Rome, Italy – Day one

So before leaving for Italy, I came down with strep throat and pneumonia. Good grief, this was not what I needed. I missed the entire week of work before taking off a week of work for vacation. I wasn’t able to clean the house or pack my clothes. Thanks to hubby, the house got cleaned and I finally was able to pack the night before leaving.

We arrived at Denver International Airport around 10am and kicked off vacation the way we always do…with a brew. I wasn’t exactly feeling up for drinking since I hadn’t drank in 2 weeks and was feeling week from not eating much in those 2 weeks either but what I’ve learned from my triathlon training is I can do anything I set my mind to. So I ordered the Christmas Ale from Breckenridge Brewing as we ate burgers from Elway’s (yes, named after the Denver Bronco’s John Elway). Our flight was uneventful but long. We left the Saturday before Thanksgiving and arrived in Rome on Sunday. Thanksgiving is a great time of year to travel overseas. It’s not the high tourist season in Europe so you miss all of the crowds and flying out of the US is not that crowded compared to travel within the US at that time.

We landed at Fiumicino – Leonardo da Vinci International Airport in Rome and purchased tickets for the express train to Termini Central. This was fairly easy even without knowing much Italian. Once we arrived at the termini stazione we were able to purchase tickets for a short bus ride to our hotel, Pantheon Royal Suite, located just steps from the historic Pantheon. The hotel was well appointed but everything was small. This is a general theme in Europe anyway (Americans apparently always need bigger and more). We had to squeeze between the end of the bed to make our way to the bathroom. The stand-up shower was so tiny that I couldn’t shave my legs. Overall though it was a nice room.

Our trip consisted of 6 days staying just in Rome. We really wanted to get a feel for Roman life and immerse ourselves in Roman culture. It was early on Sunday morning and we had not slept but decided to push on and go to bed early that night. We checked out the lay of the land so we’d know how to get around best. Streets in Europe are more difficult to navigate since they are not set on a grid like many US cities. They curve and go all different directions. We started out in the Piazza Navona area and found an awesome place for lunch, Cul de Sac. It was recommended in the Rick Steves guide and did not disappoint. On our flight over, we both talked about all the yummy Italian meets and cheeses that we wanted to sample so that was the first thing that we ordered.

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Piazza Navona was a very fun area as long as you knew which restaurants and vendors to avoid. Many of the restaurants have Italian men enticing you to come in and eat. Some of these restaurants have been found to serve frozen food and is not authentic handmade food. Our general rule of thumb…if they’re trying to get you to come in and eat then no way. Good restaurants don’t need to pull people in off the street. The sculpture at the center, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, is commanding of attention. The piazza was filled with performers and people just hanging out and enjoying the day.

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We visited many beautiful churches; Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, Chiesa Di San Luigi Dei Frances, and Chiesa De Santa Maria Meddalena to name a few. Over the whole trip we probably visited around 10-12 different churches. What can I say…they’re free and beautiful.

We stopped into a cafe that I can’t remember the name of to sample our first Italian beer, Angelo Poretti Bock Rossa. It seemed to be a red ale with a generous amount of malt with 6.5% abv. Not bad.

We checked out the Pantheon which I thought was very cool since I remember studying it in college; I was an Art major. It was crazy to see something so old surrounded by newer construction. Our hotel was about 50 feet from the Pantheon.

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At Osteria Dell Ingegno we split a bottle of wine and they provided complimentary tapas. We started noticing this at several restaurants. If we stopped in for just a drink they would provide something to nosh on besides pretzels. It was a great way to sample local food that we normally wouldn’t have ordered.

We ended our night at the Trevi Fountain. This is the place where everyone gathers and does their people watching. This is also one of the places where pickpockets take advantage of tourists. The fountain itself was gorgeous and the photo does not do it justice.

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On the way back to the Pantheon area we stopped for dinner. We ate at Taverna le Coppelle. Good food for an inexpensive price. I had gnocchi with a tomato based sauce and hubby had bombolotti alla gricia and we shared a liter of house wine.

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~ by willtriforbeer on January 11, 2014.

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