The Spanish Steps leading to our hotel!
In 1981 I had the opportunity to visit Rome, Italy. It was the first time I had been that far from home. The trip over was very long and tiring. I fell asleep when the movie, Take This Job and Shove It was being shown. Pretty exciting to me though, when the pilot told us we were flying over Ireland. I looked out the window, and it was such a dark green color that was almost blue. You know that blue-green color in the box of Crayons? Then he told us we were landing in Scotland for refueling, but had to stay on the plane. Ah, I was in Scotland......technically!
Had to fly there!
Our flight was cheaper because we went with a group that was a Jewish Alumni group that goes on trips together. But once we got to Rome, we went our way and they went theirs. They were staying at a modern hotel outside of Rome. We were staying right in Rome as we wanted to be close to everything and not paying for cabs all the time. The Hassler Hotel Roma is right at the top of the the Spanish Steps, and is well known as a five star luxury hotel.
The Hassler Hotel Roma
Johnny Carson and Robert Goulet and their wives were both staying there after having just been to Wimbledon to see John McEnroe win his 6th career Grand Slam Title and his first Wimbledon title. Several restaurants we went to during those two weeks would mention them having just been there. Everybody loved us Americans back then!
I quickly learned that if you pulled the chain in the shower, the maid would come running right in to see what you needed. One morning she came in with all the towels and stuff we would need for the next two days, as she said hotel personnel would be on strike. Oh? Ok. Then a few days later, the hotel manager called us on the hotel telephone, to tell us that if we needed to exchange our money at the bank, do it today. The reason was because the next couple of days the bank will be on strike. Hmmm! Nice that they at least let you know ahead of time.
Siesta time but they served us anyway!
One of our first days after viewing the Vatican we were looking for a place to eat lunch. Then we found out that most of the restaurants were closed for siesta time until 4:00 PM! We found this restaurant where they agreed to serve us antipasto, all cold food, that they brought to us without us ordering. They just kept bringing us more food. The restaurant was empty and we had a wonderful lunch with the most handsome little boy serving us.
A cold meal but was outstanding!
I have to say the food was good wherever we went, and I loved the fact that they served bottles of water with your meal. We had a habit of stopping wherever we saw these little Gelati stops. It was so good. It is the Italian version of ice cream, but so much better than any I had ever had before. It was out of this world! I was hooked!
Gelati sold on the street has customers lining up!
We went to a different restaurant every night. One restaurant had a singer who played music and sings to a woman sitting at her table. Of course, he chose me! I felt honored.
One restaurant had no cash register or menus. The owner came to our table and asked what we wanted, chicken, fish, lamb or no meat. And red or white wine.That was all. Out came our meal and it was a surprise! During our dinner by the way, other diners would come in and would sit right at our table with us. They talked to us like they knew us a long time. It was great! Then the after dinner, coffee came with a tray and all kinds of liquor on it with shot glasses. What service! When we were done the owner came back. and looked at us and wrote on a napkin. If we agreed, we paid. If not, he'd scribble it out put a lower amount and we paid that (that is what we did after watching everyone else).
Narrow city streets in Rome!
Driving on the streets of Rome would have scared me! Most of the cars seemed to be Renaults at that time. They would whip right through an intersection and nobody stops, just miss each other. Made New York City look like a kiddie park! We went shopping in the little shops which I just adored! Did you ever see those little food shops on television on the Frugal Gourmet's shows? We went into many of those types. I loved their fresh apricots, and got kind of addicted to them while I was there. They were so juicy!
The Trevi Fountain
Having seen the movie, Three Coins In The Fountain, starring Dorothy McGuire, I was looking forward to seeing this fountain for real at last! After having walked for three days straight through the Vatican Museum looking at art, our feet were hurting. We stopped at the Trevi Fountain, and did what everyone else was doing...........took off our shoes and soaked our feet in the water at the fountain. Now that was an experience!
The Vatican, of course!
I loved going to the many art museum and chapels through out Rome. It was wonderful! It took us three days just to go through the Vatican alone. It was fantastic and I loved every moment of it. We went to many other tourist stops and saw all the statues and historical sites. It was beautiful and the people of Rome were so friendly. If you have never been there you should go at least once to experience it.
Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2010 Kathleen G. Lupole