Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Italy: Rome - Pantheon, Fountain of Trevi

We left Praiano on the local Praiano/Positano bus at about 8:00am. Our suitcases were very heavy because of all the preserves, balsamic vinegar, wine, candies, olive oil and ceramic containers. With a suitcase with broken wheels, it was quite a job to climb the 69 stairs to the road with suitcases weighing almost 50 pounds each. Fortunately there were platforms on the way up where the steps turned every so often. 

Then it was an effort to take them from the bus stop in Positano to the ferry docks. There are steps everywhere so there is absolutely no avoiding them. I really don't know how someone in a wheelchair would manage living here. 

We boarded the ferry to Salerno with a stop in Amalfi and arrived in plenty of time to get some lunch and wait for the train. While we were waiting, a "nice" gentleman (yes, there are a lot of "Nice gentlemen - and I use the words "nice" and "gentlemen" very facetiously) asked where were going and if we needed help taking our suitcases to the platform. We declined and waited for the board to post the departure platform. After several minutes, he came back and asked again. We declined a second time, knowing full well that he was not asking just to be nice. 

We started moving our suitcases toward to stairs and he grabbed one of them to "help" us to the platform. We kept telling him we didn't need help but he disregarded us and took one of them up. When he arrived on the platform, he demanded 5 Euros for his assistance. I told him No but he raised his voice and walked over to Sunita making the same demands. She also told him No. I argued with him that we DID NOT ask for his assistance, so he would get nothing. He then demanded that we give him our loose change. I told Robin to give him 1 Euro from a little change wallet he had in his pocket. The man got indignant. But after the theft in Malta, I was in no mood for a shakedown. I told him to leave and he left in a huff, muttering something. I didn't really care. 

We arrived at the Roma Termini station and had another shakedown with the taxi driveer but we paid the 30 Euros for the 5 minute ride and got to our destination - Hotel Hiberia - an old but cute hotel with an ancient elevator which has wrought iron doors so that we feel like you are in an old movie.  

We headed off to Piazza De Navona and wandered around for some time just soaking up the history and culture. This is quite amazing to have read about such places and to be standing on the spot. 

Then it was off to the Pantheon. This building has been in use for 2000 years! Hard to believe that we could just walk right in and see people still praying in here. Makes any architecture in Canada look like an infant.  

We walked for quite some time along some of the narrow streets of Rome gazing at the buildings like regular tourists.  

Then it was off to the Fountain of Trevi. I have seen the movie several times over the last few decades. I also remember Dad singing the song when I was a young kid. Now I am standing in front of it waiting my turn to make a wish. In the song, three people threw coins but the fountain would only grant one wish. I am more hopeful now that we'll all have our wish granted. Ronin's wish was granted from a week ago. He wished that he would return to the fountain and here he is! The fountain does grant wishes! 

We stopped at Osteria Oscar which was on a narrow street that looked like the width of an alley in Canada. We ate outside as many restaurants have seating just outside. It's not a patio - just chairs and tables on the road. Everyone does it so we did too. 

Chicken Parmesan

Veggie soup


Eggplant parmesan


Pinocchio Ronin 
We walked back toward the Trevi Fountain on the way back to the hotel. The hotel is in a perfect location to walk to a lot of places nearby. It's about 100 metres to the Prime Minister's residence and the area is supposed to be one of the fastest growing (old) areas. The fountain was quite crowded for an evening but we jostled our way past the hordes of tourists (including us I suppose) and strolled back to the hotel. 

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