Thursday, October 25, 2012

On Roman Soil

We landed and got our bags and went out of the building to meet our transport to the hotel. Unfortunately things did not go smoothly. We couldn’t find our bus. We walked around but found nothing. Three phone calls and an hour later we finally connected with our driver and we all piled onto a small bus for the ride to the hotel. The drive to the hotel – Crowne Plaza RomeSt. Peters Hotel and Spa – was a lot shorter than our waiting time at the airport and we all headed inside to check in. Thomas and I got our room keys and headed up to freshen up before meeting the group back in the lobby in about an hour.

Our room is nice, very clean, with two double beds, a desk and a lounge chair. There is a flat screen tv (that we probably won’t have time to use) and a small balcony with a larger terrace attached. So after getting settled and cleaned up we gathered some things in a backpack and headed downstairs to the lobby to meet up with everyone. Toni and Edie unfortunately still didn’t have a room and were waiting – (they did finally get a room and we waited until they were ready before leaving for the afternoon in Rome). Once everyone was in the lobby (minus Dave, Frank and Susie – they decided to hang out at the hotel and rest) we were joined by Phyto (Heather) who lives in Naples and was joining us for the afternoon and evening. She also brought a couple of her friends to join us - Daniele & Uvio (I hope I got those right). I gave everyone a button I had made for the trip and then we headed out. I have to say we weren’t a very organized bunch. Our goal was to get to Villa Borghese. We debated taxis vs. bus vs. Metro. We did stop at a tobacco shop and get tickets and then we looked for a bus stop. We got a little side tracked and stopped at Pizza, Amore & Fantasia for a little bite to eat. Thomas and I split a small sausage and pepperoni pizza and a rice ball (called an arancini di Riso). We also had a Limon to drink.
Entrance to Villa Borghese
When we were all done we started to move again. We finally opted to use the Metro (I actually love using the subways – very fast and easy means of getting around) to get to the park.  We entered the Metro at Cornelia and then exited at Flaminio. We entered the park at Viale del Muro Torto Corso d’Italia.
Part of the Goethe statue
Once in the park we spent some time letterboxing – you can read about that over at The Lion’s Game at Finding Boxes at Villa Borghese. The park was beautiful and we enjoyed our walk through the park. We saw Tempio di Esculapio (The Temple ofAesculapius) on Giardino del Lago (Garden of the Lake) and a statue of Goethe. After more than an hour in the park we left as it was starting to get dark and headed for Piazza de Spagna and the Spanish Steps. We wandered down narrow roads taking in all that we could. We did get lost a little along the way and had to check the maps quite often but this only added to our experience and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.
Door Knocker
At one point we ended up at PiazzaBarberini which has a beautiful fountain - Fontana del Tritone. We left this piazza and continued our walk making our way to Piazza de Spagna. We arrived at the top of the steps near the church of Trinità del Monti. There were hoards of people and lots of street artist with incredible work. We eventually made our way down the steps to the Fontana della Barcaccia (a Bernini piece). We took pictures and enjoyed all the energy the crowd provided. After a little while here we decided to head back toward the hotel, so we headed to the Metro. We took the Metro from Spagna to Cornelia and then walked the rest of the way back to the hotel. We stopped just before the hotel at Ristorante di Arturo for some dinner. Thomas had Fettucine with meat sauce and I had a creamy scampi risotto. It was a delicious meal but it was late by the time we finished eating and we all just wanted to get back to the hotel and sleep - remember we have all been up for quite a few hours now. And we have more to do tomorrow. Once back in the room we took showers and Thomas went straight to sleep, but I did this blog and organized things a bit. Tomorrow we visit the Vatican.

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