Saturday, January 28, 2017

Rome in October by Margot Justes

The flight from Dulles, DC airport to Paris on Air France was delightful, and thankfully without incident, we left on time and arrived on time, and coffee on board was better than expected. 

The same cannot be said for the Alitalia flight from Paris to Rome, that one was on time for a brief period, by the time we made it to the gate, the delays had started to appear. First it was 15 minutes, and that continued for almost 2 hours. Not an airline I would fly again, unless there were no other options.

It’s a good thing the driver I hired paid attention to the arrivals, and was there when I cleared customs, which was a breeze.

And most importantly all the luggage made it to Rome.

By the time I checked in to the Sofitel, and went upstairs to the lounge for a quick bite to eat, the weather had turned and we had a glorious lightning show across the rooftops of Rome, along thunder and heavy rain thrown in for good measure.  The evening ended without a walk, and by the time I showered it was already 10 pm, and I was ready for bed.

Friday morning I opened the window, and discovered that it was overcast and still raining heavily, but the thunder and lightning had subsided. The breakfast at the hotel was delicious; it started with a cappuccino, then a pot of French press coffee, croissants, baguettes that were moist on the inside with a delicious crust, and the usual prosciutto, assorted cheeses, eggs, sausages, fruit and pastries. The best part, the breakfast was leisurely, and the cappuccinos unlimited. A terrific way to start the morning.

After the satisfying breakfast, I put on my rain coat and headed out to play tourist, Rome is a walking city, and virtually every turn has something to offer. The day improved, after about 20 minutes of walking in the rain, it stopped, the sun came out, and the rest of the day was in the low 70’s and absolutely gorgeous.

The first stop was the Pantheon-it is a must see structure, and not just once. The most preserved, it is truly grand, built in concrete in 120’s AD, and today is stands as originally built. The open 30ft oculus provides light, and when it rains outside, it also rains inside.

Lunch was at a restaurant near the Pantheon, but far enough away from the crowds, and high prices. The calamari was fresh and grilled to perfection, and the gnocchi were homemade and served in a light cheese sauce, and coffee was delicious.

After lunch, I visited a couple churches, some were extravagant, others more humble, there seems to be a church on every corner, then a walk to the Trevi Fountain, didn’t toss a coin, but hopefully I’ll be back, since a long time ago, I did just that. The fountain has been renovated-give more detail. There is something magical about Rome, the beauty and vitality of the city is truly incomparable.

Gelato Valentino was the next stop near the Trevi fountain, the gelato was delicious. Next was a visit to a church that is right across the fountain. Rome was packed with tourists, the security was very apparent, along with police, there  were military man standing alongside their vehicles with machine guns. It seems that at every high traffic tourist spot, the scene was repeated.

I stopped at Piazza Novonna, a marvelous square-describe square-a trio of street musicians were playing Hava Nagila, and Those Were the Days, two of my favorite songs. I stopped and listened, then put a couple of Euros in their viola case, and of course took a picture.

The Spanish Steps beckon every time I visit, they date back to the 18th Century, and at the base as the stairs widen is the ‘boat’ fountain designed by Bernini, and heralding the top of the stairs is-what else-a church, Trinita dei Morti.

By the time I got back to the hotel it was dusk, and I was exhausted, even though there were a couple espresso stops along the way. I bought a pedometer before the trip, and this day, it was over 9 miles, I’m not as young as I used to be, and now come with sound effects.  Too tired to hunt for a restaurant, I headed to the rooftop at the hotel-the view is magnificent, and the food good.

Sunday, after a leisurely breakfast, it was time to head to Civitavecchia and board the ship. The driver was on time, traffic was slow due to slight construction issues, which according to the driver should have been done at night, and not during the day.

The boarding process went smoothly, the cabin was ready, and after the mandatory muster drill, even the luggage was waiting for me. By the time I unpacked, it was time for dinner. I must say the food on this ship is amazingly good, well prepared, seasoned and fresh.

I kept up with the blogs while travelling, and have many pictures. It took a while to get everything in order after being gone for two months, and then of course the holidays, and road trips.

Happy travels, wherever they may take you.

Margot  Justes
Blood Art
A Fire Within
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
A Hotel in Venice