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Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto #19997
05/17/2013 01:48 PM
05/17/2013 01:48 PM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline OP
Traveler
GaKaye  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
A comment for those of you who have not read my trip reports: I write them as a diary of my trip, so that I will remember everything about our vacation. They are therefore agonizingly detailed and long. Youíve been warned.

Our trip began with a drive to Charlotte on Wednesday, May 15, to take advantage of the non-stop flight to Rome. We took our time, stopping at California Pizza Kitchen in Durham for our last American pizza for a while. Living in the country as we do, CPK is a treat. David had their new Korean BBQ pizza, and I had the Thai Crunch Salad. Both were excellent.

After completing the drive to Charlotte, we dropped our truck off at the Hampton Inn Airport, and took their shuttle to CLT. We had already printed our boarding passes so only needed to check our one suitcase and proceed to the gate. We had about ninety minutes to kill before boarding, so used our day pass for the US Airways Club. They have nice snacks and drinks, so itís a pleasant and quiet place to relax before boarding.

Our flight boarded on time, and I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of legroom we had in just regular coach seats. The plane was an A330 and we were in the second row in coach. We pushed back right on time and were in the air for less than an hour when dinner was served. We had ordered the upgraded meals, which proved to be a good decision. We had noodles with grilled chicken in a spicy peanut sauce, a nice mixed salad, a veggie spring roll with dipping sauce, and cheesecake with fresh berries. The meal was served chilled in a bento box, and everything was quite tasty. The meal was accompanied by our choice of red or white wine and for $21.99 each it really wasnít a bad deal considering that the wine would cost $7 and the standard meal is the typical rubber chicken or mushy pasta.

Our seats had the individual entertainment systems, so I watched Skyfall while David watched Oz; The Great and Powerful. The consoles also include games, and the man behind David continually banged on the back of Davidís seat while he played a card game. David finally had to ask him to stop; the poor old man had no idea he was bothering anyone else. Those of you who know David know it had to be pretty bad for him to say anything.

After dinner we tried to sleep but neither of us was successful. We arrived in Rome right on time at 9:20 AM Thursday. We had to wait for our gate, and then the pilot pulled too far forward and had to be pushed back in order for the jetway to attach. After clearing passport control, we took the train to baggage claim where David waited for our suitcase while I tried in vain to find our driver. I finally re-read my email, and found him outside customs just where he was supposed to me. A run through the rain to the car wasnít too bad, and it took about an hour to get into downtown Rome and our hotel.

Hotel Parlamento is a small hotel on the upper floors of an old building near the Spanish Steps. We were warmly greeted and offered fresh coffee and cookies while we waited for our room to be ready. We were able to get into our room before noon, which was quite unexpected and made us very happy. We had decided to stay up as long as we could on Thursday, so we freshened up and hit the road. The rain had stopped and the sun was coming out. We first went in search of lunch, and found a lovely cafť, San Silvestro, less than a block from the hotel. There we sat outside alongside the large Piazza and enjoyed a Pizza con Fungi and a glass of Vino Bianca. Interestingly, the service is not included in the menu price, and the menu indicates that 17% will be added, so no surprises there. The pizza was delicious, the wine cold, and the atmosphere perfect.

After lunch we walked a few blocks to the Spanish Steps, where we walked around and took some pictures. Looking at my pictures last evening, itís unfortunate that the photos just canít do justice to the actual scene.

We then set out to find the Trevi Fountain. We had a map from the hotel, but kept getting turned around on the tiny city streets. By now, my feet hurt and the lack of sleep is getting to me; I might be just a little cranky when David wants to go in the direction that huge tour group just came from because they must have been at the fountain (as opposed to the hundreds of other attractions in Rome?)

Finally I can hear water; we must be close! The fountain is huge and beautiful, and surrounded by so many people you can hardly see it. But everyone is nice and lets others by so that we all get our photo op in front of the rushing waters. We think it must be illuminated in the evening, so weíll probably head back there another time before we leave Rome.

Back to the hotel to rest for a while before dinner. I discover that our tub is a Jaccuzzi, and immediately climb in while itís filling with delicious hot water. After soaking in the jetted water for about an hour, I climb out and clime into bed, set the alarm for 1800 (when in RomeÖ) and crawl under the clean crispy sheets where David is already snoring. In spite of horns beeping and sirens wailing, we got about an hour of sleep before we woke up with the need of the alarm.

It being our first night, neither of us was in the mood to search for another restaurant, so we headed back to San Silvrestri. Again we were seated outdoors, where we enjoyed a bottle of Sauvignon (they donít add the word ďBlancĒ to it here in Italy). We each started with the Ensalada Mista (mixed salad), which was huge; really enough for a meal by itself. Davidís primi (pasta is the first course here, and I guess people order more from there, but I truly donít know where they put it) was a seafood risotto. The risotto was perfectly cooked in a seafood stock seasoned with saffron, and nestled in it were calamari, clams, mussels and shrimps in their shells. The entire dish was topped with a whole langostino. I got a couple of tastes, and it was just delicious.

My entrťe was linguini with clams. The clams were also the teeny ones, still in their shells, and there were plenty of them nestled amongst the perfectly cooked pasta lightly coated with a buttery sauce.

Afterwards we were too full for dessert, so lingered over limoncello which was served with delicious champagne filled chocolates. When our server presented our check, he made sure we knew the gratuity wasnít included. Knowing the difference between service and gratuity, we gave him 5 euros as he hung around the table. Iím sure many Americans leave a 20% tip in addition to the 17% theyíve already been charged. It definitely pays to know the customs of the places you visit.

After a few minutes on the rooftop terrace, we crashed, and slept like babies until nearly eight this morning. A continental breakfast is served in a teeny room in the hotel, and we enjoyed delicious coffee along with croissants, rolls, and fruit with yogurt. Iíve been hoping the skies would clear while Iím writing this, but itís still pretty cloudy although the rain seems to have stopped.

Off to the Patheon! Ciao!

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Re: Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto [Re: GaKaye] #19998
05/17/2013 03:11 PM
05/17/2013 03:11 PM
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,586
St Maarten
BillandElaine Offline
Traveler
BillandElaine  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 18,586
St Maarten
Sounds superb! Can't wait for the pictures <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Clapping.gif" alt="" />


Elaine
*********************************
God Bless the broken road....
Re: Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto [Re: GaKaye] #19999
05/17/2013 03:51 PM
05/17/2013 03:51 PM
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,457
Yonkers, NY
fabila Offline
Traveler
fabila  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Jan 2002
Posts: 7,457
Yonkers, NY
Molto bene! Wonderful review, Georgia. Waiting to hear more as your trip progresses.

I'm interested about the upgrade meal on the flight. Were you told about this when booking or on flight?

Re: Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto [Re: GaKaye] #20000
05/17/2013 06:05 PM
05/17/2013 06:05 PM
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 2,547
Spain and SXM
Sungoddess Offline
Traveler
Sungoddess  Offline
Traveler
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 2,547
Spain and SXM
brings back such wonderful memories for me...keep more coming and enjoy!

Re: Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto [Re: GaKaye] #20001
05/17/2013 07:55 PM
05/17/2013 07:55 PM
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,990
Connecticut
The_Lurker Offline
Traveler
The_Lurker  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2008
Posts: 2,990
Connecticut
Sounds wonderful--the next best thing to being there!

I'm not sure if I remember service charges posted on the menus, but I don't ever remember a server saying the gratuity is not included. I think everyone is getting into that no matter what country you're in. I think for years most Americans didn't realize how to tip, in other countries, and now more is expected from them. (We use to give the 20% years ago.)

You are so right pictures can never caption actually being there, but you are doing a great job telling it to us!

Enjoy your next day!!

Re: Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto [Re: fabila] #20002
05/18/2013 01:54 AM
05/18/2013 01:54 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline OP
Traveler
GaKaye  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
Louise, we received an email a couple of days before our flight offering us the upgraded meal. I ordered it online, and it was labeled with our name and seat number, delivered at the same time as the others got their normal meal.

Re: Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto [Re: GaKaye] #20003
05/18/2013 08:47 AM
05/18/2013 08:47 AM
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,656
Brookfield, CT.
pat Offline
Traveler
pat  Offline
Traveler
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 14,656
Brookfield, CT.
Georgia,

Received the pm - glad the rain cleared and the sun is out (but not too hot.....) and as much as we're all enjoying the trip, I hope you're not robbing too much valuable time from it to share with all of us (even though it's appreciated if you are..... <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.traveltalkonline.com/forums/images/graemlins/Grin.gif" alt="" />).

But either way, know that it sounds wonderful so far and your writing style and the fact you choose to share in the first place, are both very much appreciated.

TIA for the next chapter which I'm sure will be even more enjoyable.....


Respectfully,

pat



"Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat
them."
Re: Trip Report: Rome / Tuscan Women Cook / Orvieto [Re: pat] #20004
05/18/2013 10:18 AM
05/18/2013 10:18 AM
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
GaKaye Offline OP
Traveler
GaKaye  Offline OP
Traveler
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 13,438
Peaceful Eastern North Carolin...
The occasional rest break is mandatory, and I'm not good at sitting around doing nothing....


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