Thursday, April 30, 2015

When in 1

Our Hotel/B&B in Florence was so lovely, it was hard leaving the proprietors today. They genuinely care about all their guests. They gave us extra padding on the beds (mattresses in Italy are usually firm, like table firm), they made us cappuccinos whenever we wanted (for free), the older woman (who I think was partially deaf, but 100% sweet) gave us bottles of water before our tour to Cinque Terre (again for free) because "You might get thirsty". When we checked out today they where calling out their goodbyes as we got in the elevator to leave. And we called back, "Ciao! Goodbye!" I miss them.

We walked to the train station (15 minutes). On the way, we saw this (not unusual).

Then we were on our way to Rome. The train ride was short and sweet. The man sitting across from me helped put my luggage on the rack above our heads. People were nice. I didn't even need a travel calm pill. Oh happy day.

Once in Rome we walked to our hotel through a much bigger and busier train station than we'd experienced before. There were more street merchants (immigrants from Africa or the Middle East mostly) by the dozens selling selfie-sticks or scarves, toys or decorative wooden bowls or baskets from Africa. It felt a little overwhelming, but not aggressive. 

Our Hotel, "Home Sweet Hotel", is in a building with many other B&B's. It feels like an old office building was converted to hotels/B&B's. The hotel on the ground floor is "Hotel California". Ours is on the first and second floor. After checking in to a room with FIRM beds, we asked about softer beds, and went to lunch downstairs. When we got back, the concierge offered to show us a couple more rooms to test the beds, which proved to be successful. We happily switched rooms and went on a walk to Trevi Fountain and a Gelato place I learned about in Eat, Pray, Love (the book). Trevi Fountain is under construction with no water and a bunch of scaffolding, but I still got an idea of how impressive it would be. The gelato was right around the corner and DID impress me. I ate each bite with a smile and would've licked the cup if I wasn't on a busy street.

Honey and Banana for me!
Blurry Sarah is happy.
We then made our way back towards the Termini for dinner at a restaurant recommended by Kate's friend. On the way, we stopped for coffee. I ordered and espresso and they gave me a shot glass of water with it. I asked what it was for. The man said, "Drink the water first. It is plain. Then drink the coffee. It will make it flower. Taste better." I loved the way he said it and was totally on board, but now that I'm home much later in the day, I wonder if he meant "flavor" not "flower". Either way, he was right. The coffee was amazing.

And the coffee shop had great wallpaper downstairs
At dinner, I had my first Italian meal that wasn't Pizza or Pasta. I had Pollo Di Giorno - chicken of the day with roast potatoes. Amazing. Again. I'd like to say it's hard to have so many amazing meals, but it's pretty easy. I do get overwhelmed with so many amazing sights. It's somehow hard to take it all in and appreciate each structure. Beautiful thing after beautiful thing after incredible thing. It just all becomes too much at times. But I break it up with good food and it refreshes me to see the next incredible, miraculous sight.

Here's what we saw walking around Rome this afternoon. (p.s. this is a small sample).


While waiting for those pictures to load, we went out and picked up dessert and tea. Rough life.

p.s. Kate's fitbit said we walked 5.4 miles and 13 flights of stairs....we earned the food. Again.