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We Survived Rome Without A Money Belt! Our Week in Rome.

We Survived Rome Without A Money Belt! Our Week in Rome.

Apr 21st, 2007, 04:07 PM
  #1  
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We Survived Rome Without A Money Belt! Our Week in Rome.

This was our first trip to Italy. My partner Martin and I thought that a trip to Rome would be a good way to begin our travels to Italy. We spent 7 full days sightseeing in Rome. Prior to this trip I thought that we'd take a day trip to Orvieto or Ostia or maybe even Florence, but once we got there, we never even once seriously thought of leaving the city. We got sucked in, which was fine with us.

We brought the Michelin Map of Rome with us, which we used sometimes to map out our day, but used the Streetwise Rome foldout map as our guide map once we went out walking and exploring for the day.

For guidebooks I brought Fodors See It Rome, Eyewitness Top Ten Rome and Rick Steves Rome. The Fodors and Eyewitness books were the most useful, however the Rick Steves book did come in handy.

As referenced in the title, we chose not wear money belts, which turned out to be the right decision for us. We each had a small/slim wallet in our front pants pocket with a small amount of cash. One of us carried a credit card. We each brought a small "travel purse" with a shoulder strap. We only brought one out with us each day and we'd take turns wearing it. We kept guidebooks, maps and restaurant contact information in it. This system seemed to work well for us.

Before the trip I was a little freaked out by all the stories of roving bands of gypsies and pickpockets. Well, maybe it was the time of year, the considerable police presence or maybe we didn't look like easy marks, but we saw no roving bands of gypsies and never once had any security problems. I felt very safe in Rome. One day as we were going somewhere I saw a man wearing his money belt outside his clothing! We had a good laugh at that. Poor guy.

We flew United Economy Plus from San Jose to IAD then overnight to Rome. The extra 5 iches of legroom you get in EP was very welcome. We arrived at 9am on the Tuesday after Easter Monday. Arriving this early meant that we had almost a whole full day to start seeing the Eternal City. The flights were fine. We each popped a 12mg Ambien CR on the flight from IAD to Rome and slept almost the entire 8.5 hour flight. I highly recommend this. We ate a big meal before boarding and we snacked on some things that we brought on board with us once we woke up.

I had made arrangements to be picked up by Rome Cabs ( www.romecabs.com ). Once at the arrivals area, Martin went to get some cash ( there are some bancomats to the right, the one to the left was broken ) while I waited for our driver. She appeared after a few minutes and drove us to our apartment in Rome. The drive in was a blur, but I do remember seeing the Colosseo whizz by.

more later...

iamq is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Hey Bill, we probably passed each other in the busy streets! We've just returned as well.

Sure is easy to "get sucked in" as you say. So much to see and do.

I'll be sure to stay tuned. Thanks!
kopp is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 04:58 PM
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Glad you had a great trip with no problems.

Even more glad to have the "roving bands" theory debunked. Sheesh! Where do these rumors originate?
StCirq is online now  
Apr 21st, 2007, 05:11 PM
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Hi Bill, I have been anxiously waiting for the start of your trip report. No shock on my part that you felt comfortable and safe in Rome. I so look forward to reading the next installment of your beautiful time in Rome..inclucing your enjoyment of the food!
LoveItaly is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 05:54 PM
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Bill, I can't wait to read more! Money belt worn on the outside . God bless 'em!
Dayle is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 06:01 PM
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more! I loved your title!!!!!!
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Apr 21st, 2007, 09:04 PM
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Much is written here about what shoes to wear or not wear, so I thought I would mention what I wore. I am ashamed to admit that I brought only one pair of shoes with me. I brought along a pair of black Naot loafers and Martin wore his black Clarks clod hoppers. We each packed a 21" carry-on, so space was at a premium. The Naots are excellent walking shoes and this model has great arch support. They were perfect. Martin is a runner and once we were there and he saw people jogging along the Tiber, through the Borghese Gardens and other places he wished he had brought his running shoes with him. Next time!

While I'm on shoes, I should mention that we walked EVERYWHERE, so good shoes were important. We never took the bus or the metro or even a taxi. Walking just seemed the natural thing to do. Neither of us wanted to miss a thing. I had read here and elsewhere that Rome is packed with little hidden treasures and we did end up stumbling upon some of our own because we walked so damn much. We walked so much that when I weighed myself after I got home I had acutually lost about a pound! I was expecting to return as Bill, the Blimp after eating as much as I did. I mentioned to someone that this is the kind of weight lose program I could really get to like.

The weather was sunny and warm most everyday! We couldn't have hoped for better weather. We'd watch the morning weather forecast and it appeared that much of Italy was experiencing a bit a warm wave while we were there. Daytime highs ranged from the low to high 70s in Rome. We had thunder storms and rain two afernoons and evenings, which was actually quite refreshing.




iamq is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:11 PM
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Kealalani
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I dont think enough fodorites truly appreciate a good title until they read one!

See you already started out with a lesson! Inspired others to creative thinking about their travel stories!

A most excellent Title and beginning. Cureous, what did you bring to snack on after your drug induced nappie?!! I can picture Marteen packing a gourmet picnic, or maybe a bag of doritos and m&m's?

See you already set the stage for drama and intrigue!!!

 
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:39 PM
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'lani,
Definitely not gourmet! We munched on trail mix from Trader Joe's, Planters Dry Roasted Peanuts and Lays potato chips packed in a canister. Sounds pretty gross now, but at the time it was delicious.

Bill
iamq is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 09:44 PM
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Can't wait to hear more about your trip! Great intro! Melissa
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Apr 21st, 2007, 09:51 PM
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We can't wait for more! My husband and I will be tarveling May 2, for our first trip ever to Italy..staying in Rome. We'll also be seeing our friends who are also traveling at that exact time as well!
How did you find the restaurants? Did you play by ear or take recommendations?
Please continue....
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Apr 21st, 2007, 09:55 PM
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We loved our week in Rome. Looking forward to reading more.

Woody
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Apr 21st, 2007, 10:51 PM
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Well.....now we know where kopp was!! kopp, not sure if you knew, but a bunch of us were wondering where you were since we had not seen your posts in a while.

Bill, I assumed Martin would bring his running shoes! I loved jogging in the Borghese Gardens. More, more! Tell me about the lamb heart!
MelissaHI is offline  
Apr 21st, 2007, 10:55 PM
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Even roving bands of gypsies and pickpockets have conventions. You were lucky they were all partying down hard in Molvania.
NorthShore is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 05:54 AM
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iceeu2
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So far you have only tricked us to click on this thread with your enticing title! You flew, you ate potato chips, you didn't get robbed, you took only 1 pair of shoes.

I know you can do better than this!

Please tell me you got pinched on the buttocks, Woody!

smooches
 
Apr 22nd, 2007, 06:04 AM
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Sammygrll, I did a ton of restaurant research before we went. I ended up with a short list of about 10 places. I brought google maps and contact information for those places with us. I took ekscrunchy's advice and made reservations for most places. I got real good at the phrase, "Vorrei prenotare un tavolo per dui a otto?"

Mels, the reason we walked so much was that Martin wasn"t running! I'm not complaining mind you...wait, maybe I am. I tried to talk him into taking his running things, but...

Let's see...We decided to rent an apartment instead of staying at a hotel. We like staying in vacation rentals when we go other places, so why not Rome? I was a little worried that we would miss the services of a hotel, but we actually really liked the independence and freedom the apartment gave us. It was also fun living like a local (sort of) and being in a neighborhood off the tourist track. We rented through ItalyPerfect and stayed at the La Giulia studio apartment. There are several favorable reviews on slowtrav. It is on via della Barchetta just off via Giulia. It was small, but well equipped, comfortable and location in the historic center was the best! We'd stay there again in a heartbeat. At $1200 for the week, it was also easy on the budget!

Next...raves in Roma!



iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 06:54 AM
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Great report so far! Can't wait to read more, especially the food reports. We leave for Italy (Rome first)in three weeks and I'm still refining my restaurant list so do tell!

We plan to walk everywhere as well so we can really exlore and so we can eat all we want and hopefully have the same results you did!!
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Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Instead of giving a day by day, I think I will organize the rest of the report by RAVES, FOOD and IMPRESSIONS.

RAVES
I just asked Martin what his favorite part of the trip was and he said, "The apartment, the neighborhood where we stayed, the teenie-tiny streets, the little piazzas, and the little fountains." I have to agree. Let me add to that, the little shops, the galleries, the workshops and restaurants that are everywhere. Within a block of our apartment there was an antique woodwork/frame restorer, a book binder, a furniture builder, a violin maker, several antique stores and many galleries. One day I stood in front of the violin makers window and watched him shape the body of a violing by hand. How cool is that?! This part of Rome was one of the most unique places I have ever been too. Living in and wandering and exploring the streets around the historic center and Trastevere was the highpoint of the trip for me.

We took the Antica Roma tour with Context Rome. It visits the Palantine Hill, the Roman Forum and Colosseum. They are normally a 6 person tour, but the other 4 people failed to show up, so we ended up with a private tour! Fantastic! Our guide, Olivia was interesting, funny and often cynical about Rome's history. The perfect guide for us! My favorite part of that tour was walking around the ruins of the Imperial Palace on the Palantine Hill while getting a history lesson. Before going down into the Forum we spent some time at a viewpoint above it and Olivia pointed everything out to us and explained what was what. It was nice getting a bird's eye view introduction before we went down amongst the ruins. We returned to the Forum the following Monday when it was less crowded and spent more time there on our own.

Another rave is the views/viewpoints of Rome. It is such a beautiful place to look down at from places above it. We spent a lot of time gazing at the views from these and other spots. My favorite spots for a view are the terrace on the Pinocio Hill in the Villa Borghese, the back side of the Campidoglio looking out over the Forum and the Palantine Hill, the top of the Palantine Hill looking west, on top of Castel Sant Angelo, the Piazzale Garibaldi on the Giancolo (seeing the hulking ruins of the Baths of Caracalla sticking up from here is what made me want to visit there later in the week), and of course the cupola on top of St. Peter's.
iamq is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 07:50 AM
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hi, iamq,

love the title, looking forward to more.

regards, ann
annhig is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2007, 08:00 AM
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great report! (i've yet to go to rome but i did discover Naot sandals last year and love 'em)
suze is offline  

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