When in Rome...

Trip Start Mar 28, 2010
Trip End Jun 30, 2010

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Where I stayed
Mr. Fausto's Apartment, 3 blocks from St. Peter's Square

Flag of Italy  , Latium,
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Day 1:

I awoke this morning with thoughts racing through my head as if a narrator was setting up the beginning of story line by quickly detailing the past 24 hours. So I get up, and think I'll quickly run to the bathroom and slip back into my warm bed and go back to sleep, after all, I have only had 4 hours sleep tonight and probably only 2 or 3 hours sleep in the past 24.  But, this narrator won’t stop talking, so that means we are once again on an adventure and I must start journaling.  I am fearful of plugging my computer into anything yet because although I think I have the right electrical device I am not willing to risk my laptop to find out, so today’s entry will be short.

Our trip over to Rome was mostly uneventful.  We survived the British Airways Cabin Crew strike and arrived safely at our destination only a couple of hours later than originally planned; but once we arrived, it was like a comic Italian opera.  It was the first time we had been in a 777 and they had 2 separate exits that took people 2 different ways out to the concourse.  So yes, we were immediately separated and then spent the next 30 minutes trying to find each other and our way down to luggage, but we eventually found everyone at baggage and then it was onto customs.  It only took us a few minutes to figure out what was required for non-residents to go through customs, with only a few nasty looks or comments from some of the EU residents.

After we had our passports stamped, we went looking for our driver.  In very quick order, we found our driver, who was holding up a sign with Hellene written upon it, and then walked us to our small 4 door, sedan car.  We spent the next 10 minutes trying to figure out how we were going to get all of our luggage and us into the car, so we stuffed most of the luggage into the trunk, and then folded ourselves into the car, with smaller luggage sitting on our laps.  After a 40-minute drive from the airport, we were dropped off at our Rome apartment where the landlord was standing outside in the street waiting to greet us.  40 – 60 minutes later, we had finally managed to pay our rent, get directions to many of the local hot spots, where the local grocery store are located, learned all of the secret information on how the apartment worked, and then were officially handed 2 sets of keys to the apartment, with the promise from the landlord that he would return at 11am tomorrow morning with a cell phone and the computing key so we can access the internet.

By that time, having eaten very little since 4pm the day before, we were all very hungry and tired.  Lucky for us, the closest restaurant is directly below our apartment so down we went to eat and toast our arrival.  Whether the food and wine was excellent because it was all fresh and absolutely wonderful, or it was because we were so very hungry doesn’t matter because we ate until we were full and split a bottle of wine and in the end we were all smiles and ready to walk and find the Basilica, which we can see and is only a couple of blocks from where we are staying.  Ahhh, being that we were tired, cold, and slightly tipsy, we decided that maybe trying to find the Basilica at 10:30 at night wasn’t such a good idea, so we turned around and went home to take a hot bath, unpack and go to bed, which is where I started today’s entry. 

I don’t know how I feel about drinking the tap water here in Rome but I brought a French press with me and there is an old-fashioned espresso machine, just like you use to use Oti when I first met you, so we are good once I get to the grocery store and buy some bottle water and coffee beans.  So, while everyone is still sleeping, I am sitting here in the kitchen enjoying the sun and my first views of Rome.

Day 2:

This morning I woke up early again and heard this strange noise.  Now I know that laundry is washed first thing in the morning and then hung out the window to dry.  Also, we live above a restaurant, so I had to listen really hard to see if I could really discover what it was that I was hearing.  But it wasn’t an over-filled washing machine and it wasn’t something coming up from the restaurant, but the local doves that have decided to nest inside our attic cooing and singing how wonderful it was to be living and flying around Rome… It must be great to be a Roman dove

Today we discovered what it’s like to take a shower in Rome.  The key is to be the first because after the first 5 minutes there is no more hot water for at least 2 hours.  So it’s, turn on the water and wet down, turn off the water, wash your hair & body, turn the water back on and rinse off, turn the water off and find your towel.  Burrrrrr.  Oh, I forgot to say that the heating in a Rome apartment is….not so drafty and nice if you are under the covers.

Day 3:

This morning, we braved the world of an Italian supermarket, and spent several hours learning how to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, (use plastic gloves, weigh & price them there in the vegetable department…and no, if tomatoes are coded as 47, you do not push the 4 and the 7, but push the 47 button)… Reading & re-reading all of the labels to see if we could discover which item was what actually wanted, and discovering where we could find all of the different things like oil & vinegar.  AND THEN there’s the whole conversation with the butcher or baker in the store, trying to figure our how we can ask for "THAT" and we want 10 slices.  Oh this is going to be even more fun when we get to Santa Fiora and they speak even less English. 

OK, we have walked until my feet have lost all feelings and my legs can hardly lift another inch.  We visited the Vatican Museum, the coliseum, & Palatine Hill.  

Take NOTE people: If you are going to visit the Vatican Museum, pay the extra bit it costs and go on the earilest tour that starts at 9 am.  Now that means you will need to meet your tour guide about 8:20 or so, but it's so worth it!  They walk you immediately into the Sistine Chapel and it's virtually empty.  I think there were about 15 - 20 people when we were in there, then they take you through the museum and bring you back to the Sistine chaple and allow you to spend all the time you want.  However, by that time it's so crowded that you can't move, or really see the artwork.  TRUST me on this, the line was out the door, around the side, and down the block to get into the museum and the museum itself was full to capacity.  SO WORTH THE EXTRA Euro's!!!   

All I have to say is OH MY GOODNESS my goodness Rome is so really interesting and rich in history.  We have taken lots, (hundreds?) of pictures and must now find time to cull through them and try to only keep hundred pictures of what we have seen… very hard as we haven’t even finished seeing EVERYTHING yet.  But it has completely blown my mind that there are buildings that have been here prior to Nero’s time.  Can you even imagine what Rome would look like without all of the building, houses, trains, buses & cars, without anything between you and the beautiful 7 hills?

Day 5:

Today we will visit Piazza Navona, Pantheon, the Spanish Steps and enjoyed a visit with my Nephew Logan who is going to college, in Florence Italy, for a semester.  It should be a long but wonderful day and I am excited that we will be able to hook up again when we visit Florence, later on!

We had a wonderful surprise today.  Hazel Jean’s Niece, Melanie and her boyfriend Adam join up with us today as well.  So there we all are, the 7 of us, running around Rome, enjoying the nightlife!  We found out that after working really hard Melanie and Adam took off to travel around the US and Europe, for a year, before Melanie goes back to attend Medical school and Adams begins his post-graduation working life.   Unfortunately, the year is almost up and we have only been successful in talking then into joining us for about a week.

Day 7:

It’s Easter Sunday, and although the sky looks threatening, we are positive that it won’t rain until after the Pope says Easter mass.

Oh my, if you EVER get to Rome, you should try to come when the Pope says mass outside St. Peter’s Square, because it was truly amazing.  There were literally hundreds of people, and the choir was singing so beautifully… AMAZING!   And then the rains came and drenched us.  It truly was a cleansing of the heart, soul and mind. 

After mass, we decided to have a quiet day, rest up & cook up something interesting and add wine, pack and get ready for the next phase of our Italian adventure.

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Pilla on

Great blog start, Rosemary. Staying in an apartment and shopping for food adds authenticity and adventure - great idea! I just love the ancient Roman ruins.

Katherine on

Love it. You have done a wonderful job!

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