxi to the Villa Borghese after we threatened to throw ourselves into the Tiber. Took taxi (mental note - if you want to die, take a taxi in Rome). By then I would have paid 100 euros to have someone drive me somewhere. The Villa is lovely but 2 hours is just not long enough.

Walked, actually hobbled (by this time even my orthotics hurt) to Santa Maria del Vittoria to see the statue of St. Teresa having an orgasm. Really, St. Teresa of Avila in Ecstasy. My very holy cousin-in-law named her daughter after St. Teresa but I don't think she ever caught this version of her.

Stopped for gelato and continued on the death march toward the Collesium where I begged a gladiator to kill me. Ended up with huge blister on right second toe (that's a first). Saundra dropped out around then and had to be life-flighted back to the hotel. Gee, guess warm sunny days and no water for hours is a no-no.

The rest of us walked back to the hotel where we killed another bottle of wine (Gigi Rossi?). Heather and her mother couldn't crawl to the bar so we picked them up later for dinner.

We ate at La Scala which was really my favorite place. Here's what the five of us had: one bellini, one pina colada and one strawberry margharita (oh the ugly American syndrome rears its ugly head). We shared a plate of mixed bruschetta (olive, mushroom, artichoke, tomato and ham) and an appetizer plate of ham, salami, proscuitto, olives, mozzarella and another kind of cheese. I was trying to get my ankles the size of my thighs so I liked eating all the salty food. Then we had two veal in lemon sauce, one pasta arabiata, one pasta carbonara, one pasta with artichokes and tomato, one side dish of artichokes with potato, one fried spinach in butter, two bottles of water, one chocolate mousse, two tiramisu and two panna cotta (one with chocolate and mine with nutella - I can die now). Total bill was 104 euros.

Total mileage for the day: around 14! Tomorrow the Vatican. We planned to take a cab since Amy was going to climb some hill and we thought she was trying to kill us anyway. I decided to pray at St. Peter's that my bloody stumps make it the rest of the trip. Amy said we could only have one plate at the trough the next morning so we'll be hungry for lunch. Didn't eat it today because of the pain and nausea. Boy, I love Rome!

During one of the breaks La Diabla let us have I was able to purchase a faux Chanel hair accessory. I had planned on using it to hang myself if the throbbing in my legs and feet didn't respond to wine, xanex and aspirin.

General: The weather was glorious. We were in Rome from March 10-16th and everyday was in the 60's with sun.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:45 AM
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Lovin' it! Can't wait for next installment.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:47 AM
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Loving your report Sharon!!! I keep checking back for more installments, you're gonna get me fired, girl

p.s. Just curious, do your "friends" read the Fodors board? LOL
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:54 AM
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Lovely report, Sharon.
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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"Le Clip" is faux?

Surely not! I thought it was the real deal. Or am I confusing this accessory with another?



I can't wait to read the rest Sharon!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:17 PM
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Indytravel, haven't gotten to the actual Le Clip yet. That's in Paris!

And yes my friends do read it but not Heather and her mother. That's okay, may they hate me forever and never want to travel with me again!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:24 PM
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What Flea Market? for the scarves? Thanks!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:35 PM
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Last report for today.

March 14 - Today was the Vatican and St. Peter's. First, we decided to eat lunch today so limited ourselves to one plate at breakfast. Of course, I couldn't see over mine. Then, because Amy wasn't going to go with us, Heather, Raynell, Saundra and I decided to take a taxi to the Vatican but no such luck. I think Amy called ahead and told them not to pick us up. 2.5 miles later we arrive at the line for an hour's wait from 9:30-10:30. Loved the beggar woman with the faux scalp wound, just made me hungry for pizza. Once in, Saundra and I went our own way. The place was horribly crowded and I asked her "what do you want to see?" She replied the Sistine Chapel. Me too. Warning: real art lovers read no further. We hotfooted it through there in record time with elbows akimbo. We entered the museum at 10:30 and were out by 11:15 including a stop in the banyo. Too many people for me!

The we went to St. Peter's where we got in the wrong line and almost ended up climbing the basilica. It might not have been too bad, I could have thrown myself off it a la Tosca. Whoops, wrong place. We met this German girl who said she was an artist and wanted to take pictures of people with funny faces. Gee, was that an insult? Then she said "no, making funny faces" so we posed with our Cinderella's stepsisters faces and then she told us we could just walk into St. Peter's and were on the wrong line. I dragged Saundra in there. Out of there by 12:15 including prayers for the dead relatives.

Then on to lunch with the rest of the gang. We went to Alfredo de San Pietro. 81 euros for the following: two plates of melon and proscuitto, two bottles of waters, two sodas (guess who?), two pasta alfredo, two pasta carbonara and one pasta ragu. Raynell almost had a cow because she couldn't get any butter with her bread. She was afraid she'd fall away to a ton.

We left them and on to shopping! Death March Part III with new underwear. We must have gone to every store within a ten mile radius of the Vatican and the Spanish Steps. I bought a Furla wallet, two bras at Coin, socks at Coin, and panna cotta mix and red chilis (not together!). Amy, La Diabla, bought tights, chocolate and shoes. I couldn't find any shoes even though I begged them to let me wear the boxes my feet were so swollen.

Saundra and I went back to Trevi because the last time we had thrown in our coins with our traveling companions and we were afraid that it would mean we had to come back with them. So we did it again to take the curse off. I spit alot too.

We had planned on going to Florence the next day but I just couldn't take seeing all of it on foot with no stopping. We bribed Amy to set us free. We planned on sleeping late, eating 3 plates at breakfast and more shopping (I know, I was ugly about Heather, but inbetween eating and shopping I like to fit in a few artworks). Amy promised we could take a taxi but we didn't believe her anymore. She was trying to kill us I'm sure. I felt like I was in an Italian version of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and I was Joan Crawford. I could just see me in that wheelchair trying to get to the phone for help but I didn't know how to use it in Italy. "If I wasn't in this wheelchair..." "But you are Blanche, you are in the chair!"

That night we went to Taverna Trelessa and all had pizza (one Napoli, one cheese, one with artichokes, one with provolone and spec - again with the salt, and one bianco with sausage and mushrooms. This was after yet another bottle of wine at the hotel. Just water and some limoncello and Grand Marnier afterwards for 62 euros.

Then walked to Blue Ice for gelato. We needed at least 5000 calories a day to keep up our strength.

Total miles today: 13.5
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:38 PM
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Sharon, what a way with words you have, can't wait to read more. Your trip is sounding like a Paris trip I took with my three sisters, my daughter, her best friend, her best friends mother and the mothers sister. It still amazes me that I didn't strangle someone and I admit I was our Trip Nazi. I'm enjoying every word of your report. Girl trips, you gotta love 'em. Deborah
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Someone has to help me with the flea market. It was the one on Sunday in Trastevere. We got there around 6:30AM and stayed about two hours. You could buy anything there from scarves to small children. Or was that chicken?
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:44 PM
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Your story has me in stitches!!!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:46 PM
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Hmmmmm..there are a couple of posters here who are going tobe, if not already, <b> insanely jealous </b> of this refreshingly presented report. More! More!!
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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You, SharonG, got me in trouble.
You see - I'm at work... the snort-chuckle-choke, caused some to raise their eyebrows. I mean, its rather uncommon to be laughing while working in a law office.
You write and I can &quot;see&quot; it...as if a movie. NICE JOB!
That said, I love my friends. Truly love them. Would do anything for them and they me.
I went with the pack on a barge trip through Burgundy... now, I travel alone.
I think so that I can CONTINUE to love my friends...
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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This is very good and funny.
I hope Heather is not reading this? ;-)
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Old Apr 4th, 2005, 12:53 PM
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We ate at Casetta di Trastevere in 2003. The waiter teased my daughter also but she is no Dolly Parton. They have a website with pictures of the restaurant but no online menu.
www.casettaditrastevere.com
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