Steve was awake at 5:30 and he quickly figured out how to use the in-room coffeemaker. Thank goodness as I think I would have just waited
for the restaurant to open.
(Little did we know this would be our only Italian hotel with this appliance although a couple did have kettles and instant coffee.)
Breakfast is included in the hotel rate and it is a very nice buffet. There are lots of bread and pastries, juices, fruits, yogurt, meats, cheeses, cereals and even smoothies. The hot food available included runny scrambled eggs, chicken sausage, baked beans, and bacon. You could fill a bowl with different chopped vegetables or ham and have them cook it with eggs.
After filling up we headed out to the Borghese Gallery. It was a pretty short walk from the hotel and we were there at 8:30 when they opened the doors. After getting our tickets, we had to check my purse as NO bags of any kind are allowed in the gallery.
At 9 am sharp they opened the doors to the exhibits. We went up to the picture gallery first. Each room was filled with incredible works of art.
Not only were there beautiful paintings but the building was also full of sculptures.
We learned to look up or we’d miss incredible scenes.
In some rooms, you had to look down at the floor as well for beautiful mosaics.
We spent a little over an hour going through the entire museum. The art becomes overwhelming at some point and you can’t absorb anymore. I took many more pictures but don’t want to overwhelm this page.
We headed back to the hotel to freshen up before heading out again.
On our way out of the hotel, we ran into the tour director, Brad, who was orienting a part of our tour to the hotel after airport pickup. He asked if we were Akers party and after confirming, told us to meet in the lobby at 5:30 pm. I never found out how he knew it was us.
We mapped our route to the forum and started walking.
Today went much better than yesterday navigating. Between the two of us we made it to the forum with only one time of confusion.
The ruins are amazing.
We decided to grab a bite for lunch and found an outdoor cafe that seemed like a respite for our tired feet.
It was very busy but I don’t think it was because of the wonderful food. No, it was the location right on the corner of the main street to the coliseum. We both ordered pizzas along with a bottle of sparking water.
Steve’s pizza was mushroom and sausage while mine was ham, mushrooms and tomato sauce. On the way back to the hotel we shared a pistachio gelato and it was fantastic. I wish I had twice as much!
This gas station caught my eye. I’d never seen a station on the sidewalk before. There was an attendant on the other side of the pump sitting in a chair.
One of the streets on our route back was lined with orange trees. We learned later from Brad that they are very bitter and only used for marmalade.
After naps and showers, it was time to officially start our tour.
We met the group at 5:30 pm received luggage tags, informational sheet, headsets and name tags. After brief notes, Brad had us load up on the bus and we headed for dinner.
There were sights along the way.
The columns in the picture above are Rome’s tribute to 9/11 victims. The columns represent the twin towers.
We went to a restaurant (whose name I neglected to get) across from the Colosseum and was seated on the second floor patio. It was impressive. as we walked in, waiters handed us an aperitif. We sat down where there were bottles of water, red wine and white wine.
Brad asked about optionals during the next 2-3 days. The first one is tonight which is the illuminations tour. Then tomorrow, there are three optional experiences:
- fountains and piazzas
- Rome dinner
The Vatican is closed tomorrow so this pushes the Spello optional tour to Tuesday morning. We signed up for all except the early Sunday fountains and piazzas walking tour. We’d seen most of it by ourselves.
Then the food started coming out. First we had a plate of four assorted cheese which were all good.
Then a plate with two kinds of bruschetta. One with tomatoes as I commonly see in the US and the second had cheese only.
Next was fried zucchini that was so good I had seconds once it went around. Then we had a salad. I really wish there were salad dressing options.
The first pasta course was a white lasagna that was absolutely delicious!
We followed that with stuffed cannelloni. I’m not sure what kind of meat was in it but it was delicious.
Dessert was little dishes with two choices. I had tiramisu and Steve selected pana cotta. Both were delicious.
While dining we got to know our tablemates a bit. Steve and Jan are from Wisconsin and celebrating their 10th year anniversary. Dave and Regie are from Ohio and celebrating 30 years, Bonnie and Jeanne were celebrating Jeanne’s recent retirement.
Six people took taxis back to the hotel while the rest of the group headed out on the Illuminations optional.
It included a small walking portion in Trastevere which was incredibly crowded. It was hard to see anything because we were moving so fast.
Brad did show us these rounded corners that made it possible for wagons to turn corners without catching their wheels.
We saw many sights lit up. This turned out to be the only optional I wouldn’t have minded missing. When we got back to the room my fitbit had over 20,000 steps today for 8.33 miles and 37 floors!
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