Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are we old yet? Day 2 in Rome

Quick!  What is, "We are stiff and sore today, but we kept going because we are in Rome" in Italian?  I think I need to know that phrase to explain why two old cripples are hobbling down the street to the locals.  Today was a harder day, because our old bones were aching.  But, dear reader, we needed to persevere just for you.  What kind of blog entry would "We sat on our fannies all day" be?

Last night after we finished the blog, Jerry had 2 restaurants for us to check out in the neighborhood.  Now it is important to clarify that "in the neighborhood" is within 10 blocks of here....You get me...more walking.  We took off from the hotel about 9:15 (everyone eats late here) and walked down to a spot 5 or 6 blocks away called the Trattoria Monti.  Small, packed, no English being spoken, but the waiter understood that we wanted to eat and told us to come back at 10:00.  So, being the sort that always do what we are told, we took another walk around the neighborhood for another half hour, and came back.  Boy are we glad we did.  What a delightful place.  Family run, sons were the waiters, the mama was in the back cooking.  Everything was great!  Here are a few pictures that I snuck (I have to keep my readers happy!)  In case you haven't figured this out, if you click on the picture it gets bigger.

 Doesn't look like much does it?
 Antipasta:  Fried zucchini flowers, olives, sausage...Yum
 My Ravioli - Stuffed with potatoes, prosciutto, chives, and garlic!
 Jerry's Rigatoni:  prosciutto, garlic, butter, and pecaroni cheese

 Dessert - Apple tart with Zabilonni cream
Looking towards the kitchen

We got back to the hotel at 12:00 and slept like babies.  Set an alarm today and got up at 8:30 to make breakfast before we needed to be at the Borghese Gallery at 11:00.  We had purchased a bus schedule and map yesterday at the tobacco shop (they sell everything) and Jerry had the route planned.  Last year we had taken a cab, but this time it was free with our bus/Metro pass.  The Borghese is outside of the Roman City walls and sits on a beautiful, now, park, which used to be the Borghese family "garden".  The day was  barely warm (like 58), but the walk through the park was delightful, and then we came to the Gallery.

 Hey Bobbi, It's spring here!
 Lemon trees
 Orange trees!

 These flat topped trees are everywhere!

 The goddess Diana

The gallery has a magnificient art collection including great sculpture by Bernini.  Here are a few.

 Enea e Anchise - Son carrying father
 Bernini's "David"  Look at his determined face
 Apollo and Daphene - She is turning into a tree before he gets her
 Pluto and Prosperpia - Look at his hands in her flesh on the leg.
 La Verita

According to the map and "Mr. Geography" the Borghese bordered on the south by the Spanish steps.  A tourist destination for sure, but one we needed to see.  So we walked, and walked, and tried this way and that and finally about 2:30 we got there.  Fortunately, it was a lovely day and the gardens were quiet and peaceful.  Not so the Spanish Steps.

People, people everywhere

 I bought a watercolor
 The walking wounded resting up
We had a slice of pizza (fabulous) and shared a coke at this little hole in the wall, but it was good and clean.  You know, I am such a food snob, but this was really good.

We were tired, so we decided to head back to Termini station and find a bus that would cross the whole city.  Bus 40 was just the ticket, so we jumped on and rode to the Vatican stop (we go there tomorrow so we didn't stop)  Saw all kinds of press there:

waiting, we found out later, for the Pope to take off in his Pope helicopter.  We rode bus 40 back to Termini and arrived at 5:00.  When all of a sudden, every church bell in Rome, and there are a lot of them let me tell you, went off.  It was crazy.  They were saying goodbye to "Papa" (the pope)  So I guess when I am old and gray (wait, I already am) I can say we were in Rome when the Pope left.  

Well that's all for now.  Hope you are enjoying reading about our travels.  Tomorrow is the Vatican museum (huge) Sistine Chapel (little but beautiful) and St, Peter's.  Jerry is NOT wearing black tomorrow in case someone thinks he is a priest.  Arrivederchi!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Buon giorno - Rome day 1

Buon giorno from beautiful Roma!  We arrived by plane from Paris about 4 PM. Boy were we tired!  We had been traveling for about 20 hours!  Our luggage was with us (something Jerry always worries about) and after collecting it, we found our way to the train station at the airport to take the train (The Leonardo Express)  into town.  The airport is 20 miles from Rome so the train is the way to go.  It costs 15 Euro each to ride it, and it delivered us to the Termini Station which is only about 5-6 blocks from our hotel.

Off we go from C.R. - 2 bags and a carry-on

Jerry, dead in the water!

The train

Our hotel is the Hotel Verona, which is where we stayed the last time we were here in Rome in 2011. It is small and central but nothing fancy.  We dropped our bags and we had a rest for an hour or so.  Then we went to a neighborhood joint called La Mela D'Oro and each had a pasta dish  and a glass of wine.  Back to the room and the swimming pool sized bathtub (really, you could swim laps in it) and bed.  

We knew we were tired, but didn't realize how tired.  Went to bed about 10 and woke up at 11:00 AM!!!  So much for jet lag prevention.  Anyway, obviously missed breakfast at the hotel.  We walked up to the Termini and spent 45 minutes trying to buy subway and bus tickets.  Finally, a lovely man (and I mean lovely) told us how to do it, and we were on our way on the subway!  The subway operates here just like other big cities.  Find the line, find the end point to what direction you want to go and get on that train.
 Security is everywhere.  Lots of big shots in town.

  We rode to see the Trevi fountain first and then walked and walked and walked.  Around every corner was something beautiful. Here are just a few of the sights we saw today (We took 141 pictures so I won't bore you with them all).   The Trevi Fountain is the one from the movies, and if you throw a coin into it over your shoulder you are guaranteed to come back to Rome.  So we did!

Just by walking up streets and down, and being snoopy we saw some amazing sights.  It is cool but not cold, so walking felt good with a fleece.  We went into 3 churches and what a sight!

 Church given to the pope from King of France

Inlaid Marble Pillars!  And Doug can't afford a granite countertop?
Cathedral de St. Andrea Della Valle

Bernini Relief
 Copy in bronze of Michelangelo's Pieta
Next to St. Peter's, the largest dome in Rome

Then, when I thought I was going to drop (we still haven't eaten anything) we find the Pantheon which was built in 150 AD by Hadrian and is still in use now as a Christian Church.  Next to it was a shop like a deli, and we got a sausage sandwich and an almond tart that we split.  Ate on the steps of the Pantheon before we went in.

What a picnic!
The Pantheon which in Roman times was to worship all gods
 Pillars imported from Egypt (probably stolen from Egypt)
141 feet high and 141 feet across.

 Largest dome ever designed until the 20th century

The front pillars were too short when imported from Egypt so the front is 10 meters shorter than the dome.

And we walked, and we walked, and we walked.  This is the day of the last Papal audience so there are literally thousands of clergy and nuns in town.  All dressed up.

 The cobbled streets (everywhere) and Jerry's ugly black shoes
 typical street.
 Man selling roasted chestnuts.
 A pasta shop.  Look at all that pasta!
 National building of some sort.
 Pope John Paul statue
Painting on an otherwise ordinary building.

We are back to the hotel now.  Jerry is looking at maps and books about where we were and I am writing to you.  We will go out to dinner soon and then crash again.  Tomorrow we have tickets for the Borghese Gallery Museum, which is one of our favorite art places.  More later. Thanks for following!  Ciao!