Rome Day 1!

Well its been about 4 months since my last entry and it would be pretty impossible to catch up on the past 4 months, new town, new place, new job, etc, etc.  Our most recent adventure though definitely deserves a long long entry.

ITALY!

FYI: this is basically my journal in blog form so it will be a long entry and also serve as great advice for anyone planning a trip to Italy in the near future, as I tracked every euro spent!)

Thursday 9/30 Arrival to Rome
We arranged for a private pick up from the airport, unsure of how the taxi/shuttle situation would have been, and all the books I had read said that a taxi from the Rome airport into town has a flat rate of 40 Euro and our hotel had offered us a private shuttle for 50 Euro, so we took them up on the offer.  After almost 24 hours of traveling we were ready to see Rome!  We arrived to our hotel at roughly 10am and of course could not get our room yet, so we dumped our bags and took off walking.  Our hotel, Hotel Campo Di Fiori, was absolutely everything the website reflected, charming, historic, elegant, comfortable, and clean.  We were literally just steps from the market square, which occurs every day.  We turned the corner to see stand after stand of beautiful produce.



Starving as well, we walked thru the market and came across a cute little panini stand, Baccanale Cafe (25 via dei bacillari).  We grabbed 2 salami and mozzarella paninis and 2 bottles of water, 10 Euro...and it was the best panini I've ever had, or maybe because all we had eaten in the last day was airport/plane food!  The weather was sunny and warm, but I unfortunately left my sunglasses at home, so we just happened to stumble right upon a street vendor with plenty of 'fake' name brand sunglasses, I picked up a pair of "Armani's" for 15 Euro (should have bargained him down, but I'm SO bad at it...especially in Italian!)


We then walked just a few blocks across the main street to Piazza Novona, where the beautiful Fountain of 4 Rivers stands...its absolutely spectacular!  Next up, just a few more blocks away we came across the Pantheon, which was sadly under construction so the scaffolding put a big damper on our pictures and there was also a ceremony of some sort going on, so we made it a point to go back later on in our trip.



After our brief site seeing, we were able to get our room and we took a 4 hour nap!  Yep against what we said we would do!  After our nap we walked across the street and quickly checked our email/bank account at the Internet cafe, 2.60 Euro for 15 minute card.  Next door happened to be a gelato place, so we had our first gelato!  Rollie, chocolate and me, lemon :) 4 Euro.  We walked across the river to Trastevere neighborhood, which ended up being our favorite neighborhood.  We peeked into Santa Maria church, the first church dedicated to Mary.  Thirsty for a happy hour drink we found a pub, Bir & Fud, that I read about in my Rick Steeves Italy book.  We had two hoppy cats a yummy hoppy beer, 10 Euro.



Hungry for dinner after all the walking we walked the alleys and browsed  menus finally deciding on Castillo de Trastevere, a very cute typical Rome restaurant, checkered tables seated extremely close to each, but a great outdoor patio for people watching.  We had a liter of house red wine, garlic bread, cacio e pepe (pasta with pecorino/pepper sauce, a margherita pizza, and Italians version of creme brulee all for 25 Euro, this was one of the best and cheapest dinners we had the whole trip.  After dinner we walked around Trastevere a bit more and took a different bridge back over to Campo Di Fiori.  We ran into 4 American women who were on their 20th 'girls trip' and one was from the U.P.!  Then back to our hotel for a good nights sleep.



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