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The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

The Accidental Tourists-the Adamsons hit Rome (and Rome hits back)!

Old Sep 21st, 2012, 05:14 AM
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So glad Chaz enjoyed the coffee in Rome, I love it there too. I know he is a "tried & true" coffee drinker, not much into what I call "fru-fru" coffee drinks like I am. But in Italy there are hundreds of ways of ordering coffee. The blogger Ms.Adventures in Italy has published a book on all the different ways to order coffee in Italy. A favorite of mine is a caffe shakerato on a hot summer day...YUM!

And, it's good you didn't go hunting for a Starbucks, the last I heard, there was one scheduled to open in Rome and another in Milan, but I'm not sure if that has happened yet.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 05:24 AM
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Denise- we're looking at doing the food tour with Elizabeth on our first day in Rome. She emailed us a description, which is a bit different from the one you did - this one starts earlier and seems a bit longer - which is all fine by me! But she is concerned that we may be too jet lagged to enjoy the tour. We're going to be a group of 6. Myself and my husband, our kids (12 and 14) and my parents, who are in their mid 60's but a healthy and active mid-60s. I wasn't thinking that a food tour could be strenuous, which is why we were wanting to do it our first day. It seems like a nice, almost leisurely way to eat your way through Rome and get a good introduction to the food and the city. Can you think of a reason to NOT do the food tour on our first day? I can't imagine that visiting historical sites would be less tiring? And with 6 of us, and not knowing what to do or where to go, just wandering seems to not be the best way to start our trip, especially tired
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 05:42 AM
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Denise, First would like to say I am a big fan of Prosecco also so enjoying reading that part...sounds like fun. We have never visited Rome other than the airport to continue on to other regions of Italy but you make it look like so much fun. We looove Paris so much and always seem to end up there but think it is time to pay Rome a visit. The Italian language is fun and easy to learn after speaking French.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 05:46 AM
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I'll make it unanimous, we also had no noise problems at the del Senato (but we were not in a front-facing room). I understand why you stayed outside the center on this trip (free and fantastic rooms) but, as you have already said, staying right in the middle of the action really makes a difference in how you experience a city.

Your teaser worked - I'm wondering what went wrong the next day. I'm guessing it's something your good attitude and some prosecco fixed right up. LOL!!!
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 06:20 AM
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I've been mentally crafting a trip to Umbria for next year, but your report is making me crave Rome. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 07:29 AM
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We came upon the spot where the few remaining bones of St. Peter are...not easy to see and yes, they are in plastic boxes. This has come up on the forum previously, so I will say here, that we were told we could pray here if we wished and our guide left us to see and pray or not.>>

denise - I was having a debate with someone here recently about what "St. Peter's bones" are kept in, and I was sure I'd remembered them being in what looked like tupperware! we too had a guide whose english was less than perfect, but somehow it didn't seem to matter very much. I don't recall anything being said one way or the other about prayer, but even this old atheist found it moving being below the great altar as the midday mass was starting, so i'm not surprised that those with a religious faith do feel moved to utter a prayer.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 08:23 AM
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LCI-Chaz always forgot the shakerato! Next time, I guess.

ShellD - no, I can't think of a reason not to do the food tour on arrival day. If you all have traveled before and know how you respond, then do it. Elizabeth was amazed that we were not dragging and still felt great. I think we met at 5:30 and finished around 8:00pm, but we tsayed out until 10:30 or 11:00. I thought it was good to walk a bit (it wasn't too far) and sample food here and there. I do think her usual tours are slightly longer than the one we did (we didn't go for coffee or gelato). It was a great way to ease into Rome, we thought and we did siight see earlier in the day.

Cornelius...do go to Rome. We are still deciding but love Paris and also Rome...they are quite different but I think you will enjoy Rome.

Thanks John, am working on it. Jmct, you can do both!

Annhig...I couldn't remember all the specifics of the thread but on one someone had stated that their guide kinda insisted they say a prayer or something. We are not religious people at all, so I was glad it was not "forced" on us or expected. The plastic box was like something from the Container Store!

Will try to get the photos up in a little while.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 08:34 AM
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denise - i was astonished to find myself weeping with emotion as i heard the choir start singing above my head, and 2 years later, i still have no idea why it took me that way.

Jmct - I agree with denise - you could pick up a car at the airport, tour Umbria, then return your car somewhere like Orvieto, and catch the train into Rome and finish your trip there. BTW, I had quite a thing about NOT going to Rome, couldn't see what the fuss was about, loved seeing the rest of Italy, etc. etc. until at the age of about 50, I actually got there. Now I would be happy to go every year.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 08:54 AM
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The link for day 4 photos:

http://photobucket.com/albums/jj506/deniseadamson/Rome 2012-day 4

I have felt the same way at times, annhig, in churches and am not sure why and I almost cried at the Coliseum! We light a candle for an old friend, in one church when we travel. I don't know why we do it or how it started. Who can answer these things?
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 09:05 AM
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http://photobucket.com/albums/jj506/deniseadamson/Rome 2012-day 4

Let's try this again! Sorry.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 09:15 AM
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OK...something is up with the link. Will try to sort it out and re-post later.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 09:15 AM
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denise - I'm getting the same "page not found" on both links.

but I'm not crying - yet.
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 10:57 AM
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http://s1265.photobucket.com/albums/...02012-day%204/

One more time, this is making me nuts! I paste the link in and then when it gets submitted it chops the end off...let's see if this works!
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Old Sep 21st, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Denise - love the pics of the view across Rome and nice to see you and Chaz too!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 06:22 AM
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Day 5 - Orvieto, better think again!

We got up early to catch the train for our day in Orvieto.  I don't know why but I checked email (actually was hoping for an update on our pups from the pet sitter).  I had an email from Costanza and while I don't read Italian...I understood the gist of it.  "Did you leave your credit card at the restaurant last night?" A scene from A Christmas Story came to mind...."fuuuuuuuuuuddddggge"!

Seriously, I have never done more boneheaded stuff than I did on this trip.  Here's a lesson, don't do things differently when you are traveling than you do at home!  Chaz was closer to the waiter and I gave him my card to pay the bill. I assumed he got the card and he thought I did. Well, we know what happens when one asssumes.

We found the bill and credit card receipt and then I saw the bread/cover charge.  I would be mad about that but at least they let me know about the credit card.  But, pay attention because the "tourist cover charge" is alive and well.

As we headed up to the club for a quick breakfast, I was wondering what to do....go ahead to Orvieto and possibly worry a bit about the card or scrap the day's plan and pick up the card as soon as possible. We would probably need the card in Orvieto and it's no foreign transaction fee card, so I had planned to use it for shopping.

Somewhere in all that, I went to the ATM in the hotel (which is attached to a bank).  The machine would take the card and then just sit there.  Well, that's not good. 

I went to get Chaz to try his card.  We had already used the ATM a few times without any problems but I wanted to try something else.  A British gentleman walked up and we soon realized, it was the ATM.  The bank was just opening and we finally got the manager to come out and take a look. He decided to watch me try to get money, same thing happened....

"It  is broken"....Really?  Gee, thanks....

The British guy knew there were a few ATMs a short walk from the hotel and explained to us how to get there and off we went.  

As is always the case, it was a bit further away then we had been told but we finally found an ATM machine and got money.

 I threw out an idea for a change in plans as we had already lost a good bit of time....switch Ostia Antica and Orvieto.  Head to OA for a few hours and pick up the wayward credit card at lunch when Costanza would definitely be open.  That would mean no wine tasting in Orvieto but would be less stressful. No worrying about the credit card and Chaz readily agreed to that.  I am so glad we hadn't bought train tickets in advance. We emailed the regional enoteca and canceled our tasting and apologized for the change in plans and then we were off to the Metro station to head out to Ostia Antica. We then emailed Costanza to let them know we would be in during lunch to get the card.

I was secretly relieved that I would not have to visit the concierge, Adriano, for yet another "hey, I'm back and still stupid" visit.

We got a little bit confused on getting to the train to OA, but figured it out and were hopping onto the train, when my foot slipped and my leg ended up in "the gap", as the British would say.  I am going to thank Chaz and anyone else that has helped me train my core over the years, as I stayed upright, grabbed Chaz and pulled my leg out of the gap & onto the train....not even a scratch and barely a smudge on my white jeans.  Really lucky.  

It was awhile before the train left and more and more people got on the train (asking us if this was the train to OA, not realizing that we may have been the stupidest people in Rome, at the time). The train ended up being very crowded and hot...no chance of ever getting a seat.  Eventually, we got stuck next to a teen "couple" and the girl had her music cranked. Not sure why she was bothering with the headphones but we heard all the hot American teen songs ("Call me maybe") on the way out while watching another teen couple make out. 

We used the info sent to us by another Fodorite for Ostia Antica and we followed those directions from the train station  to the entrance. We walked a little past the ticket counter before realizing that we had missed it. We turned and started walking to it and I noticed another couple heading in the same direction....she started hauling as* toward the counter! Faster and faster....she was practically sprinting to get there first.  It was so ridiculous that we both started laughing. There was no line, so I am not sure why she needed to get there first, but she did.  I thought about tripping her but decided that she could certainly go first, since it was clearly her life's mission to get into Ostia Antica before us.  We waited behind her and still walked into the gate at the same time as our race walker friend. I can imagine what she was like as a child.

We had some info on Ostia Antica and there are all kinds of ruins to see.  It was sunny and hot (as we missed the cooler hours trying to find a working ATM).  Maybe we were a little "ruined" by Hadrian's villa and the Forum, but we only stayed an hour and a half before heading back into Rome.  For us, this is an area that a guide could be helpful in.  Or maybe, we had enough of ruins, but it was our least favorite thing. It wasn't bad at all, but we didn't love it.

So, back into Rome and over to Costanza to pick up the credit card. They remembered and we had the card back in just a few minutes.  Thank God, that was over.  Lord, please don't let me do anything else stupid on this trip! I can tell you that we checked about ten time before leaving any place the rest of the trip....camera? check...credit card? check...sunglasses? check

Pizza at Forno for lunch ( red and white ).  A few beers and a few glasses of wine at Mercato on Campo de Fiori before heading back to clean up for our dinner at La Pergola. 

Have I mentioned the extensive population of weiner dogs in Rome? They are everywhere! If you are looking at the photos, there was a shot of a sleepy little "hot dog" on day one.  Anyone know why the dachshund seems to reign supreme in Rome?

It was nice not leaving the hotel for dinner and we wouldn't need sunglasses or a card (tab charged to the room). So, we just had to make it out with the camera.  We, as usual, took advantage of the Imperial Club (and the great view for) some prosecco before dinner. Apparently, Jerry Seinfeld and George Coastanza's parents were also there. We got the "which kid is oldest, David or Larry" and "no they weren't on that trip, Ira " early bird, Del Boca Vista conversation. Hilarious.

We made our way up to the top floor to La Pergola. We got a great table outside (at night the weather was really great in Rome).  St. Peter's was so close and the view was really spectacular.  We started off with a little Rose champagne.  The service is very traditional here.  Almost fussy but not uncomfortable.  Lots of carts and ceremony and if you like those traditions, you will love La Pergola.

I did like that they poured olive oil with two different salts (one Sicilian and one pink Australian)  to try with the bread. The bread selection was also impressive.  We ordered some Ferrari sparkling wine for dinner...very good.  There is a picture of the amuse but I don't really remember what is was (sorry).

We both got the cacio e pepe with lime marinated shrimp for primi. It was quite delicious and the shrimp worked with it.

My main was a lobster dish and Chaz got the beef. Both were very good. We began to detect the vocal stylings wafting up from the outdoor bar below. We soon realized we were hearing the slowed down,  thoughtful version of "Maniac" from the movie Flashdance.  Shades of the Bill Murray lounge singer from SNL.  We were hysterical. I wonder if Heinz Beck had intended that to be the dining music for La Pergola.

We weren't swayed by anything on the dessert menu but we still got an assortment of dessert minis, anyway, the passion fruit ice cream with white chocolate ice cream cone was very refreshing.

The chef, Heinz Beck, did come out to speak to us at the end of the meal and we didn't discuss the "Maniac" music. Very nice man.

We enjoyed La Pergola, but it is extremely expensive and the food, while good, is not as spectacular as the price. The view is priceless and our experience was good but no where near our top dining experiences at other places. In fact, the food at Glass blows La Pergola away.

Still, another great day in Rome for us. I began to realize the trip was flying by!

Up next....a totally unplanned day in Rome for shopping and some spontaneous sight seeing
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 09:30 AM
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You certainly have some interesting adventures on your trips! Your reference to an early bird Del Boca Vista conversation had me laughing out loud - too funny! Too bad you missed Orvieto - we really liked it - but you can add it to the "next trip to Italy" list. Really enjoying your very entertaining report - and your pics are great.
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 10:48 AM
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yep - this is Italy. i remember sitting on the same train next to an italian who was using no less than 3 mobile phones - quite a feat.

the reason that it gets so crowded is that the train goes into the beach after OA - but it does have the advantage that it gets too crowded for those people with the little begging cards to come round. How do they get them printed in such perfect english if they have no money?
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Denise - you must have exquisite karma!

Seriously, the flight upgrade, the lost and returned possessions, and then the ultimate....the slip getting on the train. White jeans! White Jeans! That did not get dirty or grease marks? Seriously, that is too much. Well, I guess enduring the teenage makeout session wasn't so lucky.

I gasped out loud when I read about the slip, glad you were not hurt. Enjoying the report!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 12:43 PM
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You make me laugh out loud! Keep reporting!
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Old Sep 22nd, 2012, 01:10 PM
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Yay, someone got the Del Boca Vista reference! And, i will say that we did go to Orvieto...more on that later!

Good to know annhig...I could not inagine why all the teens were on the train. We did have the play for pay musicians on the train but no beggars. I saw a woman begging on the street with $500 backback on her, so apparently I am in the wrong line of work.

OMG davispeets...i think I should have bought a lottery ticket! I do try not to do anything in life that would warrant reincarnation as a dung beetle, so maybe I do have good karma. I do know how lucky I was on the trip. When I felt my leg slip in, my first thought was the white jeans....instead of my leg! Kinda messed up!

We just opened up a bottle of prosecco for our sparkling Saturday. Our new mouth of truth is presiding over our cocktail hour and I am sure will re-hash the trip....still trying to figure out Rome or Paris and why.
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