Rome

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In 2010 I went to Rome for the very first time. I’d been to Italy many times but never Rome. This was the view from my hotel, the Marriott Grand Flora, at the top of Via Veneto.
I was hooked as soon as my feet touched the ground. The smell, the chatter, the atmosphere.
I remember standing on the banks of the Tiber with Castel Sant’angelo behind me, looking across the bridge towards the city, gasping for breath. It was almost too much to take in. I couldn’t even lift my arms to take a photo. I glanced at my husband, who stood next to me, and saw he felt it too.

Rome isn’t just a trip, it’s an experience, its something you feel.

 

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Hooked on Sunsets – Dusk in the Eternal City

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I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Rome. I love everything about it. A trip to Rome feels like visiting an old friend who’s full of surprises. Can’t wait to return.

Sultry Sunset in Rome

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From the top of the Spanish Steps with a band playing below! Perfect!

Getting Lost in Rome

I had to re-blog Elena’s story because it was so entertaining and reminded me of the time I got lost in Rome. It was August 2011 and probably my third night in the city. My husband and I enjoyed a lovely meal in Campo De Fiori, a lovely vibrant, but small square just south of Piazza Navona.

Campo De Fiori

Campo De Fiori

We enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine and watch life the Italian way. Oh how I wish I were there right now. After a lovely leisurely meal I decided I didn’t want to rush back to the hotel, but maybe shop a little and take photos. Knowing my husband didn’t enjoy shopping , I told him I’d meet him back at the hotel. We were staying at the wonderful Hotel Grand Flora, located on Via Vittorio Veneto. The hotel, and the staff were amazing. I will return. 

Hotel Grand Flora - Rome

Hotel Grand Flora – Rome

It was growing dark when he left me. I wandered along the cobbled streets, drinking in the atmosphere. Shopping wasn’t an option as it seemed the little shops in that area closed early, so I took photos, people watched, and got completely LOST! After an hour of walking up and down small streets and alleyways, I got a little perturbed. Why couldn’t I find my way. It was a beautiful city, but I was tired and wanted to continue my sightseeing in daylight. As I walked along a street lined with Government buildings I was relieved to see the Polizia in their lovely Alfa Romeo parked at the side of the road.

Polizia

Polizia

Photography is my hobby, but I didn’t want to risk upsetting these guys, especially as I wanted their help, so I borrowed this photo from Google. It was much darker in my adventure. I do know a little Italian, but it escaped my brain when I most needed it. “Excuse me, I’m lost,” I said “I’m looking for Hotel Grand Flora on Via Vittorio Veneto.”

“Oh lady you are really lost, but I tell you how to get there.” I wish I could have recorded the directions, they were priceless. He would say walk to ….some road  which I couldn’t understand, and then he would clap his hands and say “Stop! Turn right,” and so it went on. Well obviously the well-meant directions didn’t work for me. A little further along the road, I stopped some people and asked them for directions. They were German tourists! Eventually I found my way back to the hotel, it really wasn’t far, I’d just been walking in circles. I didn’t even make it to my room, just sat at a table on the sidewalk and ordered a glass of wine. You thought this story was over didn’t you!!!! WRONG!

Funny Polizia
Funny Polizia

The following day I was wandering around, the way us tourists do, snapping photos and generally enjoying myself. I was on the lovely notorious street Via Dei Condotti when I spied a Alfa Romeo coming towards me. Owned one once, love them, and am very jealous that the Italian Police get to use them every day. You guessed it, I stepped into the middle of the road and snapped the above photo. The car pulled up next to me. Damn, I’m in trouble for taking his photo, I thought to myself. He rolled down his window looked me in the eye and said,

“Hey Lady, You still Lost?”

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I laughed long and hard as I watched him drive away with a big smile on his face. I think I’d made his day! He certainly made mine.

I love to travel, take photos and I love to write.

My first full length novel is now available on amazon. The e-book should be there tomorrow. The book is about a young British Army wife and her adventures in Germany. Give it a try.

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Roaming Over

The Views

 

It may be a holiday weekend, but this weekend marks the end of my four weeks break from work. All good things have to come to and end eventually. Before I get back to the crazy world of work I thought I would post a couple more photos from my Roman Vacation for your (and my) pleasure.  

The Fountains and Piazzas

 

This is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited. I took five hundred photographs whilst in Rome. I couldn’t stop snapping everyone and everything.  

Don't know why I love this photo - I just do!

 

One thing I will say for those of you anticipating a visit…..comfortable shoes, preferably ‘worn in’ tennis shoes – with cotton socks.  

  

 And then there was Pompeii and Sorrento!  

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Pompeii

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
    The Transport! 

Wish this was my ride!

 

And finally the characters!

Sleepy Siesta

 

Good Food and Entertaining Waiters

Rome has become my new favorite City. I am so glad we went and I am sure we will go back. The photo’s do not do it justice. I will sip a glass of Italian wine tonight and pretend I am still there. I hope you liked my tribute to the beautiful city of Rome. It exceeded my expectations in so many ways!  

Final Blog from Roma

We just had breakfast for the last time in the wonderful Marriott Grand Flora in Rome. I will do another blog next week, which I will dedicate to this hotel, showing more photos.

Our cases are packed and we are ready to go. Shortly we will pay the final bill and get a taxi to our final hotel in Fumicino, which I believe is a forty five minute drive. The cab rides here are so much fun. The roads are a free for all and the cab drivers think they are in some sort of grand prix. It’s exciting.

Lester will be sad to leave, he has been able to talk football with the Italian waiters, not just Italian football, but Arsenal and Newcastle too!

I think we will be back here as soon as we can afford it.

Enjoy the photo below of some of the staff that made our stay so much fun.

Goodbye, Ciao Bella, Roma

Even my Ipad doesn’t want to leave Rome! I just sent my blog and it completely disappeared into cyberspace, even my IT Genius of a husband couldn’t find it……OH well.

Today we re-visited all of our favorite places in Rome. Campo Di Fiori, The Spanish Steps and of course Via Condotti. We went inside Cafe Greco (which opened in 1760), but none of the pastries took our fancy, so we crossed the road to the perfume store and made a couple of purchases. The lady serving us was very giggly and very eager to please, she must have brought us every fragrance In the store. It turns out she thought Lester was Denzel Washington. We laughed about that for quite a while. We were definitely treated like movie stars though.

We wandered around for a while, saying goodbye to all our favorite landmarks, taking our last photos, and wishing our vacation was just beginning and not just ending.

We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at a little wine bar just off Campo Di Fiori and had a delicious feast of anchovies soaked In orange flavored olive oil, with ciabatta bread and French butter. Lester washed his down with a glass of Moscato D’Asti and I had a couple of glasses of prosecco. After desserts of home made peach tart with home made ice cream and shortbread with warm chocolate sauce, we were well fed and ready to head back to the hotel for the last time 😦

We sat outside the hotel and watched the Ferrari’s, Maserati’s and Ducati’s speed by and toasted them as they went, with Frascati and Peroni Grand Reserve.

Now it’s almost time to go to bed. Tomorrow we are staying In another hotel close to the airport, hopefully it is close enough to the beach that I can at least get my toes wet and enjoy my last night (for 2010 at least) in Italy.

I LOVE this place.

Last couple of days n Roma

It is early evening and I couldn’t walk any more even if I wanted to. We had a late breakfast this morning and then set off on a walking/shopping trip. We are pretty familiar with the city now so don’t need to check the map quite so often. We headed down towards the Trastevere district, stopping off on the way to buy some more tracky bottoms for Lester, oh and some more socks, apparently the ones I bought him a couple of days ago were so good he wanted more. We stopped off for coffee and cold drinks in a little sidewalk cafe and amused ourselves watching four German women turn up on bicycles in a flurry of chatter and chaos. They then proceeded to order beer and wine…..hope they could still handle their bikes.

My camera was like an extension of my hand as usual. Glad Lester is so patient as he had to keep stopping and coming back to find me.

We headed towards a wine shop where we tasted and purchased some Italian wine. A couple bottles of dessert wine and some local Dry wine.

Then back to the hotel and a shower. You need to shower and change at least twice a day here, it is so hot.

Now it is almost six o clock, we shared a salad and pizza, drank a couple of beers, and I have an ice cold Frascati in front of me. I could not walk another inch. I am too relaxed to move (also my feet are screaming stop). This place is fantastic, but it certainly wears you out, the temperature even now is around ninety degrees, and the humidity is off the scale.

Wish we could come every year. I need to continue writing, sell some books and make my fortune so I can retire here………a girl can dream right?

Oh and by the way…….forget the Ducati, I am buying myself a scooter to ride to work in the summer, can’t wait. Used to ride them in my teens and seeing them all here made me realize just how much I miss them.

It is now 7:00 pm and we are still sitting outside our hotel . Lester is reading and I am watching the world go by. Can’t read at ten top of Via Veneto, too much going on, even on a Monday. Scooters and motorcycles are speeding by, there is an old, but immaculate Ferrari Dino parked across the road. All the lights from the various restaurants are coming on as dusk sets in. I am going to miss this!

Excellent dinner at Chinappi – Roma

We wandered the streets a little today, there is always something more to see. Every side street has a hidden treat that is just waiting for someone like me to come and make a photo. We were still a little tired from our long day yesterday so we actually came back to the room and had a siesta….well I did, Lester watched football.

Rome was actually the hottest it has been since we got here (and I thought it couldn’t get any hotter). Imagine Mexico in July and add ten degrees with lots and lots of humidity. Even though I have indulged in lots of pasta, pizza and gelato, I have lost weight due to the heat.

Tonight we are going to a sea food restaurant that was recommended to us by the concierge. It is a little off the beaten track and doesn’t open until 7:30 so I am blogging my draft now and will attach photos tonight or tomorrow morning.

Getting sad, only two more full days In Roma and then we move to another hotel (in Fumicino) and next to then airport in preparation for our departure on Thursday 😦

About to retire for the night. Dinner was excellent, we went to a restaurant called Chinappi, which was a family run seafood restaurant recommended by the concierge. We ate everything that was recommended by Stefano, who owns the place and it was delicious, by far the best food we have eaten. The service was warm and friendly and everything was freshly cooked. We eat lots of small courses (Italian style). The most memorable being the Sea Bass in a tomato sauce and the tiramisu, which I am not normally a big fan of. This tiramisu was to die for. Everything we ate was delicious, beautifully presented and fresh. If you are in Rome, I recommend you go out of your way to eat here.

Photos below of someone trying to sleep in the hot midday sun in Piazza Spagna, Police car on Via Dei Condotti, and a very satisfied customer (me) outside Chinappi.

The website is Chinappi

Pompeii and Sorrento

Wow what a day. It started with an early breakfast. We picked up our Fiat Punto just before nine and headed for Pompeii. The actual town if Pompeii is a little seedy. Before we got to the official parking place, we were stopped and directed into a restaurant parking lot where they told us we could park for ten dollars, or five dollars if we ate there. What the heck, we parked there anyway. Pompeii (the ruins) was much bigger and better than I expected. So sad at the loss of life with the sudden eruption of Vesuvius. There were cooking pots still sitting on stoves. It was well worth the visit. Loved it! After the visit we had a drink in the restaurant, got fifty percent off our parking and drove to Sorrento. My mum always wanted to visit Sorrento (and Rome), so I hope she was watching me.

The Amalfi drive was fabulous! Malibu and the Pacific coast do not even compare. We parked in Sorrento and wandered around like lost tourists, ending up in the grounds of a Villa. The owner of this Villa was called Andrea and was extremely friendly(and very handsome) and helpful. I will attach photos taken from his wonderful villa overlooking the mediterranean. I will also add his website as he rents out vacation apartments. Andrea gave us a ride down to the beach and restaurants, such a nice guy. We are thinking that next year we may spend ten days (or so) in one of his apartments in Sorrento instead of our planned visit to England. England is so cold and boring.

We had a late lunch on the pier with glass floor tiles, which was a little unsettling as we could see the water and the fish below us. After sharing a pizza we walked back up the steep steps to the town and sat in another cafe where we had an ice cream. Yes we have eaten a great deal of Italian ice cream and enjoyed every single one. We may have to stay here forever, just for the ice cream.

Now I am sitting outside our lovely hotel on Via Veneto, it is almost ten o clock and still about ninety degrees. Lester had a couple of beers and then went upstairs to watch football. I am about to have a glass of frascati before retiring, I just love vacations, especially in Italy.

Only three more days left in Roma, how can the time have passes so quickly?

I have attached a photos taken from Andrea’s fabulous villa in Sorrento and a photo of Pompeii. When I post his blog tomorrow, I will also enclose Andrea’s website info.

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