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Ten Great Weeks in Italy

Author: Host Ciao (More Trip Reviews by Host Ciao)
Date of Trip: October 2007

I headed back to the hotel and then to lunch in a restaurant I have eaten in before, La Scalinata.  I tried two items I had not eaten.  One was lardon di Colonella (may have the name wrong), but it is a famous product from a town near Carrara.  And yeah it is cured lard, more like bacon than what we can get at home.  It is sliced very thinly and served on warm toasted bread and very good.  The other dish was spaghetti cacio e pepe, spaghetti dressed with cheese, a bit of pasta water and lots of black pepper, good.

I ended my day by walking to a nearby Mailboxes, etc. and shipping home another package, of course, including books.  The company has had lots of business from me in Naples, Milan, Florence and now Rome.  Tonight I am heading back to the Christmas fair still looking for a Befana who doesn't look like a Halloween witch.  Befana brings presents to good children on January 6.

More Rome (as my favorite t-shirt says)
It took me several trips to the fair to find  Befanas who wouldn't scare the young ones I intended them for, but I finally succeeded though I prefer the ones I found five years ago.  I certainly did not mind the trips to the fair.  I have read an item from a writer who called it tacky, but I thought it was fun.  And the kids who were there were having a great time.  There was even a large Babbo Natale--Santa Claus to us--display there.  There are games, booths of all kinds of Nativity scene items, a merry-go-round, and lots and lots of food booths, most that children would love.  There were always crowds there and five years ago I even saw a bride and groom wandering there with photographer in tow.

I did several other tours while in Rome including and Angel and Demons tour, which was fun though the pouring rain sort of ruined the ending on the top of the Castel San Angelo.  Another I enjoyed was a Roman Architecture tour, a Baroque Rome tour, and one underground Rome tour.  I will write more about these after I return home and go over my journal.  I went to the Borghese Gallery on my own, a must every time I am in Rome.  I arranged the reservation so that after my tour hours were  up I would go to dinner nearby at Vero Giarrosto Toscano.  This is my brother's favorite restaurant in Rome, and he had sent me euros left from his trip with the stipulation that I would have my birthday dinner there.  I did this after killing a half hour of time until it opened by sitting in the very fancy Marriott lobby reading USA Today. Excellent vegetable antipasto and pasta carbonara--wine, of course but had no room for dessert.

A visit to Rome usually ends in frustration for me because I don't give myself enough time to do all I want to do.  Since I once spent three weeks here a 10-day stay such as this is not enough.  I couldn't decide what to do my last day so set out walking.  I ended up going up to the top of the Victor Emmanuel monument.  I found you can access the cafe about half way up the monument by climbing the steps off to the left of the Senate building on the Capitoline hill.  From there a ride up several floors in a new, very modern, see-through elevator brought me to the level of the immense chariots with their also huge horses.  From here by walking around I could see just about all of Rome.  From each side there was a large map with keyed numbers to point out the sites I didn't recognize.  I spent a good hour plus up there and cannot think of a better way of spending my last day in Rome with the sun shining and the sky blue!.  I then wandered over to the Christmas fair again and ended by eating at my favorite restaurant, L' Archetto.
I'm home and believe I will add finally--not because I was particularly ready to come home, but because I arrived home 24 hours late.  Oh yes! Charles DeGaulle airport struck again.  I didn't pay attention when I bought the ticket, but when I checked to reconfirm, my first thought was Oh Oh!  I had only 45 minutes to make my connection--and I didn't.  My plane from Rome was 10 minutes late landing and by the time I got off I had less than half an hour to walk a long way, clear security again and make it another long way to the gate--too late.  I wasn't the only one who missed that flight and there were a lot of other people I talked to from other flights who had the same problem.

Now a night in Paris might sound really nice, but not in a hotel who knows how far outside of town and near nothing but other hotels.  When I was talking to some other people waiting for the shuttle bus, we agreed it looked like the majority of the people in the hotel were "guests" of Air France.  Yes, the airline did pay for our rooms, dinner and breakfast, but I would rather not have missed my flight.

Today I had to judge a cheerleading competition 100 miles away so tomorrow is laundry day and read mail day and probably pay a few bills day. 

It was a great trip and I really would not have minded staying longer.  But as I said I was glad to be done with getting luggage on and off the train.  I head to Florida for Christmas on Tuesday so for my Independent Traveler readers, when I get back I will re-read my journal and organize my thoughts to make some comments on tours and hotels.

A presto, Host Ciao

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