So, it's back to reality now.
We flew in from Rome on Sunday and the vise grip of jetlag is slowly releasing, but only ever so. Still waking up way before I need to, but the needle has moved from 4am to 5. Just one more hour of sleep and I'll be happy.
So how was Rome, you say?
So gorgeous. So delicious. Such a stimulating mix of old and new.
We stayed at the Hotel Duca D'Alba on via Leonina, off of via Cavour near the Coliseum. Tiny room. Very nice people. Well-located. You just know this is leading to something. You're waiting for the "but" and here it comes. (WARNING: self-righteous american alert!)
In 2005, the wise people of Rome decided it would be best for the health of its populace to curb smoking. Our hotel had, in fact, vietato fumare signs posted everywhere. So imagine my surprise when it smelled like either hubs or I had been lighting up in our wee little room.
Go ahead, I dare you.
Cut to: Hooker goes to nice hotel clerk, Danilo, to discuss the situation all friendly-like. And I mention casually that we are surprised at the thick cigarette smoke in our room. Danilo suggests that perhaps our neighbors in 404 are lighting up. "Oh, can people smoke in their rooms?" I ask, all innocent. "No," he replies, "it is forbidden. But I cannot go to their room and ask them to stop."
Now, I am generally considered to be of fairly quick wit. But this stopped me in my tracks. Here are two paying guests. One is breaking the law. The other is suffering because of it. The law is, in fact, on the side of the suffering guest. And the hotel sides with the scofflaw and we have to choke and take frequent showers to get the smell of smoke out of our hair.
Now, wisdom dictates that, if your hotel screws you over like this, you leave. In a huff, even. But it is cold and rainy out and I don't have the will to go shuffling through the wet, cold streets of Rome looking for another place to stay.
So we stay. Like a couple of asses. But Danilo assured me that the smokers would leave the very next day. What he neglected to tell us is that they would be replaced by a couple and their baby that said couple apparently feel is best to ignore when it cries. Oh, and they smoke, too. And the walls are so thin in this place we could hear them poop and sneeze.
So, all whining aside, Rome is an amazing and beautiful city. The ONLY reason I came back just slightly larger than usual was due to all the walking we did - and we walked everywhere.
My favorite place? For the record, Ostia Antica is a MOST incredible place. It is about 16 miles out of the city and, for the measly 1 Euro it costs to go out there and the 6.50 Euro it costs to get in and crawl around the ruins of this 2,000 year old city, it beats the crap outta hauling ass to Pompei for whatever outrageous sum they charge for the train down there. And believe you me, I was desperate to go to Pompei - I've been obsessed with the place since childhood. But Ostia was a wonderful surprise.
I will also share with you, dear readers, our favorite eatery we found while searching for another: Trattoria Luzzi on Via Di S. Giovanni In Laterano, 88, about 2 blocks from the Coliseum.
I can tell you that there are some shoe stores with my drool still clinging to the windows. You should know that the city is magical, even in December. And that you mysteriously understand Italian when you get into a conversation with a jewelry artisan in Campo de Fiori. And that your hand will vibrate when you touch a 2,000 year old building, still holding proud to its grandeur. And that you will dream about all those souls who have passed through these streets and lived full and passionate lives well before you or TV were conceived or the process for glassmaking was forgotten.