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Travel: Roman Holidays August 2, 2011

Filed under: travel — Kolika C @ 12:31 am
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If you were to follow me on tripadvisor this article might be redundant for you, because here, I will just compile all my reviews of Rome, where to stay, eat and go.Anecdoting our honeymoon will not be appreciated by my husband. Documenting our fine and clever choices, reliving the moments and advising fellow or potential travelers of our lessons might not be as bad. So I will skip the conotations of romance and post-wedding stress and move on to my list of dont-miss and rather-skips.

Holiday Inn Express, Rome east. You want to feel like you’re home, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Chicago, San Francisco, Pittsburgh…any’generic’where, go ahead and stay here. The place is like any other distant, disconnected suburbia with no connection to the heart or soul of a place.
Not to say about the transportation, but just that when you’re in Rome wouldn’t you want a little more character to your stay? A little more Italy, a little more Europe beyond the breakfast and the rather curt hospitality?After a rather long train ride and a dark walk back to the hotel on our second night, we moved to where we had earlier inquired about rates and were plenty pleased with the old man and his neighbors (not to say one of his neighbors sported a Steelers jacket that I couldnt take my eyes off)
Hotel Romano. Corrado Ricci. Rickety stairs up a century old building or a tiny elevator. And we had a 4-1/2th story room with a view and some major character staring straight into our eyes. I would have taken the Holiday Inn bath over this anyday. Oh well.Santo and his colleague were instrumental in getting my newly married husband to walk the city (I was already out on a limb-pardon the pun). Breakfast was next doors. Internet was unavailable and we didnt have phones. Bliss!
 Cafe 1 (next to Hotel Romano, Corrado Ricci): After a tired day, touring the Colloseum, the Roman forum and the Capitoline hill, we retired for a rather late lunch at Cafe 1. The server fluently explained that the ‘hot meals’ were not made at the cafe but everything else was. Loved the honesty, cared not for the information, I was hungry, just getting over a 3 day spell of major prawn allergy (trust me you dont want to know the details). Liked the food and desserts but forgot them by the next mean however I can still taste the hot chocolate and the memory that I couldnt finish it torments my writability.
 Cafe 2 (Bangladeshi server, near Campe di Fiori): By now we had discovered the sizeable Bangladeshi immigrant population in Rome, selling souvenirs, hats, scarves, umbrellas and the like, a lot of who were rather pleased to see “Asian” faces in the tourist crowds, lets just say being from the Indian subcontinent and more than that, from Royal Bengal had its perks.But at this particular restaurant–very upscale, very Italian had a Bangali usher– very friendly about his birth country and very informative about his adopted one and mostly about the food at the restaurant. Great pork chops, good rigatoni. Cozy decor. Quiet beautiful ambiance.
  
Cafe 3 (Vatican): Lining the Vatic wall in the crowded cheesy souvenier-land, this ‘tea room’ sits with paws into tourists wallets-showcasing
some intense honor among thieves. Bad service, very bad food and very, very bad prices. Please keep in mind that this is just
another roadside cafe, nothing upscale, not a restaurant, but definitely 3X the prices from across the Tiber.
 Cafe 4: (1st night Corrado Ricci) Snotty service. Good food or so said the hubs. But brownie points for ambience. Loved the open market, the fair, the people watching.

Piazza Navona: It was the day of epiphany. The fair, the people and the harmonious haggling banter added to the awesomeness.

Trevi Fountain & Spanish StepsVery touristy, but worth a visit, especially after dark.

Pantheon: Marvel!

Colloseum: I can not explain how it felt when I walked out of the metro and it stood in front of us, luminescent. I like history, but not museums, standing in front of this was like zooming back to history hundreds of years ago…we had to wait until next morning for the tour. Definitely worth the money. We also toured Capitoline Forum, Roman Forum and as we stood chatting with the guide the pictures of knights and horsemen were coming alive in front of our eyes.

Vatican City, St. Peter’s Square, Basilica, Sistine Chapel: No trip to Italy is complete without the Colloseum or the Vatican. This deserved a full day as we had given it and it sucked the last drop of energy from us to finish touring them. But it was so very worth the time and effort. The art, the history, the peace–I have never seen or felt anything like this before.


Rome was touristy all right as we were warned, but nonetheless very, very charming. The pigeons, the drizzling dark sky, the wet cobblestone, where do I begin and what doI describe? The squares lined by narrow cobblestone alleys, the corners hosting quirky stores, selling colorful pasta and offering wine and grappa tasting. We ended up spending more than we wanted. but sadly,….this is an unfinished account I never got around to posting. Apologies. Reading this still makes me happy. I hope the same for you.

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