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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 26th, 2012, 02:47 AM
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Rosecity, I am terrible with all the technology stuff! I am new to photobucket and it has been pretty easy to learn. I used one of the adapters for the iPad to download my photos from the camera onto the IPad. Then used photobucket from there to upload into folders and give titles/names. I think you do have to use a computer to do any effects with pictures, but I don't do anything like that.

It's easy enough to learn on your own!
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Old Sep 26th, 2012, 10:29 AM
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Day 8 - The Roman Rollercoaster

Day 8 started way too early. 3am to be precise.

I awoke and realized my soft palate was super swollen. The unexpected visitor, a recurrence of this stupid hereditary condition I have.

I don't want to turn this into WebMD, but I have a condition that causes my throat and soft palate to swell. Not an allergy, and believe me if I could find the trigger, I would avoid it but it's an enzyme deficiency and that will do for explanations. It's mostly a nuisance, like this time. Once I decide that I can breathe and am not in any real danger, then you just manage it. That means sitting up (laying down doesn't help the swelling). Talking and eating actually help but not really an option at 3am.

No need for those alarms, after all. I was short on sleep and not at my best but the Vatican museums awaited us.

We headed up to the club at 7am and waited for the doors to be unlocked. We wanted to grab a bite before our morning at the Vatican museums. Our meeting spot was around the corner from the Vatican and we had to be thereby 8:15. It was also pouring....so glad we brought the travel umbrellas.

There were two groups meeting at the bar that morning and I almost squealed when we were told we would be in Stuart's group. I had read how great Stuart is as a guide on Trip Advisor. He also skips ahead to the Sistine Chapel so you see it before it gets crowded.

As we talked to others in our group that day, we realized again how much we get out of Fodor's. If you know me, I am a voracious planner for our vacations. We had done so much more than the people around us and knew about so much more. I think a few people were ready to hire me as a planner.

We made the soggy trek over the the museums and had to wait in the rain, as they opened the doors. Here's a tip...if it rains when you are going to the Vatican, use a small, travel umbrella. They will often require you to check the large, golf sized umbrella and you will have to walk back around when your tour ends to retrieve it.

Before we head into the museum, Stu explained that we would skip everything at the beginning, but come back to it. First, we would go to the Sistine Chapel to see it, virtually alone. We would come back and cover all the things we skipped and work our way through the museums, Rafael Rooms and back to the Sistine. We would end at St.
Peter's.

I will take a moment to digress and say that a new pet peeve arose from taking small group tours. The people who know they are with a group, on a 3-4 hour tour and want to use the first 15-20 minutes of tour time to run to the ladies room. Are ya kiddin' me? Didn't your mom make sure you went before you got in the car for that trip or before the movie started? Now, I am a middle aged woman and I know, I better hit the girls room before I go anywhere. For those who watch Monday Night Football, "Come on, man"! Go before you walk over to the site!

OK, rant over and back to the tour....

So off we went and Stuart explained a bit about the Vatican and what we would see that day. We also got some background on the Sistine Chapel, on the way. Stuart, who is British, is very witty and kept everyone moving....very efficient and aware of time constraints.

As we entered the chapel, he positioned us where he could tell the story of Michaelangelo and his painting of the ceiling. He would move us around the rooms to see the parts of ceiling best, as he told the story behind the painting.
There were probably 30 people, including us, in the Sistine Chapel.

The famous creation of Adam, the scaffolding built for the work, what frescoes are and the difficulty of working with plaster, the creation of Eve, Noah and the floods, jonah and the big fish.....Stuart really brings it all to life for you. This is the way to see the Sistine Chapel.

It also stuck with me when Stuart pointed out an area of the ceiling that was left dirty in comparison to the remainder of the ceiling that has been cleaned. The soot that must be have covered all the gorgeous painting was incredible. Candles and fires lit to notify the faithful if a pope was elected or not had taken their toll!

Stuart also knows a lot of the guards and politely asks to take some time saving short cuts to get to and from the Chapel, as quickly as possible. They all obliged. I can tell that that when we returned to the Sistine toward the end of the tour, it was wall to wall people!

You really appreciate how great it was to be in the chapel before the crowds.

We returned to the beginning and Stuart keeps the pace moving, he knows we can't stop at everything. We saw so much, and it is a bit of a blur now but it was an incredible experience. Stuart's explanations of the significant works are so helpful. He really shines in the Rafael Rooms. I wouldn't have known much about what I was seeing, without his narrative. He is fun to listen to and boy, does he know the history!

As we were leaving, I noticed a few stragglers who have read to exit the Chapel with a group to get to St Peters. It was kind of funny to watch but I would do the same thing.

We ended in St Peters and it was great to get some info on what we saw alone, a few days before. The Holy Door, the Pieta...Sad to know that Pieta is behind glass because of a deranged man who went after the statue with a hammer and did significant damage years ago. The sunburst is made of sheets of Amber...incredible! There was more that I can't remember and couldn't possibly go into, if I could remember it all!

Another moment when we were so proud of our research (and thankful to all our Fodorite friends)...Stuart was explaining about the Vatican grottoes and the tomb of St Peter below and he recommended the Scavi tour. No one else had heard of it and we had already been on it! Stuart has only been once after living in Rome for years. He was impressed!

The tour exceeded our expectations. With something like the Vatican Museums, sometimes you hear so much and your expectations are so high, that the real thing can't live up to the hype. Not the case here. A high point for the day and for the trip.

We left and it wasn't raining but it was cold. In September, it was cold and damp, in Rome! We tried to find Pizzarium but no luck and our feet we tired and wet. I had a list of places in the area, so we made our way to Dal Toscano for lunch.

We walked up and a man screamed something to us in Italian. Nope, not buongiorno, but we finally figured out we were there before they had opened. (close the door, next time buddy). Now, had we been smarter, we would not have gone back.....but we did.

Here comes a low. In fact, the worst dining experience we had in Rome.

We ordered a fitto misto platter to start and some red wine. The wine was good. The fried food (artichokes, zucchini, chips, some arincini, a meat patty of some kind) was kind of bland. Chaz got Cacio e Pepe and I got agnolotti with a ragu sauce. They were average. Not terrible, but nothing exceptional. We also noticed that locals and non-American tourists got far better service and didn't get the stale bread tossed on the table, but were asked if they wanted bread.

The nasty man from the front earlier was one of the waiters and does speak English, so he could have yelled at us in English. Thankfully, he wasn't our waiter. Our waiter wasn't rude but he did need a shower.

We weren't pissed at Dal Toscana until we checked the bill and saw the bread charge and the service charge. (These are posted IF you really look for them, but they are BS). I doubt any of the non-Americans saw these charges on their bills. We were still cold and Chaz' shoes were soaking. I was in no mood to fight and my throat still felt like someone was trying to strangle me. I just wanted to get out of there.
So we left and I am sure they were thrilled.

We read the reviews for this restaurant on Trip Advisor and every American that posted reported terrible service. The other reviews are good, but they aren't from Americans.

If I had a lot of money, I would fill the place up with Americans just to aggravate them . That must be their idea of hell. LOL.

So, skip Dal Toscana...I am sure they won't care but it seems really sad. This is the only truly negative experience we had anywhere in Rome.

Back to the hotel to dry our feet and warm back up. And start the packing process. We bought more on this trip than we usually do and we had a busy Saturday ahead. Chaz took a nap and I packed as much as I could.

We had made a reservation a few days before at Glass. We had to go back. Who cares about crappy Dal Toscana....we were going back to Glass! I could not wait to get that amazing ravioli again.

The usual prosecco before dinner and with the clouds moving out, we had our best view of Rome for the entire trip.

They remembered us at Glass and we chose to sit at our same table in the center of the restaurant. We had a little trouble figuring out which wine we had on our previous visit. We thought it had been a franciacorta but it was another kind of sparkling wine. We liked it and got it again.

Now, I knew I was getting that parmesan ravioli and semifreddo for dessert. I just had to figure out the main. Chaz knew he was getting the beef tartare and the semifreddo. He just had to figure out the starter. Cristina Bowerman came over to welcome us back....she is just great!

We got a kick out of our server, who was always smiling and upbeat. She would walk over and say, "I am here for you". Not sure what her first language is but it is not English. She was very cute.

Chaz chose an very unusual starter....potatoes baked in clay with a sea urchin sauce. It was two blue potatoes with the sauce and served with edible silver. Like a super special, gorgeous baked potato and quite good!

My ravioli was still the best pasta I have ever had....shoulda jut gotten 3 orders of that! But, I got lobster with mango suace for my main and it was terrific. Chaz got the tartare, and again it didn't disappoint. Top of the roller coaster! I LOVE Glass.

We both got the semifreddo for dessert. This time some rose petals added to the herbs on top. This is the most refreshing dessert ever. But, I was fading fast after the short night of sleep from the previous day.

I could not wait to get back to the hotel and get to bed. I was exhausted.

I got into bed...and my stomach really started to hurt. Very unusual for me. It hadn't felt right for a good part of the day.

And, then before I knew it, I plummeted down the Rome roller-coaster again. No, please, no!!

I will only say that every time I thought it was over and I could finally go to sleep, it would start again as soon as my eyelids drooped. At one point, I just laid down on the bathroom floor and stayed in there for about 2 hours. (This is getting to be a habit for at least one of us on our past 3 trips to Europe).

The good news, is that Chaz never knew what was going on and I didn't disturb his night's sleep. No point in both of us being awake all night, besides the fact that it was not a glamorous night for me.

My head was spinning with thoughts of "I can't miss Borghese Gallery", "I Can't miss Sparkling Saturday at VinoRoma", " I still haven't gotten to try a Franciacorta yet"', "how will I get Chaz to go, if I can't leave beautiful bathroom?"

So, that's where I will leave you, middle of the night on the gorgeous marble floor in room 656 of the Hilton Cavalieri. The end of the roller-coaster Friday in Rome. The highs were high and the lows were low!

Up next: The Last Day...in Rome or in the room?
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Old Sep 26th, 2012, 03:58 PM
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The pictures...some are blurry but I couldn't bear to delete them! I think the link or album is misnamed as day 7...it is day 8.

http://photobucket.com/rome2012day7
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Old Sep 26th, 2012, 05:54 PM
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Roller coaster is right! What a day you had! Hope the last day was better.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 02:31 AM
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I'm enjoying your report, and I love your writing style.

BTW I have a sheltie dog too. Sweetest little OCD dog ever.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 03:11 AM
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Thanks...I grew up with Goldens but have had Shelties all of my adult life. They are so smart and sweet. The two we have now are a handful but we love our girls. Both are rescue pups from Sheltie Rescur of Georgia!

Not sure if I will get the last day's report up today or not!
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 01:31 PM
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"Come on, man"! You are too funny! At least you didn't have "replacement" guides. I am so enjoying this report and taking copious notes. Thanks.
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 02:35 PM
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Awesome, willowjane! Love it when the pop culture references are understood! No replacement guides, but it did make me kinda want to replace some fellow tour group members!

I am glad you are enjoying the report and more importantly, I hope it helps you with your trip. I have learned so much from the forum and a great trip is the payoff here.

Now, it is time to work on the last day!
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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The Last Day - Borghese Gallery and a Sparkling finish!

As my night in the bathroom dragged on, I just willed myself not to be too sick! I had to find a way out of the marble mausoleum to go see the great Bernini marble statues at Borghese Gallery.  We had 11:00am reservations, so I had some time to pull it together.

I finally got back in bed at around 6:00am and got a little cat nap, I think.  I thought it might be over, finally. A few hours passed and all was well. 

We started our last day, the way we had begun them all.  Chaz would check and be sure that I wouldn't kill him for turning the TV on and then turn it on.  The hotel channel always came on and there was Renaissance music that played in the background while the video showed off the fantastic property.  I don't know why we thought this was so funny to do everyday, but that was the ritual and the official signal that it was time to roll out of bed and explore Rome.

This was the last day for amazeballs and the leisurely coffee sipping. I wish I could have packed in more, but I decided to go very light.  A little toast, two amazeballs, water and banana.  Arrivederci, amazeballs!

We walked around the hotel grounds and the day was spectacular! It was cloudless and cooler. You know it's going to warm up but you know it is not going to be hot! Perfect weather.

Off we went to Borghese Gallery.  We picked up our tickets and walked over to deposit my purse.  Now, I really wished I could speak Italian.  There was a little Italian man giving the bag check attendants hell about something.  (Picture Junior Soprano for this one). This went on for awhile and one of them called me to the counter but Junior stepped in front of me and kept putting some kind of hex or curse on them (that's what it sounded like). I finally had to muscle my way up the to leave my bag and he was still going at it and he kind of shoved me, but realized his beef wasn't with me, smiled at me, held up his hand, and then turned back to keep berating the bag check staff.

We wandered and watched the dogs play in the park and then decided to go line up.  My plan was to go straight to the Bernini favs, "Apollo and Daphne" and "The Rape of Proserpina" first. We were one of the first let in and that's just what we did.

We went to "proserpina" first.  Now, I know what everyone has been talking about.  The attention to detail is remarkable.  We especially noted how her skin appeared to be pressed in, where Pluto's hands were digging into her skin.  It really is incredible to see. The tears on her face, the barking Cerberus dog...all the detail is impressive.

We admired this work of art and had it all to ourselves.  We moved on to Apollo and Daphne.  I am amazed how someone can tell that story by carving a marble statue .  Her fingers turning into leaves, the bark around her legs...again no detail was overlooked by Bernini.  And we had this work of art essentially to ourselves.

We also enjoyed David and the Canova carving of Pauline Bonaparte.  The entire collection is worth seeing, but we preferred the statues to the paintings in this gallery.  I can't believe that a year ago, I had never heard of the Borghese Gallery! Thanks again to my Fodor's friends for pointing me in the direction of this magnificent gallery.

We strolled around and watched one of the ubiquitous Roman weiner dogs jump in a little waterfall to cool off. Hilarious!

We were both a little hungry and we decided we had to have one last Roman pizza lunch from Roscioli.  Off we went for one last time to Campo de Fiori. This time, we planned our order more carefully and I got the best pizza of the trip....the pizza pomodoro.  Oh my God, is it good.  The crust is crisp on the outside, but perfectly chewy.  It has been well brushed with olive oil and there is a little bit of parmesan cheese baked onto it.  Then the small tomatoes and some basil. I couldn't eat too much of it but it is pizza perfection.

Sadly, we needed to finish packing as our car from Rome Cabs would be at the hotel at 6am to pick us up. 

We spent some time packing and I went to my best friend, Adriano, to get our boarding passes printed.  He is the best concierge...every hotel should have an Adriano.

One last trip up to the Imperial Club for the great view and an espresso before heading to VinoRoma for Sparkling Saturday.

We had fun with our cab driver on the way to VinoRome, as he was not quite sure where it is...but we found it and he seemed pleased. It's on a little street that doesn't have much around it.

We walked in the door at 5pm on the dot. Our Sparkling wine tasting was with Hande, who is Turkish and married to a German living in Rome. She is tons of fun and incredibly knowledgable. We were there with a couple from Northern California. They were also a great couple to taste with.   We are always running across someone from Pittsburgh and the husband in the other couple was from the 'burgh, as is Chaz. They go to Italy every year and she was really good at picking out the undertones of the wines.

We tasted 5 Italian sparkling wines.  The first was a single fermented wine...the first I have ever had. Very few bubbles, unusual...totally different than anything I have had. Nothing I need to drink again, but still interesting to have had.   Metado Rurale 2010 by Fratelli Cosmo.

The second wine was Belecasel Asolo extra dry Prosecco. Very nice, nothing not to like here....you probably already know form our report...we like our prosecco.

The third was Diol from Bellenda made from Raboso grapes. Very good, drinkable spumante.

Our fourth wine was a very dry Franciacorta.  A vintage year (2006) and it was my favorite of the night.  In fact, this wine was bone dry and so very delicious. My first and favorite Franciacorta, 100% Chardonnay from Il Mosnel winery.

Our last wine was Chaz' favorite. I would have thought it would be mine because it was a Franciacorta Rose. Dry, but not as dry as the previous wine and it was delicious. Chaz really loved it.  It was made from Pinot Nero grapes, 2007 Ferghettina a female wine maker in a square bottomed bottle.

We all chose our favorite and Hande poured us a glass of our favorite. I only regret not being able to drink more.  I was definitely feeling like a lightweight, as I had not had much food that day!  It really did break my heart to pour out some of wine, but I think it is poor form to get plastered at a wine tasting!

We had so much fun talking about travel, what airs with the wines and the fact that both of these men from Pittsburgh hate ketchup! Don't tell the people at Heinz!

We ended with a look around downstairs in the century old wine cellar (caves).  Incredible to see. Hande showed us some of her favorite bottles, many are Austrian!  Very International!  It was wild to be down in this area that dates back 1000 years.

We thanked Hande and our fellow tasters for a great night.  We had a dinner reservation and I hate to say it, but we couldn't find it! New part of Rome for us and well, we did it again. We got lost and could not find the restaurant.  It really was OK, because I was still not 100% and was pretty tired from two nights of limited sleep.

We ate at the most touristy spot but our food was good.   Our favorite thing to do, split a pizza and pasta.  Margherita and carbonara....not bad at all.  And they weren't rude like at Dal Toscana!  We ate quickly as we wanted to get to bed a little early and had some final things to pack.  We went pretty hard the whole time we were in Rome. We didn't need a big last night.

I still can't believe the trip has come and gone already.  We had a great time in Rome. It's an incredible city and we saw some amazing things.  I think we saw a lot,  especially for our first trip there.  We had incredible luck on this trip, we got lost more than on any other trip and we may have walked more on this trip than on any other.  

Next up: Getting out of Rome and some final thoughts!
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Old Sep 27th, 2012, 05:58 PM
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ttt
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Old Sep 28th, 2012, 05:49 AM
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Not many photos from the last day....no photos allowed at Borghese Gallery.

http://s1265.photobucket.com/albums/...Rome2012-day9/
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Old Sep 28th, 2012, 09:43 AM
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Denise,

i loved your report and it is making me so very anxious for our trip in March. We were supposed to go last March but had to cancel as my husband had a little cancer scare. Fortunately, things turned out well and he is ok. We are planning a 2 week Rome-Sicily-Paris vacation. We had the entire trip planned last year including a Scavi Tour which we had already booked and paid for so we will denifitely go this time. The Borghese is lovely. We went there in 2010 on our previous trip to Rome and were just blown away by the Bernini sculptures. I am looking at a poster of Daphne and Apollo right now in my office. Looking at your pictures, I just saw one in Campo di Fiori if the Hotel Campo di Fiori where we plan to stay in March. I cannot wait. So glad you had a wonderful time.
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Old Sep 28th, 2012, 01:16 PM
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Oh, lrock...what a great trip! Curious to see your thoughts on that hotel....we would love to be so close to Roscioli and Forno. I woild love to hit Rome and Paris in one trip. We had a fantastic time.

Glad your husband is OK and hope that your trip will be wonderful. i already can't wait to read the trip report!
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Old Sep 28th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Great report, denisea. Thanks for sharing
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 06:05 AM
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The trip home and some final thoughts about Rome...

We were up on time and listened to the trip "wake up call" one last time....bye bye Renaissance music!

Our car and driver from Rome Cabs was downstairs when we got down there. The hotel had the bill printed and it was correct. True to their word, the breakfast really was FREE, internet charges had been removed....the hotel was really first rate in every way.

I forgot to mention that we had a bottle of prosecco and red wine left in our room by the hotel staff on different days. Nice!

We had an uneventful trip to FCO and were dropped off at terminal 5. And then, it got a little interesting.  The flight left at 9:40am and we got to the airport at 6:30.  No one from the airlines is even there.  You line up behind the sign of your airline and flight number and wait.  

They staff filters in and then they hand out plastic bags for you to put all you electronics in. Never heard of this and it is kinda irritating to have packed your bags and then have to find all your electronics and drag them out. Maybe that info could show up on the boarding pass or somewhere, so you can leave all that crap somewhere you can find it all easily.

Then they look at a few passports and you wait a little more.  Then they finally give you a sticker on the back of the passport and let you go around the corner. To wait in line again at the main airline counter.  Your passport is checked again and then they print you another boarding pass (not sure why I bothered printing one at the hotel).

Then over to security....which doesn't open for twenty more minutes.  So the line piles up again behind you.  You get everything ready and then they finally open. The security part was the easiest part and yep, they check the passport again (that's 3 times).  Re-pack all the electronics again.

Next up, immigration...quick and passport check #4.  Then you get on a bus, wait for the bus to fill up and you get trucked out to the terminal.

Thank God my Delta status got us through the lines quickly and into the Alitalia lounge.  Some last espressos for Chaz, coke light for me and some commercial cornetti.  It's nice to have someplace to go besides the gate.  

Time came and we headed to gate.  No upgrade this time (is anyone that lucky?).  The usual crush of Medallion members and people who have walked all over Rome, who suddenly need wheelchairs.  I find that boarding in Europe is always a bit more chaotic than in the US. There was a passenger at the front of the line who decided to quiz and check everyone boarding to be sure they were in first class....she would be the first Sky Priority member to board! No one was getting ahead of her. 

The fifth and sixth passport checks were at the gate, as we boarded. Chaz ended up being the baggage handler for every woman around us on the plane.  My motto is..."if I can't carry myself, I don't take it!" I think I am alone in that line of thinking.

The flight back was long but we are getting better at the 9-10 hour flights.  The food wasn't bad.  We landed on time and Chaz unloaded everything for all the women around us.

The immigration line was awful but there was no separate customs check. They asked customs questions in immigration and then took up the forms as you left the area (now would have been the time to load up on all those questionable items)!

The down side of the new international terminal in Atlanta...you have to take a shuttle to the parking deck and we waited a while.  Not cool...more shuttles please!  The drive home went fast and our Shelties were so glad to see us.  

Thoughts on Rome:

Love:
Love the way you can fill up your water bottle at fountains all over Rome
Speaking of that, I love the fountains all over Rome!
Pizza! Prosecco!
Wow sites around every corner....ancient ruins all over the place!
Hearing "Prego" all the time!
The coffee and espresso

Didn't love:
All the smokers everywhere...both trips to Italy, I have noticed the smoking is insane and everywhere (I hate to be around it....stops my nose up for hours)
Cigarette butts and broken glass (see above) everywhere
Aggressive tour guides, gladiators and "train station teens"
The signs pointing to the nearest McDonald's in the high traffic areas

The Top Ten!
Vatican Museums
Orvieto
Villa d'Este at night
Galleria Doria Pamphilj, especially the hall of mirrors
Walking out onto the stage of the Coliseum
Borghese Gallery
Sparkling Saturday at VinoRoma
Dinner(s) at Glass
The food tour in Campo de Fiori
Scavi tour/Vatican Necropolis

Next time....
Central Rome hotel (in no way were we disappointed with Rome Cavalieri)
Castel sant'Angelo
Appian Way
Capitoline Museums
Santa Cecilia
Farnese Gardens
San Giovanni in Laterano
Villa Farnesina
Villa d'Este during the day

Recommendations:

Rome Cabs...would use again! Very reliable and they follow up with you about your service and thank you for responding to them. Very customer service oriented. Easy to book online and can prepay with PayPal.

Elizabeth Minchilli for food tours or workshops.
VinoRoma for wine tasting.
Daniella Hunt for private tours.

La Gensola for seafood.
Glass for a "foodie" heaven dinner.
Forno for pizza bianca.
Marco Roscioli for pizza pomodoro.

Thanks again for the safety pin trick. We used it and it made us feel less worried about pickpockets! I used a small, flat purse with 3 compartments and  used the safety pin on the zipper pulls, to make it harder to open fast. Chaz used them on his pockets and we didn't get pick pocketed.  Maybe we didn't encounter any pickpockets but it did make us feel more secure. 

We were very lucky on this trip, as you know! I forgot to mention that I had been looking for a book prior to the trip and could not find it! I spotted it at the airport and was in line to buy it, when the cashier said " that book is on the 50% off shelf" and pointed it out. I got it for half price! The stars were aligned because I did lots of dumb stuff and it all worked out.  I think next time, I will start using the purse before I leave for vacation.  I think the new surroundings and the change in purse/routine contributed to the dumb stuff I did!

We loved our hotel and the staff. One really good thing about a large hotel is the ability to get change!  In Europe, we always get stuck with 50 euro bills from ATMs and no one wants them!  I used them at tourist sites to buy tickets.  Otherwise, we had to change them out at the hotel cashier, which you can't do when you rent an apartment or are staying in a smaller hotel, as much.

We prefer to use our Amex as much as possible! (more points for more future travel). Amex is less accepted in Rome as it is in Paris, but Mastercard and Visa are always easier to use in Europe. I know Amex is more expensive for the merchant. Our Amex and the MC (Captial One) we use have no foreign transaction fees.

We had great weather, just one cold rainy day.  It was hot in the sun the first part of the week and that was harder for Chaz than for me.  Many thanks to the Fodorite who mentioned taking sunscreen...we were glad we had it!

We really enjoyed Rome.  I am not sure how to compare it to Paris....I think we may give the edge to Paris, but we want to go back to Rome, also.  We can't put our finger on describing Rome. I think we don't know it as well.  We walked a lot in Rome and my God, my feet have never been dirtier! I am interested to hear other thoughts on Rome and Paris....Maybe you can't pick a favorite, like with your children (unless you are Kris Jenner).  

I did pitch a coin in the Trevi fountain, which should guarantee my return to Rome.  And, I do want to return...will that be the next trip? back to Paris?both? Somewhere new? 

A link to photo of our Shelties for you dog lovers...they are glad their parents are home!
http://i1265.photobucket.com/albums/...psec2e2cfa.jpg
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 11:52 AM
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Denise,

We too use our American Express for everything so that I can bank points for future travel use. I will most definitely write a review of Hotel Campo di Fiori when we return. They were so lovely when we had to cancel at the last minute last March. It is a little more expensive than we are used to paying for a hotel but we want to stay in the center of Rome and the reviews for the hotel are ridiculously good so we can't wait. Luckily for us we were able to spend last Christmas in Paris so we are not having total Paris withdrawals right now. But, we are adding the last 5 days of the trip to Paris because we just love it that much. We stay in a friend's apartment in the 15th and have grown to love the neighborhood so much.

We are just waiting for Le Comptoir and Reed. We ate at both last Christmas and loved Reed. We have been to Le Comptoir before and we plan to go on every trip from now on. We also like L'os a Moelle. Our friend told us to go there for a treat and it was the best meal of that trip. We were unable to go over Christmas as it was closed for the holidays. The new owner I believe used to be a chef at the Crillon. We also ate at L'Atelier and I have never been more intimidated in my life in a restaurant. We plan to go back now that we have the butterflies worked out!

We did throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain in 2010 also so I guess it works. Come on March!!!!


Lisa
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 01:22 PM
  #117  
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I've spent all this rainy Saturday reading this most wonderful trip report and looking at your pictures! What a treat it's been! We have trouble tearing ourselves away from Paris on our few trips abroad, but you just may have convinced me...it's time to take the Roman plunge. Thanks so much for taking the time (and it took lots of it) to write such completely enjoyable entries, and sharing your trip with us. It was delightful!
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 03:24 PM
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Denise:

Great read! So enjoyed tagging along. Looking forward to meeting for a drink someday...like at Danton...
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 03:59 PM
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Oh, lrock....great Paris restaurant choices! We haven't been to L'os a Moelle but know that gracejoan loves it. L'Atelier is our favorite....no need to be intimidated. If yiu are there try the Bruno Paillard champagne!

OO....we know ya mean and we are missing Paris but Rome is worth a visit, for sure. Thanks for your kind comments!

Weekender....would love to meet anywhere for a drink (sorry Asheville didn't work out) but Le Danton would totally work! You know we love that corner amd Le Danton is a fav! Hope you are well!
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Old Sep 29th, 2012, 04:08 PM
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Irock... did you mean L'Atelier du Joel Robuchon on Montalambert? We twice stayed at the Hotel Pont Royal and twice dined at L'Atelier .. both times it was great fun. If anybody can be intimidated by "fancy" places it is I..... and that was certainly not the case. The first time the waiter even gave me extra mashed potatoes. (If you had them you'll know what I mean!)

Of course, we did have a lot of wine.. -... and said.. price be damned. A bit of a shock when we got home and opened the VISA bill.
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