According to Gate 1 this is day 14 of the tour, but in reality it is a travel day for most people. Some had really early flights, some are staying a few more days, others are leaving late tonight and we are adding on another 11 days.
We had our included breakfast at which some of the group were also there.
L and A sat with us. They talked about what a great group it was and how well (most) got along. Okay....
And how we missed a great farewell dinner. Then one of the other couples came over and asked how the dinner was. Guess they weren't missed.
We had scheduled a ride to the airport and I sent them numerous emails asking them at what time would they be coming for our 11:10 flight?
We run into Laura and she asks if we're good and we explain and said we would just grab a cab. Have I mentioned recently how great Paris cabs are? So clean, roomy and polite drivers.
PARIS TO ROME
DepartureTue, 14 May
|Cabin: Economy (O)|
|2h 5m duration|
|Seat: 18C, 18D|
We get to the airport, have coffee and then board for an uneventful flight to Rome.
Pick up goes smoothly and the driver points out the sights (walls of the Vatican) and tells us where to eat in the neighbourhood. He even wants to take our luggage up to the first floor (second to us) reception.
First impressions of the hotel were very favourable, complimentary drinks and pastries in lobby. They provide a happy hour with wine and snacks from 6:30 to 8. Breakfast not included but only 8 euros if you want it.
Our room was ready at 3.
BUT it turns out our room was across the street and down the block in an apartment building with one floor dedicated to the hotel. We were not very happy with the room as it was tired and worn, limited power outlets. The safe didn't work at first and had to be fixed.
The hotel is in a great spot and we head out just after 3 to find some old favourites.
Crossing the Tiber.
The Trevi Fountain made of Lego!
So how convenient is the hotel? Once across the river you are on Via del Corso and most things are very close by.
People who come here in search of shopping will find it at the Via del Corso, which is one of the main streets in Rome. You’ll find lots of large international stores all over the street including major retailers such as Nike and Zara, as well as smaller Italian retailers. And believe me, we saw hordes of people with bulging shopping bags. Living in Toronto I have all these retailers available and anyway I don't have any room in my suitcase!
The Piazza di Spagna at the foot of the steps is named after the Spanish Embassy there, so the name simply extended to the steps, which were built in the 18th century to connect both the Embassy and the Trinita dei Monti church (which was under French patronage) with the Holy See - the seat of the Catholic Church in Rome - in the square below.
In the middle of the city's shopping district, the steps may seem like a perfect place to pause for a picnic - but not so fast. Roman urban regulations prevent anyone from tucking into lunch on the steps, as part of an effort to keep them pristine.
I was disappointed that there weren't any flowers lining the stairs. In 2004 flowers were there.
British poet John Keats once lived in the building adjacent to the steps - now the Keats & Shelley museum, which contains memorabilia about the English Romantics poets in Italy and is well worth a visit for poetry fans.
And to the left of the steps you'll find Babington's, an English tea room which has been serving tea to locals and homesick Brits since 1893.
If the clip doesn't work, click here.
Babington's is on the ground floor in the brown building on the far right, next to the steps.
Surrounding the column are statues of Moses, Isaiah, Ezekiel and King David. During the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th, pontiffs will come and place bouquets of flowers at the base of this column.
Peeking down laneways.
All over Italy ancient street shrines, known as Madonnelle, guard street corners and intersections. This one, by the Trevi Fountain, is 18th centurey.
As was the case everywhere in Rome, you couldn't really get near to any sights, so crowded were they.
A stop into Santi Vincenzo e Anastasio a Trevi church.
You can get the best photo from the church steps.
Via de Corso also has many places that are covered such as the Galleria Alberto Sordi. The Sordi is the ideal place to retreat if you are here during the summer when it gets really hot or in our case, rain.
We happen upon this building and my initial thought was it was no longer a church as this man was loading suits into a truck outside.
It is the Basilica of Saint Sylvester the First, also known as, is a Roman Catholic minor basilica and titular church in Rome dedicated to Pope Saint Sylvester I.
TA DA! Piazza Navona.
Piazza Navona is one of the largest and most beautiful piazza squares in Rome with three impressive fountains, including la Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi with its large obelisk at the centre.
The baroque church of Sant'Agnese in Agone provides an impressive backdrop.
Surrounding the square are restaurants and street artists, painters and musicians who add a lively atmosphere to the scene.
La Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (Fountain of Four Rivers) constructed in 1651 for the pope is the most photographed item in the square. Bernini designed the fountain and it was paid for by taxes on staples like bread.
The centrepiece of the fountain is a tall Roman obelisk and surrounding it four figures can be seen, each representing the great rivers: Ganges, Nile, Danube and Rio de la Plata.
The pope's coat of arms, a dove and and olive branch are found on the rock base of the fountain.
Voglia di Pizza | Via dei Giubbonari, 33
Near Piazza Navona and Campo de’ Fiori
If you’re looking for a traditional Italian meal then Voglia di Pizza is where you should eat. For over 15 years, Voglia di Pizza has been specializing in traditional Roman dishes and gluten-free foods, specifically gluten-free pizza and gluten free beer.
It was packed and it was good without much atmosphere.
Links to previous posts about this trip:
May 2 ParisMay 5 - Dijon to Lyon
May 6 - Lyon to French Riviera
May 7 - French Riviera
May 8 - French Riviera to Carcasonne
May 9 - Carcasonne to Lourdes