Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tues Versailles in Winter

Today was a very relaxing day. I slept in to almost 10:00. Had coffee and headed out to Versailles. Stopped by the boulangerie and picked up a chocolate croissant and caught the train to Versailles. We had a dusting of snow in Paris so we were expecting a little more when we got out of the city. We weren't disappointed. We walked around the gardens to take photos of them in winter and then headed back to Paris. We had an uneventful lunch at some Italian restaurant.

The street on the way to the Palace.

View from the front.
I don't look too cold do I?

Garden View

Another Garden View.

Dinner tonight was a bottle of wine, 4 different cheeses some oranges and an avacado.
Fun day!!!!!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday in Paris

First thing this morning was shopping for necessities. Coffee, paper towels, hand soap, creme fraiche and kleenex. I reached for my wallet and realized I didn't have it. Luckly I had some euros in my pocket. I got back to the apartment, made the coffee and then looked for my wallet. It was no where to be found. No wallet, no passport. I was all set to call the American Embassy when I thought about going downstairs to the cafe where we had dinner the night before. Thank God for the honest French. My wallet and passport were there. The few euros I had in the wallet were gone but all the American money I had was still there. We headed in the direction of the Louve and walked down rue Trivoli looking in all the souvenir shops.
We walked around neighborhoods where we hadn't been before. Stopped for lunch and hot chocolate at Angelina's on rue Trivoli. Bought gourmet chocolate at Pierre Hermes, walked by upscale shops on Place Vendome, Dior, Rolex etc. Nice afternoon with no rain.

Palace of Justice

Display on the Louvre

Part of the Enchanted Forest Display on
Place Vendome.

View of the Opera House from the middle of the street
Dodging cars in the process.

Christmas display in a mini mall
Ended the day with dinner at one of our favorite restaurants le tir-bouchon. Prix fix menu 30 euros plus wine. Got back to the apartment at 10:00. Very nice day.


Sunday morning we flew from Rome to Zurich on Swiss Air. had an layover of 1 hour and 10 minutes and took Swiss air again from Zurich to Paris arriving in Paris around 2:00. We had to check luggage. I was very impressed with Swiss Air. I had lots of leg room and their service was very good. By the time we claimed our luggage and found our train it was 4:00 when we got to the apartment. We settled in and decided to have dinner downstairs at Etienne Marcel cafe. I had a chicken club and Ladee had a hamburger. Both meals were good. We were tired and crashed early.

Day Seven: Last Day in Rome.

Today was a very relaxing and easy going day. We walked through the Piazzas and shopped for souvenirs. We were resting up for our Rome by the Glass tour from 6 to 9 tonight. We had lunch in a fabulous trattoria off the square from The Pantheon. We timed it just right because there soon was a line out the door waiting for a table. We were the only people speaking English. It was definitely a favorite luncheon place for the locals. Absolutely great food. Stopped in three different churches around the Pantheon and saw works by Michangelo and Carrivaggio.

The view down the street from our apartment balcony

The view up the street toward the Vatican which is just across the

St Ignatius of Loyola Church

Another protest of some sort going on.

Sara eating gelato.
Got back to the apartment around 4:30, rested and prepared for our Rome by the glass tour. We met our guide at 6:00. We visited two wine Bars. One where we sampled two white wines and the second where we tasted two reds and a dessert wine. He was very knowledgeable about Italian wines and he also gave us quite the insight into Italian living. In both places the wines were paired with an assortment of meats and cheeses. Our guide was so full of information and talkative and we were all having such a good time the the tour ended at 9:47 instead of 9:00. Also there wasn't a drop of wine wasted in the 5 bottles we had. Lots of fun.
The car picked us up the next morning at 7:00 and took us to the airport. Kalen and Sara flew back to the states and Ladee and I went on to Paris. We had a glorious week in Rome and look forward to going back. Believe me, I threw my coins in the fountain!!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day Six continued

Piazza Navona

Sara at the Pantheon

Kalen and I having coffee/expresso at Caffe Tazza D'Oro

Caffe Tazza D'Oro

Store where I bought my Cashmere Coat.
During our treks across Rome during the week I kept seeing these cashmere coats on sale for a decent price. I went on line to check prices in the US and was suprised to find these lower. Besides, I was monitoring the weather in France and just knew I was going to freeze to death in Paris with what I had with me. I bought a 3/4 length cashmere coat. It's nice looking and warm.
You can see it in the picture. After I bought the coat we continued on to the Trevi Fountain, got some gelato bought some souvenirs and started back to the apartment. It was a leisurely walk. We rested for awhile and then headed out for our last dinner in Rome. We ate at Ristorante Pizzeria 'da Francesco . Excellent last meal in the Eternal City.
Looking forward to our Rome by the Glass Tour tomorrow night.

Day Six Leisurely Day Walking around and Shopping

Friday was a day to relax and take it easy. We spent a leisure morning having expresso and Panettone. I have become quite the barristta when it comes to making expresso. We headed out around 11:30 and went to Mimi and Coco's for lunch.

I had spaghetti carbonara. Excellent!!!

Guess who?

Street shots of where we walked

Streets of Rome

Interesting building.
After lunch we continued our walk through the Piazza Navona on the way to the Pantheon.
Stopped in a little wine shop and had a liqueur tasting. After that we continued on to the Pantheon. By this time we were ready for some coffee.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day Five: Taking Our Time

Our plan for today was to see the Van Gogh exhibition at the Vittorio museum. We took the bus to the Victor Emmanuel monument. We took the elevator to the top of the monument and were greeted by the following scenes.

The colosseum

The Roman Forum

The Roman Forum

St. Peters and the Pantheon on the right

St. Peters

We took the elevator back down and there was a cafeteria on the roof where we had lunch and did some people watching. After lunch we went to the Forum and toured that.

Day Four: Walk Across Rome Evening Stroll

The walk from the Borghese Gallery to the Spainish Steps was through the Metro. Easy walk with escalators and moving sidewalks. Arriving at the Spainish Steps we were greeted by two Scots in Kilts playing the bagpipes in front of a British Tea shop. We continued on to the Trevi

Spanish Steps
Trevi Fountain at night

Guess who in the crowd around Trevi

After leaving the Trevi Fountain we headed for the Pantheon. Somewhere along the way we veered right instead of left and missed our mark. Someone directed us to Piazza Navona where we had dinner in the Trattoria where we had lunch the first day. Excellent dinner. Walked back to the apartment. Very tired but it was an excellent day/night in Roma.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Day Four: Walk Across Rome During Daylight

We started our walk from our apartment which is just across the river from the Vatican on
Corso Vittorio Emanuele ll and walked to Piazza Navono. From there we continued on to the Pantheon and then on to the Trevi Fountain. As we passed through the Piazza Colonna there was another demonstration. This time it was a worker demonstration. The all had hard hats on.
Again very orderly but police were all around. There was a policeman with a submachine gun standing in the doorway of a building on the piazza.

Fountain in Piazza Navona.

Sara and I at the Trevi Fountain. We tossed our coins in the fountain.
We continued on to the Spanish Steps and climbed to the top of the steps. A little hard on the knees but the view of that part of the city from the top was worth it.

Spanish Steps

View from the top.

The Borghese Gallery. (Former home of the Borghese Family)
It's a beautiful villa in the middle of a park in north Rome. No pictures are allowed in side. We had to check our cameras. The collection was incredible. Sculptures by Bernini, paintings by Caravaggio, Raphael and Titan and other incredible artists. The museum limits the time that you can spend in there to two hours. We only had 1 and a half because we got there at 3:3o.
Well worth the walk over. However now we need to walk back.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Day Three The Colosseum, Roman Forum, Pantheon

The plan for the day was to take the bus to the colosseum then walk through the Forum and see the sights around there and then walk to the Pantheon and then back to the apartment.
Change of plans: we noticed that the police were not letting traffic down our street so we walked toward the colosseum. When we got to the Victor Emmanuel we noticed a crowd and police in riot gear. We were in the middle of a "student manifestation" as one policeman put it. They were marching up the street from the colosseum. I must say they were quiet orderly. All through central Rome streets were blocked off by the police so the students couldn't get to the Parliment building. We walked down the street and to the colosseum which was not crowded because tour busses couldn't get there.

Police in front of Victor Emmanuel monument.

Students marching.

The colosseum
It started to rain while we were in the colosseum. We left there and went across the street and up the hill and had lunch. After lunch it was raining even harder and buses were impossible to catch. They were just jammed with students, so we walked to the Pantheon.

Sara and I inside the Pantheon.

Scuptler over Raphael's grave.

After the Pantheon we walked to Piazza Navona and had dinner in a restaurant recommended by Rick Steves right off the piazza named Cul de Sac. Excellent food and very good wine.
Walked home after dinner in the rain. When we got back to the apartment my shoes squished and my pants were wet up to my knees. All in all with the rain and the student manifestation, it was a real fun day. There is no way you can plan to be in Roma when the students are going to protest. Great time

Afternoon Day Two St Peters Basilica

After spending 6 hours in the Vatican Museum we exited Sistine Chapel and had to take the long walk around the city wall to get to St. Peters. I guess the right exit out of the chapel, which takes you straight into St. Peters, is reserved for tours, the cardinals, and the Pope. Entering St. Peters the first thing on the right is:

Michelangelo's Pieta

The main altar with Bernini sculpture.

View of the Basilica from the front, straight up the main aisle.

Swiss Guard

View from the street walking home.
We were exhausted. Stopped for dinner at a trattoria across the street from the apartment.
I had veal again which was absolutely delicious. We finished off a bottle of chianti and the waiter brought us two digestifs and didn't charge us. I thought they were delicious. Ladee, Kalen and Sara weren't so sure.
Wonderful day in Roma.