Saturday, September 25, 2004


Tomorrow morning we’re off to Rome for a quick 2 ½ day visit. This will be our first visit to Rome since….can this be true?...2001!!! As I started to think about this, I had to backtrack a bit. Well, we moved here in September of 2003. Our other visit in 2003 was in the spring when we came to close on the house. On that trip my daughter Angela came with us. We rented a car and drove straight from the airport to Umbria and back again with no stop in Rome.

In 2002, we came for two weeks in May with our friends Ron and Becky. This was the trip where I finally got to “nest”. We rented an apartment for a week in Florence and another apartment for a week just outside of Cortona. We flew in and out of Florence for this trip, and never went to Rome. This was a Tuscany and Umbria vacation. This was also the trip that made us finally realize that we had to live in Italy.

We returned to Italy in November of 2002 to begin our search for the perfect Italian town. Of course we ended up finding our house during that trip. Again, no stop in Rome…we were much too busy city/house hunting. We did make a quick stop in Orvieto on our way to the airport, but that’s all.

That takes us back to 2001, when we had THREE trips to Italy! The first was in January, but that was a weeklong trip to Florence, made possible by an airline offer that was too good to pass up. The second trip was in late march and early April. We started off in Umbria, moved to Sorrento, then met up with my daughter and her family in Formia at the home of my son and his wife.

The five of us said goodbye to my son and his wife and headed off for Rome. Angela and Duffy would join their tour group, and Nicholas would stay with us. After a few days in Rome, Angela and Duffy left with their tour, and we took Nicholas to Florence for a few days before flying back to the states.

So, as incredible as it might seem, we haven’t been to Rome since April of 2001! I guess it’s about time for a visit! This particular trip was spurred by a get together organized by some people from the Slow Travel message board. As has been the custom, people usually announce that they will be in Rome or Florence or Venice during such and such dates, and ask if anyone else will be in the area at the same time. This is a great opportunity to put faces with names, compare travel notes, and have what might be your first lengthy English conversation with someone other than your traveling companions since arriving in Italy.

Robert from Santa Monica was the one to suggest this get together, not only to meet other slow travelers, but also to celebrate his birthday! At present it looks as if there will be 19 of us…we were happy to see another couple join in at the last minute…previously our count had been 17…apparently an unlucky number in Italy. When Stephanie called the restaurant to make our reservations, the person she spoke with went so far as to suggest we bring a stuffed animal to sit in the 18th chair, just to avoid that unlucky number! I had offered to bring a beanie bear with me, but now I won’t have to.

The last minute couple turned out to be Linda and her husband Steve, who own The Beehive, the small hotel near the train station where we’ll be staying during this visit. When I sent our reservation request to The Beehive, I told Linda who I was and mentioned the get together. When we received confirmation, nothing was said about the get together, so I assumed that she hadn’t been the one to read the email, but hoped the message would be passed along.

A few days ago, Linda posted on the message board that they had just returned to Italy after a six week visit to the states. She said that Stephanie had told her about the get together, so everything worked out.

We plan to take the train to Rome on Sunday morning. We’ll leave the car parked at the train station so that it will be waiting for us when we return late Tuesday evening. We should arrive in Rome around 2, and by the time we walk to the hotel we should be able to get into our room.

We aren’t staying at The Beehive proper, but rather at one of the apartments they own. We will have one of several bedrooms in the apartment, and will share the kitchen and bathroom with whoever else is there. For €30 per person per night, you can’t beat it!

The get together is scheduled for Sunday evening, and we have reservations at St Peter’s for a tour at 9:15 on Monday morning. My plan is to visit the Vatican museum once we’re finished with the tour, and this time check out some of the less visited rooms, such as the ones housing the Egyptian and Etruscan collections.

Monday afternoon may find us at Castroni’s, a store that sells international foods. I’m not sure what we’ll find, but they should have lots of foods from America, as well as from England, and around the world. When we visited a similar store, ViVi’s in Florence, we found Duncan Hines cake mixes, Karo syrup,
all kinds of familiar foods not normally found in Italy. Sometimes you just need these ingredients for an American based recipe, and other times you just need a spoonful of good old American peanut butter to get you through the day!

For dinner on Monday we plan to visit the Hard Rock Café for a taste of home. At this point, I’m overwhelmed by the choices: Barbequed ribs? A big juicy cheeseburger? Maybe a BLT? Or a huge American style salad? It’s only been three months since we were in the states, but it will be another three before we return again, so this is the perfect opportunity to satisfy some of those cravings!

On Tuesday we plan to go to the large produce and flower market at Campo del Fiore. This market is held six days a week from early morning till one or two in the afternoon. We know that we want to get some spices here, and who knows what else we might find. There are fruits and vegetables here that I’ve never seen before, and it’s sure to be an interesting visit.

We have reservations for the Borghese Gallery at three o’clock, but since they aren’t yet paid for, this is still tentative. Since we plan to visit the Borghese with my sister in November, if we don’t make it, we’ll have another chance in just eight weeks or so. I’ve already made the reservation for November, because this is our favorite museum in Rome and we want to share it with my sister and her friend Sandy.

Our train back to Umbria leaves Rome at 6:15, and we should arrive at the station in Ponte San Giovanni a little after eight. The weather is looking great…a little cooler than we would’ve expected, but that’s okay, we need to get out the winter stuff anyway! There’s no rain in the forecast, so we should be able to walk and enjoy the Eternal City with no problems!


At 9/25/2004 05:14:00 PM , Blogger scarab8 said...

Have a great time in Roma. I love the Beehive. Give the fat cat a little love for me.

At 9/26/2004 10:10:00 AM , Blogger SHAZABBE said...

Dear Barb & Art,
My name is Sharon Billey. In my process of searching for information on moving to Italy I found your entries on slow travelers. Your adventures have made me even more eager to have a home there. I currently live between Las Vegas and NY City. I noted that you stated that you used a german mortgage bank. Is it possible for you to provide me with that bank's information? The one thing I've found as Barb had stated is that most of the information available is geared more to EU citizens and not to Americans. I wish you the best in all of your adventures and continued happiness. Your zeal shows in your entries. :)
Sharon Billey


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