Author: Gera Anderson
Date of Trip: April 2013
Flights- I traveled on Iberia from Los Angeles. Although they are an American Airline parner and my flight was code shared with American Airlines, I do not recommend Iberia because planes need update. On my long leg from Los Angeles to Madrid, the sound system and my overhead light did not work in my whole row, or the rows in front or back of me. My travel partner flew on Turkish Airlines, and he raved about his experience. He said the meals were excellent and he received a little travel kit that one normally gets in business or first class on American airlines.
Cultural Insights=Visiting Rome in the spring is wonderful. Not as hot, with a slight chance of rain, and not as crowded. There was so much goodness on this trip it’s hard to know what to tell and where to start!! For those adventurous types, the Metro will take you to almost all the historic sites. Get off the Metro at Colloseo, walk out, and boom!, you are right in front of the Colloseum. From the Colloseum area, walking is also a good option. Be sure to have good walking shoes and a good map. The map that came with the Frommer’s Guide Book? NOT GOOD!! Why you ask? Because it did not have many of the street names and did not accurately depict the street routes. The map we received from Sheraton Roma was much better. Colloseum, Forum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, Pantheon (not Parthenon, that’s in Greece), Vatican City and other attractions are all within walkable distances from each other. Unless you don’t like to walk. Then there are buses or like I said before, the Metro. You can get an all day Metro pass for approximately 6.9 Euro. There are also other options available, such as a 3-day pass. One historic site that required a Metro ride plus a bus ride (#216) was getting to the Appica Antiqua, but it was worth it! We also visited the St. Sebastian Catacombs while we were there. The only complaint I have about my Rome experience is getting harrassed by the street vendors (although they did come in handy when I needed an umbrella),sometimes they have a difficult time taking no for an answer.
Activities = We did a Colloseum/Forum tour in English for 25 Euro (entry alone cost 12-13 Euro). This allows you to skip the long line and gives you background and antedoctal information about what you are seeing. Just ask for the “Canadian” George Clooney. We also had a good tour in the catacomb. The tour of the Vatican museum to see Michangelo’s Sistine Chapel was the least desirable. They route you through all these rooms with paints, carpets, statues, etc. but you really don’t get much of a chance to look at them because you are in a big crowd being herded like cattle or sheep. However, at St. Peter’s basillica, once you get in, you can take your time and look around. The line to go to the cuppola or whatever was way too long and took too much time, so we skipped it.
Hotel = Sheraton Roma was excellent choice, we got a deal that included the breakfast buffet every day, which consists of eggs, sausage, bacon, cereal, fruit, cold cuts, cheeses, breads and rolls, water with and without “gas”, coffee, and juice. I may have missed some things but you get the idea. This hotel also offers a shuttle to an area not far from the Colloseum for 3 Euro, return trip free, several times a day.
Dining= we found restaurants and cafes as we traveled around and used three criteria to chose one -reasonable prices,good selection of Italian items, and seemed to have many people eating there. It worked out pretty good. Ate lots of pizza with different toppings, had a memorable handmade egg pasta with salmon, and a killer taramisu. One of the restaurants recommended by our Frommer’s Guide Book appeared to be shut down when we arrived there. Needless to say, I do NOT recommend Frommer’s Guide Book. Be sure to stop by one of the many gelato shops and have a scoop or two. Nom!!