WHEN IN ROME
We pinch ourselves each time we travel. This trip represents our third pre/post cruise stay in Rome for pleasure (Keith traveled to Rome on business and we have enjoyed several visits by cruise ship.
In our early years of marriage we never imagined that we would visit this historic city. Rome was one of several places we studied in grade school as part of world history and English classes. We learned about its rich history including the Roman Empire. It is amazing how many buildings survived and new sites discovered through excavation. As we walk the historic sites, we think of the people who lived there in the past and all the history; both good and bad. We also think of the innovation that took place over the years.
When we think about travel, we think about discovery. While travel also provides a nice time to relax it provides a great opportunity to learn about history and culture.
We had dinner in our room last evening as we were very tired, it was late and wanted to unpack. The service has already been amazing. When we arrived to the hotel we were greeted by one of the personnel. She walked us around the hotel, took us to our room and that is where we checked in.
We enjoyed a simple dinner in the room of club sandwiches and salads and lots of water. This is exactly what we needed.
Although we slept for about five hours and we were up early we felt good. We finished getting everything organized and the next challenge was figuring out how to make coffee in the expresso machine in the room. After a couple of tries we have figured this one out. LOL.
With that said, we decided that we needed some Americano coffee. Thank goodness that room service is open 24 hours. Within a few minutes of our call, we enjoyed some of this coffee.
Like many hotels throughout Italy our room includes breakfast. This is available at the restaurant or via room service. We had a feeling we would be awake before the restaurant opening hours of 7:00 AM so we decided on room service between 6:00 & 6:15 AM.
It was raining while we were having breakfast as we could see from our room. When the rain became a drizzle we ventured outside for our first walk since arriving to Rome yesterday.
We walked to an area where we will have dinner this evening and then stopped by to see two different churches. This included the Church of Santa Maria Dei Miracoli. The church was constructed between 1675 and 1679.
After visiting the two churches we walked to the Spanish Steps. The monument stairway contains 135 steps. It was built to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy with the Trinita dei Monte Church.
We proceeded to a major shopping area that has many high end designer shops along with other stores. By that point in time the rain had stopped making it easier to walk around the area. We stopped in one shop that sells a purse that Anne Marie uses when we travel on the airplane on trips such as this one. She also has a few other accessories from the same company such as a clutch purse.
Cigarette smoking continues to be prevalent in Italy and after awhile the odor can be bothersome. For a moment we enjoyed the smell of chestnuts being roasted on a street corner. It reminded us of New York City for a moment.
We continued our walk for another hour before we went back to the hotel for lunch.
We try to be good about drinking water at home and when we travel. The hotel has been very accommodating.
We each had Caesar Salad entrees with Chicken for lunch but substituted oil & vinegar in lieu of Caesar Dressing.
Following lunch we went back out for another nice walk.
We walked over to the Trevi Fountain which is Rome's largest and most famous fountain which was complete in 1762. When we last visited in 2015 the fountain was in the process of renovation.
Our walk included a visit to a beautiful park which we visited on our first pleasure trip to Rome in 2005.
The weather was warmer than this morning with lots of tourists out and about. There is certainly a vibrancy to this city. Lots of people were having lunch and/or a drink at tables outside many of the restaurants. It was great to get in lots of miles by foot.
For those of you who remember the movie Home Alone 2 which included the "pigeon lady".
We plan to take another walk before dinner and will post about that tomorrow.
Anne Marie & Keith
WELCOME TO ROME
Shortly after posting we boarded the first of two flights to Rome. The first flight took us over the pond from our home airport to London Heathrow.
Our flight boarded on-time. The walk on the jetway was the longest walk we have ever taken to board a flight. When the flight attendant greeted us Keith asked if we had arrived to London. It was all worth it and the exercise was great. Once on-board one of the first class flight attendants escorted us to our seats.
Although our take-off was a few minutes late, the Pilot said we would easily make up the time, as there was a strong tail wind from west to east.
He was right. We landed about forty-five minutes early. We were pushed around for a few hours as the pilot had predicted. Overall, it was an uneventful flight. We enjoyed dinner and watch one movie. Ironically, we each fell asleep before the end of our respective movies. We are not sure if it was the movie or because we were tired. We slept on and off for four hours but it was sufficient for us.
The aircraft differed from the last time we took this flight. This time we were on a Boeing 747-400. By the time we learn how to work all the items they change the aircraft so we have to go through the learning curve. Again. Thank goodness for the wonderful foldout program guide which provided photos and a terrific description for each item. Life it good. LOL.
We want to take a moment to recognize the British Airways ground and air personnel. We realize that there are other airlines that provide a more luxurious experience. We have taken man of them. We have to say the best for Keith was back in the day when Keith flew on corporate jets.
With that said we are fortunate to have this direct flight from our home airport to London Heathrow and each time we have taken this flight we have been impressed with the high level of customer service provided to the passengers. This began when the ticket counter opened 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled opening time along with the attention to detail and the friendliness of the head supervisor who checked us in.
This continued at the lounge for the USA based airline we normally fly. As a British Airways passenger in First Class (Business Class would have been the same) we could order anything on the menu from food to drink without a charge. The same personnel who work the ticket counter work at the gate and provided excellent customer service. The excellent service took place throughout the flight.
We are reminded that when we were first married we never would have dreamed that we would have so many opportunities to travel the worlds and our early trips with the family involved coach and we were thrilled just to have those opportunities. So as they say we are happy campers. We have so much to be thankful for.
As we exited the jetway someone from the airport concierge service met us. After a short walk we boarded one of those motorized airport carts and were whisked over to security. After clearing security we were escorted to the British Airways first class lounge where we waited for a few hours before it was time to board our flight to Rome. We enjoyed our second breakfast of the morning of scrambled eggs, toast and coffee. Once again the concierge met us at the lounge and escorted us to the gate for the flight to Rome.
The flight to Rome was uneventful. After we landed and taxied to the gate a representative from the same airport concierge service we used at London Heathrow met us. This facilitated getting though the airport including immigration/customs. The hotel arranged for a private vehicle for us and the driver met us at the exit from customs.
With an early evening arrival we had a relatively easy drive from the airport into Rome. We are staying at Hotel de Russie for the first time. The building was designed in the early 19th Century. It contains 86 rooms and 34 suites, Le Jardin de Russie restaurant and Stravinskij Bar.
The hotel is located between Plazza del Popolo and the Spanish Steps and in close proximity to the Eternal City.
Its layout includes “The Secret Garden” which includes 2,800 square metres of terraced gardens, full of palm trees, yews and white climbing roses.
Upon check-in we unpacked and had a light snack and will be going to sleep shortly.
We are happy to be here and look forward to a wonderful pre-cruise stay in Rome.
Anne Marie & Keith
It is day 2, and we have gone nowhere. LOL. As we post we are at the airport waiting to board our aircraft for the trip to Rome. You are asking what did we do today?
Answer: Not much.
We enjoyed a leisurely day at the hotel which included breakfast and lunch. The hotel provided a late check-out.
In the past we have stayed at this hotel when we have a very early flight as we live about one hour from the airport in a community that also is home for lots of deer. We prefer not to take the chance that the driver will encounter them on the way to our home or on the way to the airport.
The one downside to the flight we are on is that the ticket counter does not open until three to one-halfhours before the flight. We prefer getting to the airport early when we use a car service just in case something goes wrong. It's called Murphy's Law. If we get there too early, we can't get through security until we check in for this flight.
The good news is that it made for a relaxing day. After all it is vacation.
When it was time to check out, we made our way to the airport on the hotel shuttle. The drive took five minutes. After check in at the ticket counter we made our way to the Club Lounge where we are relaxing until it is time to make our way over to the gate.
We have two flights to get to Rome. The first is a transatlantic flight to over to Europe followed by a second flight to Rome. It will be along two days but this is all part of the travel experience. While travel can be a challenge, we remind ourselves how good we have it today. Our families immigrated to the USA in the early 1900s. Anne Marie's family came over from Italy (father's side and Ireland mother's side). Keith's family arrived to the USA from Germany and Eastern Europe. The trip took weeks by ship and the accommodations were nowhere near the luxurious accommodations of Crystal Serenity. We are fortunate that our European families sacrificed and immigrated to the United States of America.
We think about Anne Marie's ancestors on our trips to Italy. In 2015 on the day of a special milestone birthday for Anne Marie we were in Italy. One year earlier when our son-and daughter-in-law sailed with us on a Crystal Serenity cruise we visited the town where Anne Marie's Nana's family lived before they immigrated to the United States.
We will post again either tomorrow or the next day and then post daily after that..
Anne Marie and Keith
THE ADVENTURE BEGINS
Although we fly tomorrow we will stay at the airport hotel as we have done many times before.
This afternoon a private vehicle drove us to the hotel.
The drive took one hour.
Our room was ready upon check-in.
We plan to have dinner at the hotel
We will post tomorrow from the airport tomorrow.
Anne Marie & Keith
We have added another map showing the places we will visit over the course of this trip. Given their relatively close proximity we can see why there are no sea days on this voyage.
Following is the itinerary for our adventure:
Sep 18 Travel Day
Sep 19 Rome, Italy (Arrival)
Sep 20 Rome, Italy
Sep 21 Rome, Italy
Sep 22 Rome, Italy
Sep 23 Rome, Italy (Embark Serenity)
Sep 24 Elba/Portoferraio, Italy
Sep 25 Florence/Livorno, Italy
Sep 26 La Spezia, Italy
Sep 27 Monte Carlo, Monaco (Overnight)
Sep 28 Monte Carlo,
Sep 29 St.-Tropaz, France
Sep 30 Marseille, France
Oct 01 Antibes, France
Oct 02 Genoa, Italy
Oct 03 Porto Venere, Italy
Oct 04 Olbia, Sardegna, Italy
Oct 05 Corsica/Ajaccio, France
Oct 06 Mallorca/Palma, Spain
Oct 07 Barcelona, Spain
Oct 08 Valencia, Spain
Oct 09 Alicante, Spain
Oct 10 Malaga, Spain
Oct 11 Gibraltar, United Kingdom
Oct 12 Cadiz/Seville, Spain
Oct 13 Lisbon, Portugal (Overnight)
Oct 14 Lisbon, Portugal (Disembark Serenity)
Oct 15 Travel Day
Oct 16 Arrive Home
We have also included maps with detailed itineraries for each of the three seven-day voyages.