We got to our hotel, Best Western Royal Santana, in good stead (around 10:45) and made our way to the Princess desk, where the rep confirmed our flights and pick up times. Sadly, our room wasn’t ready yet, but we passed the time talking with the Princess folks for the next cruise. It’s also twelve days, but they have way more sea days, like six of them before ending up in Venice with different ports, like Monte Carlo and Split. I’m glad we went on ours.
While we waited, TBG chatted with our rep and told her we wanted to get some Hop On, Hop Off tickets in order to maximize our time around the city. She suggested the two-day pass, which gives us a chance to hit all the main attractions, including the forum, the coliseum, and, of course, the Vatican. She also gave us a recommendation for dinner and, after we talked, she made reservations for us.
TBG checked with the front desk and our room was ready, so up we went, again to the second floor to our room (218). It is a nice corner room overlooking the main road in front of us. It’s very quiet and comfortable, but with ultra-modern decor. It has accent lights around the bed, refrigerator and closet which you can change to a variety of colors, as well as control the intensity – talking about your ultimate nightlight.
We caught our breath for a few minutes and then headed out onto the streets of Rome. First, so many people as opposed to some of our other stops, which I thought were crowded at the time. We found a little restaurant and had some lunch. I had a very odd looking, but delicious carbonara. TBG had fettucine with porcini mushrooms. We chatted about what we wanted to see and do over the next two days, ranking our top ‘must see’ attractions, so we would both be satisfied.
After that, we wandered back to the hotel and tried out the bed - very comfortable and happily firm. I read while TBG napped. After he got up, he got the computer out and set up – high speed internet again – I am in heaven. It was lovely to be able to answer my LJ friends and not be mentally counting off the minutes in my head.
We watched some TV, I do enjoy Italian TV, and there are some great commercials here. They are ramping up for Christmas and the ads are everywhere. Even some stores are decorated and people are walking around in heavy coats and scarves, while we are walking around in shirt sleeves. Most of the English speaking stations were reporting on Veteran’s Day. I was so pleased that Trump kept his mouth shut and didn’t embarrass us too much. It was sickening to hear the news coming from California and all the wild fires. The poor state just can’t seem to catch a break this year. Goddess help us if we do get the rains they are predicting because then there will be mudslides to contend with.
As the time for our reservation approached, we both got a little antsy. The rep said it was just a ten minute walk, but I didn’t believe her. We left the hotel at 8:30 and headed left to the big bus terminal. Passing through that nearly gave me a panic attack because of the number of people pushing and shoving. The sign of the Golden Arches gave me fresh courage and we sailed out the other end of the terminal. Then our instructions were to go right, cross at the light, then head up the street until we reached the first cross street, cross right, then go around the corner. It sounded very complicated, but it was as easy as pie (once you find the street signs amid everything else) and there was the restaurant just as she said. We were about ten minutes early, but they seated us by the front window and gave us menus.
The place was lovely, all done with dark and blond wood. There seemed to be one waiter for every two tables there and we were well attended, but never ‘bothered’ by anyone. We started with a shared bruschetta. It arrived with two slices of bread on it - one was tomatoes and basil, the other mozzarella and roasted peppers. No balsamic vinegar, just olive oil was drizzled over it. Then we had our entrées – I had an eggplant stuffed ravioli, just three, but all heavenly and TBG had Roman styled roasted chicken. The chicken was stuffed with roasted vegetables and was very moist. Then he ordered a caprice salad for each of us – it was a whole (huge) tomato stuffed with thick slices of mozzarella… oh, man, it was good, but too much.
TBG had dessert, the gelato of the day, which turned out to be chocolate hazelnut. I tried a small taste, but stuck with my wine, a nice Chianti instead. Then they brought the check and two glasses of limoncello. It was a lovely finish to a great meal. We paid for dinner and walked back, making it in the prescribed ten minutes. It was nice to be tucked up in our room and I didn’t stay awake very long.
All in all, it was a nice first day.