Don't forget to double click on pictures to enlarge

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On the home front

It took us a while to get over the flight home from Rome. We both felt bad for several days and most say that is expected. Didn't have trouble going over, only coming home.

I have mentioned our favorite restaurant here at home many times....

We go here at least two times and week and of recent three. There are many other people that come often too and you recognize them even if you don't know their names.....In order to refer to these people we tend to give them pet names. There is one couple we see every Sat. night and we call him Magoo because he has real squinty eyes..

and a great dancer. We have often wondered what names other people have given us. I always thought it might be "The cowboy and the lady"  but I got a surpirse recently when Isabella (the owner) shared a letter she had received from a patron that comes only in the winter and this is how she describes me......"Monica is the lady that dances barefoot with her husband with the cowboy hat". Never thought my dancing barefoot would be a claim to fame but first night dancing after we got back I zigged when I should have zagged and this is the results.....

 a jammed toe...ouch! Beleive it or not this is the first time in all the years I have dances barefoot that I have done this.....hmmmm. Maybe I am losing my touch.

 One of the Karoke ladies took some pictures of hubby's surprise birthday celebration and shared them with me............................

 Looking good at 70!!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Last Day

On this day thanks to Cosmin we were just like the locals....we took the bus

and the subway

Across town to a resturaunt that Cosmin worked at in the past and he treated us to lunch.

The whole time he kept telling Bob "watch your wallet".  Lot's of pickpockets including little girls.

It was so nice to see how his old boss and friends interatcted with him and he introduced us. We could have easily fit in except for that Cowboy hat:)

It was a great finale to our adventures in Rome.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Day Seven

For some of you that are familiar with Rome you may be waiting for our tours of the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica the most famous sites of Rome but hubby and I aren't too much into art so they weren't on our list but I am so excited to share my most favorite jaunt with you today.
Trastever is the area across the the Tiber river and is a glimpse into the medieval-village Rome (the Rome I thought I was going to see)

We took a taxi to Gianicolo Hill

 The highest point in Trastevere

Which offers these spectacular views of the city of Rome

We then headed down to the church of Santa Maria and these were some of the views on our way....

 Just looking at this picture brings back such a special the end of this little area were these park bench's where we sat and took in the clean air and greenery and people watched.

across the street was the free flowing clean water that has been available since the beginning of Rome........I talked hubby into going and getting tasted pretty good.


"The equestrian statue of Giuseppe Garibaldi's Brazilian wife Anita, who fought alongside her husband in defense of Rome in 1849 while pregnant before succumbing to illness is located just about 200 meters far from a big equestrian monument of her husband, which is located on top of Janiculum Hill in Rome. The statue was created in 1932 by Mario Rutelli. It depicts Anita Garibaldi with a pistol in her right hand holding a baby in her other hand. The monument is also Anita Garibaldi's grave as her ashes rest in the statue's pedestal."

 I snapped this picture for my daughter who loves pines trees. I was surprised to see them here and they were so lush.

Monumento a Guribaldi A famous Military and Political figure and husband of the above.

Couldn't resist taking this respecter of men these birds.

Beautiful area and all downhill:)

A beautiful is a close up of the middle part

 Sombody's home sweet home

 A little clothing shop

We had lunch across from this church

The church was built (1593–1610) and in 1849, during the last stages of the revolutionary Roman Republic's resistance to the invading French forces, it was used as a hospital where Garibaldi's soldiers, wounded in the Trastevere fighting, were treated.
By this time we were at the bottom of the hill and headed back to our hotel where we walked across the Tiber River

All along the river are these huge trees

Dinner was back at our favorite place

and our two waiters gave me a gift.

 Only after I got home did I realize it was a cookbook! They signed the page that had their signature recipe but just like the Latin...I can't read it.

Now on the subject of food, the Italian food in Italy is not like the Italian food here in the states...some I liked better and some I did not like at all but here they had two things I absolutely loved! Eggplant Parmesan (not like home) and one of the best steaks I have ever eaten. The spaghetti was okay but had to remember to tell them not to pour the olive oil over top (one of their traditions). The breads are to die for and have already touted the ham's and cheese. The wine...I am sorry to say I didn't like. It was mostly Chantilly which is not my favorite but our place had tequila so we lacked for nothing.
Tomorrow will be our last day and although we hadn't made any plans we had a most fun day being as close to an Italian as possible for us two Gringo's.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day Six

Before I continue with our trip I just want to say a special Thank you to all who have left such nice comments...I wished you could have really been with us.

Day six started with a 5:00 am wake up call so we could be ready when the van came to take us to
Assisi , Umbria. This is as close as I got to the Tuscany area and enough to take may breath.

I think the pictures will speak for themselves....

This area dates back to 1000 BC

 Take note of the Japanese lady taking the picture I will tell a little story about her and another fellow Japanese traveler later.

We toured both St. Francis Basilica and Basilica of Santa Maria degli Angel. The guide was excellent!

Just like in the movies.....

 The man in the beige jacket to the right is our other Japanese traveler.  There were many people from different countries on our tour but these were the only two Japanese people and they spoke some English. They were not together but because they spoke the same language they chatted together as we did our sightseeing. They took us to a nice restaurant for lunch and these two came walking in and looked forlornly around to see where they might sit...Hubby waved for them to join us at our table. Now remember my hubby looks a lot different in hat, vest, jeans and etc. than most people so that can be a good thing or a bad thing but for the most part it is a good thing. They joined us and we had a wonderful time talking with them. We exchanged emails and as it turned out the lady was a Japanese language teacher at the university in Japan going back to teach a special graduation class from South Carolina and he was a Professor of Engineering. Want a wonderful opportunity to meet them. The lunch by the way was a three course meal and delicious! I would have preferred to just stay here and be able to shop and look around more but the tour included a trip to Orvieto and too soon it was time to leave.

Orvieto is a city situated on the flat summit of a large butte of volcanic tuff....which means it is way up there! What a relief they had a series of  escalators that took us up and we didn't have to climb. For me this town was not as pretty as Assisi but here are a few pictures of the one church that I thought the inside was spectacular.



Hubby and I were sitting on a bench across from this building when two teenage girls approached us and said they were making a movie and wanted to know if they could video us? I ask them to explain and they said they were making a special video for their girlfriend for her birthday and would we sing "Happy Birthday Andrea" We obliged and when we finished my hubby held out his hand for his Euros .....we all had a good laugh.

Only after I got home and started this post did I find out about this......

Underground city

The underground city.
The city of Orvieto has long kept the secret of its labyrinth of caves and tunnels that lie beneath the surface. Dug deep into the tuff, a volcanic rock, these secret hidden tunnels are only now open to view through guided tours. Their spectacular nature has also yielded many historical and archeological finds. This was never mentioned on our tour but wished it would have been.

We had dinner back at out hotel that we so much enjoyed...

 Picture in the restaurant

We had the same two waiters every night and they did not look like this but we did when we left. They took very good care of us and the one evening went out into the street to take our picture at our favorite table.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Day five

Today's agenda was to walk to the two popular Piazza's in the area. The first...Piazza Navona.
Now this was more the way I thought it would be like.

A large plaza with beautiful fountains.

There were many interesting sights along with this odd couple.....

 Can you believe this guitar?

Look is human.

 Was trying to sneak a picture of him because they want you to pay them to take a picture...think he caught me...what do you think?

You need double click this one to see what it really is......Did catch your attention!

They had lots of artists with their paintings and one of those people that draw your picture on the spot...he was really good. Now in all of Rome there are FEW public bathrooms, in fact I never saw, I got where I would ask the servers..."Birra....toilet" (beer and toilet) if the answer to both were yes we sat down. Now mind you here in the Pizza Navona when we did this...our bill for the two beers and the toilet was $20.00 American money. Different places...different prices just like home...... Someone has to pay for this beautiful art.

Haven't shared much about the wonderful sights as we walked to the different places but this one proved very interesting......

This was my second choice for a hotel, although very pretty think our first choice was a better location over-all.

We walked on to Campo di Fiori for lunch.....a open air fruit and vegetable market as well as many little eateries. We picked a little outside eating place and hubby went in to order us some pizza. The pizza was rectangular instead of round and he pointed to the one we wanted...she took a knife and put it on a spot to see if that was how much he wanted...he indicated a little less and then she cut it and weighted it...yep they sold it by weight....I wonder if it was equivialte to how much weight it added to my backside!

You truly can see most of Rome by foot if you  take your time and rest here and there and there are so many beautiful sights....just look at this hotel they were remodeling ....

and this.......
 just an old building with outstanding flower boxes

This was the only night that we ate in a different location than our hotel and we were very sorry as it was AWFUL.
We didn't even finish our meals. Went back to our sweet hotel and bar and had a night cap with our favorite bartender Cosmin...he even brought a picture of him and his girlfried for us to see. He was from Romania and spoke very good English....nice guy. We talked with him a lot and we were able to ask him a lot of questions. He didn't own a car and rode the bus and subway to work...dreamed of opening his own restaurant someday and told his girlfriend we were a "beautiful" couple. We got a bit attatched to him (more on that later).