My husband Bill and I have just returned from a three week journey to
Our first four days were spent in
We encountered our first challenge at the luggage pick up. We could not rent a luggage dolly which cost 50 centavos because our lowest denomination euro was € 100 bill. Lesson number one: always bring smaller euro bills and coinage with you. Because we could not rent a dolly, Bill tried to piggyback our other bags onto his new oversized bag which handle promptly cracked off. Lesson number two: do not plan to piggy back more than one bag at a time.
I sought help at the information desk, which was, of course, empty. A passing janitor threw up his hands when I asked him if he had change. He went off muttering something about crazy Americans . . . and then surprised us with the first of the many kindnesses Bill and I would encounter on this trip. He paid for a dolly himself and brought it to us!
We took a shuttle to the apartment, a ride that should have taken 40-50 minutes but which actually took close to two hours because of other passengers requiring drop-off’s hither and yon. We were told the cost would be €45. With a tip, €50. Problem: the driver didn’t have €50 in change. Lesson number three: take a taxi. It costs around the same, you get there a lot faster, and the driver is more likely to have change. While we scrambled to find someone who could break our €100, the shuttle driver nervously pointed out that he was blocking other traffic from entering or exiting the narrow street below the apartment. The apartment owner, Carlo, helped us break the 100, then helped us haul our luggage up the three stories to the apartment. Hauling heavy luggage that far, even with the help of the owner, was not easy.
Finally settled, Bill and I walked to see the Spanish steps (down which Vittorio had ridden his bicycle as a kid) at night. Though October is not considered a busy season for tourists in
We climbed the steps to the famed Trinita dei Monti, where 30 years earlier I’d stayed in an attached convent while Vittorio wrestled with the
On a nearby side street we found a cute little restaurant Carole Case e’n Osteria where we sat at a small table outside on a platform above the sidewalk and ate bambollot all’amaticiana—a type of fat ridged pasta with a spicy roman sauce made with bacon, sipped a delicious glass of vino rosso della casa, and carried on a lively conversation with a woman from Norway who lives several months a year in Italy – all together a wonderful introduction to the days to follow.