Arriving à Roma

We land at 2:00 p.m. It is cloudy but humid and certainly warmer than Calgary. It takes almost an hour to get our bags and another half hour to get to our hotel, Hotel Scalinata di Spagna [Piazza Trinità dei Monti 17, Rome 00187 Ph. 39.06.69940896]. We picked this hotel because of its fairly central location for what we want to do; it’s a boutique hotel with only 16 rooms; and they offered what they call a family suite. The family suite is two rooms connected both by a door and a small private terrace. The larger room has an additional private terrace.


I get a text from Robin saying he missed his flight and won’t be into Rome until after 9:00 p.m. As he explained later, he just left his flat a bit late, the bus to the airport was late and he missed his flight to London, which meant he missed all his other connections. A costly mistake, but at least he was able to book more flights for the same day.
After unpacking a bit, our main mission is to find some wine. I have the addresses for two enotecas (enotece?) nearby. We can’t find one of them but end up looking at the mausoleum for Emperor Augustus and the very modern looking Ara Pacis.


We find the other, Enoteca Antica on Via della Croce,76B, one of the streets leading off from the bottom of the Spanish Steps. I use my limited Italian to say we want to buy some wine. The man I’m talking to starts to explain that we need to go to the counter to order but I say we want a bottiglia di vino and point to the bottles on the wall. He understands. The place is rather dark and I can’t quite read the labels of the bottles on the highest shelves but by pointing and saying sinistra, destra, until we get the first of many Brunello di Montalcino and a Chianti Riserva.

We walk up the Spanish Steps, something we do 7 or 8 times in the next 7 days. There’s 136 steps to the top. Scott predicts this will result in our having buns of steel.

Our hotel is to the right, behind the trees.

We have some wine and try to see if we can understand Italian television, particularly weather forecasts. It is raining a bit and we are hoping tomorrow will be dry because we have a tour of ancient Roman sites and it will be mostly out of doors.

We booked private tours with a company called Context Rome. The woman I was dealing with, Petulia Melideo, offered a complimentary orientation talk. We were to meet her at 7:00 p.m. but at 6:30, she calls to tell us that she has been in an accident on her scooter. Luckily, she’s unhurt but has to wait for the police so doesn’t know how long that will take. She suggests meeting us after our ancient Rome tour tomorrow.

Since we no longer have a meeting, we decide to find a bite to eat. Reluctant to go too far before Robin arrives, we try the place next door, Novecento. It turns out to be one of the least impressive dinners we have in Italy. Still acceptable but nothing we would recommend. We learn to avoid eating near major tourist attractions. However, we had a 1997 Brunello which was excellent.

After dinner, we walk around the nearby streets and look at the church at the top of the steps, Trinita dei Monti. As we stand outside the hotel wondering if we should go in, Robin arrives by taxi. We retire to our room for a visit until those of us still adjusting to Rome time have to get to bed.

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