Saturday, September 24, 2011

Winding Down in Rome

Monday, May 30, 2011:

I slept fitfully last night due to some strange abdominal pain of unknown origin. Just before bedtime, I had eaten some of those shelled peanuts that I brought from Sant Agata, and perhaps they didn't agree with me.

The girls were looking for a boat tour today, and I just didn't think it was a good idea for me since I was experiencing these stomach pains. I suggested that they go ahead and I would try to just relax and feel better and perhaps take a walk later.

They set off on their adventure to locate the boat tour across the river, and I rested for a little while and ate the gigantic orange I had purchased in Sant Agata. That seemed to help. I worked on emails and confirmed my airline reservation for tomorrow. Fred had successfully upgraded me to first class, which I kept telling him was unnecessary, but he was so sweet to think of my comfort.

After my relaxation time, I decided to chat with the owner of Caesar House. Simone tole me that she and her sister, Julie, are the owners. She communicates very well in English, so I enjoyed our visiting time. Previously one large apartment, they purchased the Caesar House in 2002. She said that they performed a tremendous amount of renovating and redecoration, wanting to create a tasteful, yet simple ambience. They were highly successful in doing so.

Simone believes that at some time in the past, it may have been a small hotel, but was then converted to a private apartment. She and her sister shared the vision to once again turn it into a six bedroom hotel. It is quaint and offers very personal service. Rosanna and Summy were quite helpful, and Rosanna's enthusiasm for her job brightly shines through.

With the free Internet usage on their guest computer, the breakfast delivered each morning, and the proximity to major points of interest, we highly recommend this intimate hotel. We met a couple who were staying there, and they indicated that this was their home away from home every time they visit Rome. We could easily see why.

After visiting with Simone, I felt like taking a walk. I started out trekking toward the Coliseum (or Colloseo in Italian) and ate some bruschetta and drank iced tea at the Gran Caffee Rossi Martini, where we had enjoyed lunch a few days ago. This was located next to the gift shop where the gentleman had written his life story and wondered if I could translate it from Italian to English. Sorry!

Under the restaurant's canopy, there were misters in operation. It was a very hot day, and I wanted to linger there under the mist. When I was ready to move on, I walked to San Giovanni Laterano and straight to La Scala Sancta (the Holy Steps) again. This time I managed to ascend three steps before I thought my knees would crack, said a few more prayers, and just knelt in awe of having the opportunity to hover over the steps that Jesus had walked. Saying that it was an amazing experience is truly an understatement.

There was a vendor positioned a short distance from the building that housed the Holy Steps, and he had some cute tote bags for sale. This was my last day to shop, so I bought one for each of my Cape May girlfriends. This vendor was willing to negotiate, and I took full advantage of that.

I worked my way back to our hotel on Via Cavour and stretched out on the bed to catch up on my journal writing. Sharon, Laura and Marianne returned very shortly thereafter, having decided against the boat trip once they were at the river. During their adventurous walk, however, they found themselves crossing a street with almost no traffic. Just as they arrived at the center of the roadway, out of nowhere came multiple lanes of traffic straight at them. They only had a split second to decide whether to run back in the opposite direction, stay put, or try to dodge cars and dart across. They held their position until they could safely dash across the remaining section of road. They momentarily thought that they were going to be killed by tiny cars, taxis, scooters and little trucks on their last full day in Rome, but eventually they managed to make it to the other side. They were safe, but shaken.

Their walk was not unsuccessful, however, because they found more shoe stores! It's probably just as well that I wasn't with them or I would have likely ended up with more shoe purchases. We all ended up taking a little snooze, and Sharon and I decided to go back to the store, Il Tesoros, where we found great prices on some items yesterday (shoes).

We showered, dressed and set out to locate a place for our last dinner in Rome. We didn't want to go too far away because we have just about worn out the bottoms of our feet from walking all over Italy. Luckily, we found a little cafe just around the corner called Ristorante Cleto, which we all agreed was perfect.

I'm a somewhat picky eater--always have been--and before leaving the United States I had wondered what my dining experiences would be. I pretty much stuck with things that I recognized throughout the trip. I sampled lots of bruschetta, mixed salads, veal dishes, and a few margherita pizzas, lasagna once, and spaghetti a couple of times. I had no difficulty finding appealing meals to devour!

After our dinner, we weren't really ready to call it a night. We walked back by our hotel and continued to another cafe where we shared a bottle of wine, and I ordered a lemon sorbet, which once again seemed to make my tummy feel better. The pain had subsided, but it still felt uneasy and slightly uncomfortable. We toasted one last time to our friendship and to our wonderful Italian adventure. We thought about all of the scarves, shoes, handbags and tote bags we have purchased. Quite a collection to behold! I'm looking forward to accenting some of my outfits at home with these lovely scarves, and we now understand why Italy is renowned in the fashion world.

We ventured back to Caesar House to pack and prepare for tomorrow's early morning trip to the airport. We actually settled our bills with Summy tonight so we'd already have that detail behind us. The time has gone so quickly, but we are all ready to plant our new Italian shoes on American soil and throw our arms around those husbands of ours.

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