Thursday, January 7, 2010

Travel to Rome: Christmas Eve Afternoon

We went to the Vatican museums on Christmas Eve morning and in the afternoon we had 48 hours tickets for the Rome hop on-hop off double decker bus. It was ok, but the first day we rode it was rainy and the covered area was full so we had no choice but to go upstairs to the opened part. We had umbrellas but the wind from the bus moving broke one of the umbrellas. It was still usable though, that is until the next windy day.

There were some cool sights that the bus stopped at, but unless you know where you are going or what the sites are all about it isn’t that much fun in the rain. We had a 48 hour ticket and the weather was better on Christmas day and the morning of the day after. So it all worked out.

We got off at the Trevi Fountain stop. We couldn't see the fountain from the stop and were not really sure which direction to go, so we just started walking. This is pretty much how we operated. No clue which way to go...just start walking and trying to find the roads on the map! It worked.

I heard the fountain before actually seeing it. Turned a corner and there it was. It was amazing!
You see these things on TV and in print but you never really know the scale of things unless you see them in person. (Like St. Peter’s basilica!) Trevi Fountain is 85 feet high and 65 feet wide!

Trevi Fountain

Pictures taken and coins thrown in to guarantee our return we headed towards the spot where the hotel bus would pick us up, looking for a place to eat along the way.

I have come to the conclusion that if you really want to learn Italian, don’t come to Rome to learn it. Too many people speak English here! As soon as you stare at them blankly at something they said to you in Italian, they kick right in with the English. It has been very helpful though and saved many painful conversations on our part. I have gotten to use some of what I have studied, but not nearly enough. I do accidentally keep throwing Spanish in there and they look at me blankly. Then I think about what I said and realize my mistake and fix it. Or they don’t even realize like one of the workers at the Vatican Museum because he spoke 3 or 4 languages !

With feet killing us and legs screaming at us for abusing them from all the walking, we found a place to eat. We walked in, looked at the menu, and were ready to order. The waitress comes over and after a blank stare from us started talking to us in English. Frankie tells her what he would like and she immediately says, "Sorry the kitchen is closed and we are closing in 40 minutes because it is Christmas Eve."


She said that most places will do this.


She then said and I love her dearly for this, "If you are hungry I can take the focaccia bread and put some prosciutto and mozzarella in it and pop it in the oven for a few minutes."

Well, we would have been stupid to say no…although I have not have pasta since being here! Nor gelato! I don’t know how it is possible either! She fixed it for us, we ate, and it was delicious! How can you not like proscuitto and mozzarella?

After eating we still had about an hour to kill before the hotel bus got there and Frankie thought his feet and legs were going to fall off. So we walked a little ways down the street to a Chinese resturant and order some tea just so we can sit and wait. It was some really good tea!

We would have sat outside somewhere but everything was wet and it was dark and colder by this time. Although so far neither of us have worn our jackets. Everyone else is bundled up as if it were 30 degrees outside instead of the high 50's! It was warmer than we expected and not much different than at home.

The bus shows up and we went back to the hotel where we found a lovely surprise. I had brought a small blanket with me and the maid had spread it at the foot of the bed. She folded my pajamas and placed them on my pillow. She even picked up Frankie’s underwear and hung them up on a hook in the bathroom! I will not even do that!! It is funny though, Frankie had left some change out on the dresser and it was gone. We figure she assumed it was a tip and took it. The next couple of days there was no money left and we didn't even get clean towels. We are not sure if it was because no money was left or if because it was Christmas. We left more money a different day and everything was taken care of again. Still not sure if it had anything to do with the money or the holiday.

Christmas day we rode the hop on-hop off bus and it did not rain except for one short burst, so it was more enjoyable. But, I will save that for the next blog.