Monday, December 31, 2012

Ciao Roma! ... The first day


My first stop, on my recent Italian adventure, was Rome, my favorite city. I planned, I made lists, (what to pack, what to do, apps to download) and tried to be prepared for anything. 


Of course, you can never quite be prepared for airplane food. 


I flew Lufthansa from LAX to Frankfurt, then Frankfurt to Rome. For my flight into Rome it was easy to spot which gate my plane would be leaving from. There were at least 15 nuns sitting with their carry on bags, awaiting the flight. 


On the first flight (12 hours? I can't remember) I couldn't really sleep. I got maybe an hour of sleep, which was about enough time to get a neck ache. The second flight I ate my little Lufthansa snack (above) of smoked salmon and potato salad (so German and so well organized!) Somehow, thank the Lord, there were two empty seats next to me, so I threw my coat over my head, comforted in the knowledge of flying with many a nun on board, and passed out for the hour and a half flight.

I love traveling, but flying? Not so much. Although, I do love seeing that first glimpse of a place I am about to visit. Italy had been having a lot of rain (understatement) so it was very, very green. I had been checking my weather channel app for two weeks prior to my trip, so I knew what weather I was in for.


Fortunately, the rain subsided for the time it took me to haul my luggage out of the metro and up the street to my little pensione "Golden Rooms." It's not really a hotel, and there's no real lobby. There is a space for a desk, with a computer and things like extra towels and t.p., carved out of a hallway, which happened to be next to my little room on the 5th floor. 

In Italy, it was considered the 3rd floor because they didn't count the 1st floor of shops or the next floor which is 0. Yes, there was a skinny little lift that went from the 2nd floor ... or actually floor 0, (make sense?) so that was great for the luggage, and later my tired feet! 

Anyway ... I had a cute little terrace, just deep enough to stand on, but it made the place feel much bigger. I will show the rest of the room later, but the location was fantastic and only a few blocks east of the Spanish Steps.


It took a while to get settled because my credit card wouldn't work. Yep, I'd called to tell them where I was going before I left but after 3 or 4 tries (you pay at the beginning of your stay at this little joint) I had to make a 20 minute call to Visa (at 99 cent a minute) to take care of it. Finally, I got "Try splitting the amount in two." It worked.   ??? By the end of the Visa hitch, the guy running the desk was asking me if I like red wine and would like to join him to drink some. No thanks, I already had other plans. I did, I'm not making that up.

After settling in, I took a cab to meet a friend of a friend, Michele, for a dinner, at a cute little place in Monti. (basically, south of where I was staying) She's an American who's been living in Rome for a year, doing 3 different jobs, one of them teaching English but more on that later.

On the way home I realized how close I was to the Metro stop in Monti and took it. Much cheaper than a cab obviously, and that would end up being my main transportation in Rome, other than my feet! The Metro only has two lines which means it's very easy to figure out, but that also means also that it doesn't go everywhere. Thus, the walking. Great, not only for getting around, but for working off copious amounts of pasta and other foods of the white flower variety!


The closest Metro stops to Golden Rooms, were Piazza Barberini and Piazza di Spagna. I used Barberini, and here is the piazza, below. As you can see with the scaffolding, Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Fontana di Tritone, (1642-45) has been having a bit of a facelift. 


Up the street to the hotel ...



I fell in love with these little black patent leather shoes the first night, then had to walk by them every day! The 139 Euro price tag was a bit out of reach, but I had a lot of fun window shopping.


This window was a fun display of all sorts of goodies! Can you imagine taking one of those busts home?!


Though the rain was pretty constant on my visit to Rome, it sure made for pretty cobblestone photos! I'm not sure why the rain and thunder seemed so loud at night, but one Roman told me she thought it was all the hollow spaces of ancient Rome, under the present city, echoing. Kind of creepy but very very cool.



Buon Giorno Roma!!! Time to start my first full day!


Because there was no restaurant or kitchen at my little place, they give you vouchers for an Italian breakfast up the street. That's my building (below) and my room was on the right side, on the level where you see the more detailed wrought iron terrace.




Heading up Via Francesco Crispi ... 
There was a cute little market with meats, cheeses, wine, juice etc. where I picked some things up to keep in my little fridge. Very handy.




The little Cafe I where I ate, for my 9 mornings in Rome.


My first Italian style breakfast of Cappuccino, juice and brioche. 



The men who worked there where pretty nice but like teenagers everywhere, the girl who worked there didn't crack a smile until my last morning in Rome!


There were regulars I saw in there almost every day, as I sat people watching. The man I bought my sliced meat from, a few doors down at the market, would recognize me and said hello ... I miss it. And I miss having someone make me cappuccino in the morning! (Who wouldn't though, right?) 

Ah well, such is traveling. Experiencing another world and another way of living. Of course, if I'd been a local I would have stood at the counter and downed my espresso with a chaser of sparkling water, not sat at a table writing my postcards and jotting down my experiences in my travel diary! 

My first day, I went to three churches that were in my art history book, saw another famous piazza and basilica, and went to a huge Vermeer and Dutch Masters exhibit at the Scuderie Quirinale. But, that will have to wait for my next post.  Until then ...

Happy New Year!!!!!

The standard of success in life isn't the things.
It isn't the money or the stuff.
It is absolutely the amount of joy that you feel.
~Abraham


Can't wait to come around and see what you all have been up to!
Blessings and light and much joy for the next 365!

7 comments:

donna baker said...

Lucinda, I am so proud of you. You did all the things I always plan to do. I research for months, plan and plan, then forget to look at my tear sheets and lists and forget all the things I planned. And writing and drawing in my journal? I forget. I do have to tell you Rome and Paris are my favorite cities. I do hope to return there someday with my family. Can't wait for more posts. Have a wonderful new year too.

Candy said...

Happy New Year, Lucinda! Wow! I can't wait to hear more about your trip. Did you practice your Italian? The place you stayed looks charming.

Kerry O'Gorman said...

ciao bella! Sounds like the trip is off to a good start! I know you are already home but it's fun to go on this virtual tour with you...Happy New Year to you...much health, love and light for the coming year.

LE CHEMIN DES GRANDS JARDINS said...

Bonjour, amie et belle année à vous.Avec tous mes vœux d'amitié.

Roger

Marisa said...

Fab photos. You have really captured the feel of the place. I feel like throwing my bag in a cab and heading for the airport right now!

Cobalt Violet said...

Thanks for the comments! So appreciated and I get to relive it all with you so thank you!!!

Cristina said...

Anche questa serie è molto bella con più parti di Roma....mi piace molto anche la foto dall'aereo in cui si vede l'ala e il paesaggio verde. complimenti! ciao Cri : )