Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ron Knows Rome

From a previous post at ItalianAmeriangoingHome

I try to fly in or out of Rome on every trip Home To Italy.

There is so much to see, you could visit every year and never see it all! It would be a dream to have an apartment in the center of Rome and wake early and walk the streets of Rome with the vision of Roman women and men in togas going about their daily business on the stone streets and along the river to the Colosseum or the forum. And late at night when the crowds thin you can see the lights of modern Rome glowing on the 7 hills.

Even if i can not live in Rome I can visit and explore a new area each year. Some places I like to visit repeatedly: St Peters, the Vatican museum (if the line is not too long) The neighborhoods where all the Italians live, walking through the local markets, visiting the small shops that sell one particular product: cheese, pasta, veggies. Shopping is an adventure not a trip to the supermercato.

But I am here to tell you about Ron in Rome! Ron has the job I want. He is the authority on Rome. He has a fabulous resource web site. Great details on the things a traveler needs to know. The train station, arriving from the airport by train. My favorite is the Bus. The bus in Italy scares me. I have been left in places (always during the 4 hour lunch) with NO WAY TO GET BACK or to my destination. My adventure on the bus with 35 teenagers getting out of school was like one of the horror movies that keep you up at night.

But I have had a very kind lady continue to tell me we had not arrived at Fiesole every time I tried to get off the bus. Or the bus driver who i asked to tell me when we got to Fuggi (yes i was speaking Italian but with my skill level, he may have thought I asked him to tell me when his birthday way) arrives at a stop where everyone got off including the driver! Guess we are here. Of course it was lunch so i could not ask: Dove sono? where am I?
The bus is easier WITHOUT LUGGAGE. It is crowded enough without dragging 2 bags with you and having other riders trip over you. Now I use a backpack, a small bag and ship the rest ahead.**

**see my blog on Mailbox etc. to be posted soon.

Back to Ron in Rome. Read his story on how he got started. Now he posts features on different
parts of Rome, challenges for travelers and MY FAVORITE: The many, many markets in Rome.

Before my next trip home to Italy, I shall be printing out many of Ron's articles so that I don't miss anything.

I sent him an email recently asking if Rome has a map of public bathrooms? My favorite thing from the tourist office in Firenze is their map of the public bathrooms in town! How great is that???

In Rome it is a little more difficult for me to find them. Some of the best and cleanest are at St Peters Square (right and left of the center)

The train station has many locations, but they charge and last year it was .80 e or about $1.00 + in 2010 it was up to $1.30.

Anyone familiar with Roma, please email me where you found a rest room in Rome. There is one dept store on the main shopping street that has a rest room and of course the McDonald's near the Spanish Steps but there have to be more............

Friday, January 21, 2011

Tell Rick Steves you need more than 3 pairs of underwear on a trip!

I love Rick Steves and take his books with me when I travel to Italy.   But I have to tell Rick that you NEED more than 3 pairs of underwear on a trip longer than a week!   

I packed carefully for my most recent trip Home To Italy this October.   Everything coordinated and everything could be used with 3 or more items.   The trip was for 4+ weeks in Italy and a return to the USA by ship for 14 days.  

So Off I go!

Well even in October in a heat wave in Rome, quick dry underwear washed out every night does NOT dry overnight!   The heat is not turned on in Italy until November.   However I had planned a week at an apartment in Spoleto (Umbria) that had heat and a washing machine.  But until I arrived there on week 2.5 I had to manage.  So off to the local markets to buy throw away clothing.   I usually bring worn out clothes from home and as I progress on the trip, I toss away items I don't want any longer.  At the end of some trips I leave items at the charity box found in most cities.       Socks were easy to find and I had a contest with my friend in Florence, how little I could pay for sweaters in the local markets.  Florence was cold without the heat turned on.  I was staying at a wonderful convent hotel but only had a quilt in the room!    3 Euros was the best price I found!   

Later I found suitable warm clothing for 10E, 8 E and 12 E!

Once I arrived in Venice the convent hotel had heat!  They were surprised when I called and asked if the heat was turned on, the staff member just said,  this is VENICE!.

So I plan to take more than 3 pairs of underwear when I travel.   Maybe I can get away with only 5.......

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Artist in Sorrento

 While traveling to visit my family's village in Petina Italy this October, I stopped in Sorrento .  

After spending 3 months there on a sabbatical 2 years ago it was difficult to return. This is a small city with a truly small town heart. I walked all the streets I remembered, noting the stores or businesses that had moved or changed.   In October there were visits by cruise ships and the groups of tourists that visit all the shops in the main area.
I headed to the park at the overlook to see the incredible view That I took for granted on the 89 days I was allowed to live in a perfect city.

While on one of my walks I stopped in at an artist gallery I had seen before. Being on a "sabbatical budget" did not allow me to shop, but this trip I visited Sepe Vetri D'Arte on Via Giuliani, 19. This is one of several east/west streets that will take you to the sea.

I had a wonderful conversation with Yvonne Adriaens the artist/owner of the shop. Besides art, business and Sorento, we spoke about life and how at a "certain age" you finally become free!

You can visit her shop at Many of her creations are in the photos attached.

More later on the special items she made me and how I used this to "pay it forward"

The written before about my fascination (have to be careful, I sono stati Told I repeat myself) with the concept of "do we change or effect the lives of the people we meet while traveling or do they only change us?"

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do you take fewer trips so that you can go first class?

Would one trip at first class hotels and good restaurants be better than taking MORE or LONGER trips and spending much less on hotels and food?

An interesting comparison. What do you think?

Monday, January 17, 2011


Once I stopped taking trips to beach locations, I found much more time to visit other cities in the USA and other countries. Since many American only have 2 or maybe 3 weeks vacation a YEAR (those that still have jobs) it is difficult to juggle how to spend the few free days you have every year.

But now I am so in love with Italy that I find it difficult to travel anywhere else!
I have actually had great trips to other locations: Alaska is amazing, Montana allows you to expand you horizons, drive up the coast of the USA and visit all the small towns. But the big trips are still out there: China, Australia, Nepal, S. America.......will there be enough time?

Where do you want to go before they won't let you travel solo again??