Paradise an hour from Rome – Anguillara Sabazia

After dropping my daughter and son-in-law of at Fiumicino today (sad) we took a trip to Anguillara Sabazia, a small town just an hours drive from Rome. It was a pleasant surprise and a trip well worth making. I believe we were the only tourists in town. Lake Bracciano is a beautiful volcanic lake with black sands full of sun worshipers, all Italian. I think my husband and I were the only tourists in town. We had a delicious meal at Bistro 14, which overlooked the lake. Seafood of course! We then walked/climbed the narrow, cobbled ancient streets. Every corner revealed a new and beautiful view. I may have worn out my camera, and maybe sweated a few pints…..it was 35 degrees centigrade, but it was worth it.

DSC03482

DSC03508

Roma Marriott Grand Flora Hotel. Upgraded to a Category 9 – Feels like a downgrade to me!

Five years ago we stayed in the Marriott Grand Flora Roma. It was a fantastic experience. The staff were always attentive and the service impeccable. We couldn’t wait to return!

We’re here again for the second time in the last two weeks and I’m sorry to say the upgrade to a category 9 is unwarranted. The service is so slow you have to chase someone up to get a drink. Tonight they were out of Peroni Grand Riserva and Craft Beer. I didn’t even get as far as ordering my Pimms!

This hotel is still beautiful, an old building at the top of Via Vittorio Veneto. It looks grand with its doorman and valet waiting to greet you. The lobby is fantastic, the roof top restaurant breath-taking, but the service (which used to get a ten out of ten) barely scrapes through with a five. Such a shame!

Grand Flora

Champagne and the Spanish Steps

DSC03028Tonight we celebrated my daughter and son-in-laws first wedding anniversary. It was wonderful and we got silly after a little too much champagne. Spanish Steps again, a great place to gather and say Arrivederci Roma. (For a couple of weeks anyway). Driving to Milan tomorrow. Love, love, love Italy!

Sultry Sunset in Rome

DSC02990

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

Roma – Anticipation

Three weeks from now I will be re-discovering Rome. The anticipation is overwhelming. Its been five years since my last trip to Italy. Memories of happy times and wonderful people flood back, particularly in the Grand Hotel Flora. Can’t wait to check in. I’m sure the staff will have changed, but the charm will still be there.

The excellent staff

The excellent staff

Going Home!

Ok so I’m British. Well actually I was British until I became an American Citizen just over 10 years ago, but every time I step off a plane onto Italian soil, I feel like I’m home. My next trip to Italy is coming up soon, and this time I will stay for three weeks. Who knows, I may never leave!

tiber-river-rome

Once Upon a Time in Italy

In 1973 when I went to Italy for the first time. It was one of those ‘all inclusive’ package tours. I went with my mum and my crazy old Aunt. The minute I stepped off the plane I was in love with the place. I was fifteen. I spend two weeks wandering along the beach, basking in the sun and enjoying the atmosphere. I explored the streets, always turning the corner to find something new to delight me. I returned the following year, and the one after. I was hooked. Italy 1973

In 1977 I got married and money was tight for my young husband and I. We were happy to be anywhere, as long as we were together, but Italy was on our bucket list! In 1983 we could finally afford the trip. My husband, a British Soldier, was stationed in Germany and we drove through the Alps, what a lovely way to get there. Did he share my love of the country. Yes, he was hooked right away.

We drove through the Alps to Italy in our very own Alfa Romeo

We drove through the Alps to Italy in our very own Alfa Romeo

I gave birth to my beautiful daughter in 1984 and soon after we moved back to England. With only one pay check, vacations abroad were out of the question and it was 1993 before we could afford a vacation in Italy again. Lido de Jesolo this time. My daughter was seven years old. She took to the country and the language like a fish to water.

Once upon a time on the shores of Lake Garda

Once upon a time on the shores of Lake Garda

We moved to the USA in 1995. Lots to see and places to visit. San Francisco and New Orleans became my favorite cities to visit. I Loved shopping in New York, enjoyed trips to Mexico for sun, sea and sand, but yearned to return to Italy. Long way, lots of money, would we ever be able to afford it? Eventually in 2010, we could stand it no longer. We needed an Italy fix and booked a trip to Rome. Two weeks in that Eternal City were not long enough. We took the train to Frascati, rented a car and drove to Sorrento and Pompeii, but mostly enjoyed walking the streets of Rome and mixing with the locals.

The Eternal City 2010

The Eternal City 2010

I’m getting older now, I can’t wait another ten years before I see Italy again. In a couple of months my husband and I fly to Rome, but this time for three weeks. Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena, Ravello – I can barely wait! My daughter and her new husband will be with us too, how special. Life evolves, things change, but Italy will always be a part of me. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Dead of July_Cover_in-template

Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena and Ravello – not long now.

It isn’t difficult to tell I started a new job. This is my first post since March 22nd. After over three months at home its hard to get back into the swing of working again. Last week I was WIPED OUT and could barely stay awake when I got home. This week is a little easier, but I’m still tired. Hard to believe a three-month break can change so much, I’ve worked all of my life.

Now my daughter, who has always lived close by is starting a new job too, in Dallas. I’m very happy for her, and sad that I’ll have to get on a plane to see her now. It’s a fantastic opportunity that she can’t refuse. She’s a smart cookie. Nothing stays the same for long. It is going to  make our summer trip to Italy very special because I’ll have her with me for two whole weeks. Italy and family, what could be better?

1993 - Italy

1993 – Italy

CIMG0486

Rome 2010 – Restaurant 35

Pretty soon I’ll be able to add more photos from Italy. Rome, Milan, Lake Garda, Siena and Ravello in July 2015. Can’t wait! I know Rome well, but if anyone has any suggestions or tips for the rest of my trip I’d love to hear them.

 

Rome

In 2010 I visited Rome for the first time and was completely overwhelmed by its history and its beauty. I’ve visited Italy several times over the years, its my favorite place in the world, but Rome was different. I inhaled the atmosphere and never wanted to leave. That was five years ago.

I am going back to Italy this year and it’s going to be a fantastic event. As well as spending a few days in Rome, we’re renting a villa in Tuscany with friends, visiting Milan for the first time, re-visiting Lake Garda and spending a few days in Ravello. The anticipation is exciting. I can hardly wait.

Can't wait to people watch!

Can’t wait to people watch!

I’ve replaced my header with a photo taken on my last visit. It’s the old Roman wall and we were lucky enough to look out at it from our hotel ‘Grand Flora’ on Via Veneto. Can’t wait to return to it. The staff was wonderful and they added to a fantastic vacation.

2014 in review

Thank you everyone. Travel with me in 2015, we’ll be returning to Rome and visiting many other places, some I’ve never been to before. 2015 will be a New year in many different ways. Can’t wait to get it started.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,700 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries